A NEW scheme to overhaul Wirral Council’s whistle-blowing policy has been given the go-ahead.

Councillors voted to approve revised procedures which will provide staff with better and easier methods of voicing their concerns in the workplace.

The proposals, which came before the employment and appointments committee last night, also include a “bespoke” subscription to national charity Public Concern at Work.

The organisation will provide independent support and advice for employees and help the council “deliver and demonstrate good governance.”

The new procedures follow an investigation into allegations of bullying and abuse raised by Martin Morton, a former Adult Social Services worker - first revealed in the Wirral Globe in 2008.

The report was presented to Wirral’s cabinet in April and criticised the council’s whistle-blowing procedures.

Mr Morton blew the whistle on his bosses when he exposed a “special-charging policy” for vulnerable adults.

He had raised his concerns several times with his managers, but claimed he was ignored, bullied and driven out of his job.

His revelations led to the publication of a damning review last week by independent consultants.

Their six-month investigation concluded the authority is in the grip of a "corrosive" culture and has become more concerned with its own "bureaucratic machinations" than the needs and rights of the people of Wirral.

Chief executive Jim Wilkie said the report's findings are the "most signifigant challenge this authority faces."

Now it is hoped the new policies will prevent similar events from happening again and committee papers highlight the need for the council “to have a clear, robust and transparent policy and procedure for dealing with whistle-blowing disclosures.”

The documents also point out that workers should be able to raise their concerns “without fearing the consequences of doing so.”

Among the changes to the policy is the appointment of the council’s monitoring officer to act as a “focal point of all whistle-blowing concerns” and as a supervisor of all complaints.

It also suggests potential whistle-blowers should be referred to as "witnesses" rather than "complainants" in a bid to “reflect the change in culture required.”

The Public Concern at Work charity would offer its package to Wirral Council for £10,000 per year.

The charity said the new policy offers confidentiality and has helped to focus on the key messages to staff that it is safe and acceptable to speak up at any time about a potentially serious risk or concern in the workplace.