13 December, 2021

Susanne Tanner QC publishes Report on review of Edinburgh Council’s whistleblowing culture

Susanne Tanner QC has published her Report into the Review of the Whistleblowing and Organisational Culture of the City of Edinburgh Council. The full Report and an accessible version can be read at: Independent inquiry – The City of Edinburgh Council.

The independent Review was commissioned by councillors in October 2020 and carried out by Ms Tanner as independent chair, with the support of a team from law firm, Pinsent Masons LLP.

It followed the commissioning of an independent inquiry into the way in which allegations of abuse involving a senior social worker were dealt with by the authority at the time that they were made, which was also chaired by Ms Tanner QC and reported in October 2021 (Independent inquiry – The City of Edinburgh Council).

The Report on the Review concludes that the council does not have a universally positive, open, safe and supportive whistleblowing and organisational culture and makes 50 recommendations for transformational change.

In a personal statement, Ms Tanner said: “Our Review of the whistleblowing and organisational culture at City of Edinburgh Council (“CEC”) has only been possible because people have been willing to give their time to speak to us, to share their experiences and views. We are extremely grateful for all the contributions we have received from CEC Colleagues, Councillors, officers, trade union representatives, Edinburgh residents, the external whistleblowing service provider and others who have reached out to shine a light on the current whistleblowing and organisational culture at CEC.

The purpose of the recommendations we are making is to inform cultural change in the way that complaints of wrongdoing are dealt with by CEC, to ensure that CEC is as transparent and accountable as it can be in its actions, and that it engenders a feeling of safety in those who wish to raise concerns, by removing any actual or perceived barriers to disclosures. We hope that in doing so, the culture will be better for its workforce, its elected members, and ultimately those whom they all serve, the residents of the city of Edinburgh.

The Report will be presented to councillors at the full Council meeting on Thursday 16 December 2021.

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