Some Pembrokeshire County Council employees would not dare to blow the whistle on wrongdoing within the authority because they fear the repercussions of doing so, a report has said.

The report by a special task and finish group examined the council’s whistle-blowing policies and procedures.

The report includes details of a confidential survey on whistle-blowing carried out within County Hall.

It showed that while 80% of respondents indicated that they would be prepared to report wrong-doing, 56% said they would not be confident that they could report wrong-doing without fear of being ill-treated.

Among the comments received were concerns that “people have been sacked in the past because they were whistleblowers.”

Other comments said: “I would not feel safe to whistle-blow here” and “I think there is a risk of staff being bullied if they speak out.”

The report, to be discussed by a group of scrutiny committees today (Thursday), adds: “It is clear that many employees might choose not to report matters of concern because they do not have confidence that they themselves will not suffer detriment as a result.”

It says that 36 of the 57 comments received expressed a negative view of whistle-blowing and more broadly of the organisation’s culture.

The task and finish group also conducted a series of interviews, including council leader Jamie Adams, senior council officers and union representatives.

The group said there was variation in the experience and perception of whistle-blowing with regards to what the policy says in theory and how things work in practice.

“There is a marked difference in how effective the policy is considered to be, depending on what side of the fence someone sits. The scale of the gap is concerning.”

It adds: “The group noted a degree of complacency with regards to the importance of whistle-blowing among some senior officers.”

Committee chairman Cllr Viv Stoddart told the Western Telegraph: "The whistle-blowing report is a significant piece of work; the first member-led task and finish group of this scope and scale. I would like to thank everyone involved.

"The group’s work and final report is designed to send a message to staff and the public-that the council takes whistle-blowing seriously, and to increase staff confidence that they can blow the whistle without fear of discrimination.

"The launch of the T&F group last year is in itself testament to a change of culture within the council. But data provided by staff (albeit a small sample) who completed the anonymous survey shows that a majority of employees still have a negative view of the authority’s culture.

"The group’s recommendations to be presented on Thursday to the scrutiny committees are a step in the right direction, suggesting ways of improving best practice, greater engagement with staff and members; signalling to staff and the public the intention of the council to ensure that if individuals have worries about potential wrong doing, they will be listened to and their concerns dealt with quickly and confidentially."