Edinburgh whistleblowers get their say at full council meeting after first being told rules would not allow it
Whistleblowers are to have their say at a meeting of the full city council today – but only after a behind-the-scenes wrangle over rules which nearly barred them.
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Christine Scott, the first person to use the whistleblowing system when it was introduced, will address councillors in public session despite initially being told it was not allowed.
Tory councillor Cameron Rose said: “It has been a bit of a nightmare for Christine, who is representing a group of whistleblowers. She has had to be persistent.
“Standing orders say it should be a representative of an organisation or group. The history is the group can be pretty loose or informal and I don’t think this is a constituted organisation but nonetheless it is a group.
"And there seemed to be some sensitivity about whether the group could be verified – bearing in mind they’re whistleblowers – although the two key people are both people who have spoken to the Evening News and are totally public on this.
“It will seem to whistleblowers like it’s a continuation of the difficulties they have experienced over the years.
"The council has had a running sore dealing with malpractice which has been flagged up by whistleblowers. Whisteblowers have had to be pretty persistent and courageous and the council should be welcoming their integrity and their contribution to the integrity of the council.”
Councillors will be discussing implementation of the recommendations made by Susanne Tanner QC after her review of whistleblowing and the council’s organisational culture.
Councillor Rose said: “There is a contrast between the fine words that are spoken and the experience that whistleblowers have. I think it will be very helpful for the council to hear first hand from people who have had to wade through treacle in blowing the whistle and flagging up concerns.”
A council source said it was the council’s clear position is that it wanted to hear from whistleblowers and those affected by the issues identified.
“At the December council meeting Susanne Tanner made it clear she was willing to listen to any further representations which individuals may wish to make about her reports. It is likely that given the independent nature of the inquiry and the review that she will be best placed to answer any queries or address concerns about the findings."