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  1. The term ‘whistleblowing’ commonly refers to employees raising concerns about wrongdoing within an organisation.1) The whistleblowing process in place at Brook House during the relevant period was G4S’s global whistleblowing system called ‘Speak Out’. However, in this Report, the Inquiry refers to whistleblowing to encompass all instances of staff raising serious concerns about issues at Brook House.
  2. According to G4S’s whistleblowing policy, employees were “strongly encouraged” to report concerns about serious wrongdoing via a free telephone number or website, or to a manager.2 Initial complaints were triaged by an independent company, but the way in which this was organised was problematic (as discussed below).3 Additionally, the identity of this independent company and on what basis that company decided whether “an investigation is required” were unclear to the Inquiry.4 G4S said that any concerns raised via this process were investigated by a senior member of G4S staff outside of local reporting lines, and reviewed on a monthly basis by the Divisional Ethics Committee, which included Mr Peter Neden (G4S Regional President UK and Ireland during the relevant period).5

Responses to concerns

  1. When concerns were raised, whether using the whistleblowing process or otherwise, there was often an inadequate response.

70.1 For example, Ms Stacie Dean (Head of Tinsley House) raised concerns (prior to the relevant period) about two members of staff bullying detained people.6 Neither of these individuals appear to have faced any disciplinary investigation in relation to these allegations, and the outcome logged by G4S did not address this complaint.7

70.2 Additionally, a small number of cases were logged as Speak Out investigations – despite the complaint not coming from a member of staff – including allegations of staff assaulting detained people 8 and bringing drugs into Brook House.9 The Inquiry saw no adequate investigation in any of these cases.

  1. There were also instances where senior staff said that they raised concerns and received an inadequate response from the SMT, for which there was insufficient documentary evidence for me to reach a conclusion. Ms Dean told the Inquiry that she and Ms Brown had raised concerns about staff treatment of detained people and that the SMT was “consistently uninterested.10 Similarly, Ms Brown said:

“I investigated and substantiated several complaints regarding staff bullying each other, staff bullying Detainees, displaying racist and inappropriate conduct – dating back as far as 2012 but there was little/no outcome. I continued to raise concerns with Ben Saunders and Steve Skitt. I did not see an improvement and as previously disclosed in my statement, I used the Whistleblowing hotline to report.”11

Mr Ben Saunders, Centre Director for Gatwick IRCs during the relevant period, told the Inquiry, “if [Ms Brown] or anybody else had raised concerns about staff treatment of detainees not being as we would expect it to [be], then we would have investigated that”.12

The extent of whistleblowing

  1. Also of concern to the Inquiry was the extent of whistleblowing. From the perspective of most organisations, the ideal level of whistleblowing is inevitably a middle ground – too much may suggest that there are numerous problems, and too little may suggest that staff do not feel comfortable raising concerns. This was helpfully described by Mr Neden:

“In some ways, an active whistleblowing line is a sign of a healthy culture, where people feel they can raise concerns. If you look at it another way, it is a sign of a certain degree of management failure, where those concerns aren’t just raised in the normal day-to-day running of business.”13

  1. Looking at Brook House specifically, from the evidence provided to the Inquiry, the number of whistleblowing cases is not entirely clear.14 None were logged during the relevant period.15 There were examples from outside the relevant period of staff raising concerns about issues such as staffing levels, bullying by senior managers, a lack of support from management and inappropriate engagement between a DCO and a detained person.16)
  2. Some members of staff said that if they had heard or seen anything inappropriate, they would have reported it.17 I have seen little evidence to suggest that there was a culture or practice of reporting colleagues for inappropriate behaviour towards, or poor treatment of, detained people. Moreover, some of those who made this assertion were recorded as being present when inappropriate things were being said or done and, in fact, did not report them.18. He did not report either of these incidents (see Ryan Bromley 7 March 2022 128/22-129/9, 138/21-139/12)))
  3. In any event, a large number of staff at Brook House witnessed inappropriate behaviour during the relevant period but did not use Speak Out or any other process to raise concerns about that behaviour.19 This was in breach of their obligations under the Detention Centre Rules 2001 to inform the manager of Brook House and the Home Secretary promptly of “any abuse or impropriety” that came to their knowledge.20)
  4. There were several possible reasons for staff failing to raise concerns, some of which echo the reasons why detained people did not complain.

76.1 Lack of awareness: Some staff members said that they were not made aware of the Speak Out process during their initial training.21 Mr Fiddy did not know what Speak Out was when asked about it.22 DCO Callum Tulley said that he only came to know about it during a staff meeting held after the Panorama programme about Medway Secure Training Centre, broadcast in January 2016.23 Those who were not present at that staff meeting, or who joined G4S afterwards, might have been unaware of the process unless they were told about it during their training. Mr Jeremy Petherick, Managing Director of G4S Custodial and Detention Services during the relevant period, said in his statement to the Inquiry that he thought people were “either unaware or nervous” of using the whistleblowing process.24

76.2 Fear of repercussions from colleagues: There was also a fear of reaction from colleagues. Mr Owen Syred, a DCO and Welfare Officer during the relevant period, said that he did not report witnessing Mr Murphy allegedly punching a detained person in the face because he thought he would be ostracised again, having faced abuse and harassment when he reported a colleague’s racist language in 2014.25 Several DCOs said that they would not raise concerns or report incidents because they feared being labelled a “grass”,26 being bullied27 or Brook House being made an “awkward place to work”.28 DCO Daniel Small said that this was a reason he did not report DCO John Connolly telling staff that they should drag D275 around the corner and beat him up.29 When Speak Out posters were defaced with graffiti saying ‘snitches’ and ‘don’t be a rat’,30 G4S did not take reasonably prompt action to remedy this, and the posters remained up for months.31

76.3 Culture of not ‘grassing’: The Inquiry heard evidence of a culture of not ‘grassing’ or ‘snitching’. Two former staff members said that after reporting or challenging colleagues, they were called “a snitch, a grass” and a “rat”.32) DCO Daniel Lake thought that there was a culture of not “grassing” or “snitching” on fellow officers, and accepted that he fed into this culture, having not reported racist comments by Mr Small and having not reported Mr Murphy for an alleged “upper cut” to a detained person, because “reporting never happened in Brook House”.33 Mr Instone-Brewer was recorded saying to Mr Tulley, “No-one likes a snitch”, and said he was aware of that as a culture.34 Mr Tulley also attributed staff bragging about “the faith that they had in the culture of silence which allowed the abuse to persist because they knew staff would never complain”.35

76.4 Fear of consequences for career: There was some evidence to suggest that staff feared consequences for their own career for whistleblowing, such as being excluded from progression at Brook House or being “pushed out” of their job altogether.36 Several members of staff stated that they feared being targeted by managers if they reported wrongdoing.37

76.5 Lack of confidence: The 2018 Verita report noted that staff had a lack of confidence or trust in reporting concerns.38 This was supported by Mr Tulley, who told the Inquiry that he did not follow advice to raise concerns with DCMs, because they were “participating in the abuse” and therefore it would be “fruitless”.39 He did not go to the SMT because its members had close relationships with those DCMs, and he described a “culture in Brook House which was so hostile to whistleblowing”.27 Mr Syred had a lack of trust in the whistleblowing process.40

76.6 Normalisation of inappropriate behaviour: There was also evidence to suggest the presence of what was described by Professor Mary Bosworth (the Inquiry’s cultural expert) as an “extensive normalisation of inappropriate ways of talking about people and acting towards the detained population”.41 For instance, Mr Lake said he was not alarmed by a racist comment made by Mr Small because “it was normal”.42 In my view, the environment at Brook House did not encourage staff to report their concerns.

76.7 ‘Us and them’ culture: As discussed in Chapter D.9, there was a pervasive culture of ‘us and them’, which led to junior staff relying on one other ‘against’ detained people. Staff formed a “close-knit team” when working in a challenging environment,43 which likely operated as a disincentive to reporting colleagues.

  1. One consequence was that some staff appear to have seen themselves as “powerless” to report abuse.44 While I do not agree that they were in fact powerless, this perception may have acted as a barrier.
  2. There was also a lack of understanding about the willingness of staff to use the processes in place and the reasons why they might not do so.

78.1 I was not impressed by the complacency of Mr Gordon Brockington (Managing Director of Justice and Government Chief Commercial Officer at G4S) when he said that staff “chose not to use” the whistleblowing process and stated, “I can’t conclude as to why that happened.45 The possible reasons listed above for why staff did not raise concerns are not novel, nor are they difficult to ascertain. If Mr Brockington and G4S were not aware of these reasons during the relevant period, they certainly should have been aware of them by the time Mr Brockington gave evidence to the Inquiry.46)

78.2 G4S asserted that Mr Tulley’s explanation for failing to use the Speak Out process (that posters had been vandalised) was “not a plausible or cogent explanation” because “a significant number of other staff at Brook House felt able to utilise the ‘Speak Out’ whistleblowing process”.47 This mischaracterises Mr Tulley’s evidence, which included various reasons for not reporting matters, and ignores that a large proportion of staff were clearly dissuaded. G4S also failed to provide any alternative explanation for the failures of staff to raise concerns about the treatment of detained people, including through the Speak Out process.

78.3 Mr Saunders and Mr Neden both suggested that Mr Tulley – and other staff – should have reported through appropriate processes.48 Mr Saunders added that Mr Tulley might have acted for financial gain, and that “he placed the safety and welfare of detained persons at risk”.49 Mr Tulley rejected both of these suggestions.50 Despite the events during the relevant period set out in this Report, Mr Tulley was the only staff member who raised concerns about the treatment of detained people. The fact that he did so is to his credit. In the circumstances, his decision to expose it via the media was a reasonable one.51))

78.4 Mr Gasson told the Inquiry that he was surprised that the conduct shown on the Panorama programme was not raised by a whistleblower, because “there are several instances where staff have raised concerns about the conduct of other staff and G4S were very quick to act in those instances.52 Neither of these assertions were borne out by the evidence, and in light of the wider evidence suggesting that there was not a culture of reporting poor treatment of detained people, Mr Gasson should not have assumed that serious misconduct would be reported by other staff.

  1. This shows a failure by some G4S senior staff, and also by the Home Office, to take full responsibility in this regard, as well as a continued defensiveness in relation to Mr Tulley’s actions. However, in my view, the more significant issue was the structural and cultural failure – including in identifying and dealing with staff not having the confidence to report concerns – for which senior managers at G4S and the Home Office were responsible. This was reflected in a July 2018 report by Mr Stephen Shaw, a former PPO, in which he concluded that the whistleblowing policies used by G4S and other contractors were satisfactory, and that it was an issue of culture that was likely preventing staff from speaking out about wrongdoing. He recommended the development of ‘safe spaces’ where staff could reflect on what they had done well or where they had gone wrong, without fear of repercussions.53 Mr Neden accepted that “There was clearly a failure in the whistleblowing system” and that he was ultimately responsible for that failure.54
  2. G4S’s position was that the absence of concerns raised through the Speak Out process about inappropriate treatment did not mean that “the policy was in any way lacking.55 I do not accept this assertion. A failure of staff to report concerns in an institution is not inevitably due to an ineffective policy, but in this case it was a factor. As identified in the 2018 Verita report, references to commercial wrongdoing and issues with senior staff undermined the policy’s relevance to ordinary staff who may wish to raise issues about inappropriate behaviour.56 G4S should have had a more relevant policy for the detention environment that, for example, referred explicitly to the need to report concerns about the treatment of detained people and did not refer to things like “price fixing” and “insider trading”.57) I do not think that this would have undermined the process or disincentivised reporting.58)
  3. Even Mr Petherick and Mr Hanford were “unimpressed” with the process;24 when they tried to use it to report bullying at Brook House, the whistleblowing line said “we don’t deal with that.59 One member of staff reported that, when he asked about a UK call centre in front of Ms Lorraine Higgins (appointed as the Speak Out Champion at Brook House after the Panorama programme), she replied, “now we know who the whistleblowers are”.60 There were also issues with the Speak Out call handlers having minimal understanding of English and not knowing of Brook House’s existence.60
  4. The whistleblowing processes in place during the relevant period were inadequate, ineffective and did not specifically relate to Brook House or IRCs. Most staff failed to raise concerns, some were unaware of the processes in place and there was an inadequate response to concerns that were raised.

Steps taken after the relevant period

  1. Following the Panorama programme, G4S acknowledged that there was a need to build more trust in the whistleblowing process.61 However, the steps subsequently taken appeared to have been simpler ones to raise awareness, such as posters, contract cards and staff meetings, rather than substantive changes to build trust.62 An organisation might, for example, demonstrate its commitment to improving practices by actively encouraging staff to raise concerns and ensuring that they are not subject to management criticism if they do so. By contrast, G4S made a number of public criticisms of Mr Tulley, as discussed above.
  2. HMIP’s 2019 inspection report noted that all staff said they would report inappropriate behaviour.63 On the basis of the evidence to the Inquiry, this is not credible. In its 2022 inspection report, HMIP noted that, although processes for reporting concerns had been used since Serco took over Brook House in May 2020, “a sizeable minority of respondents to our staff survey said they would either not raise concerns about detainee welfare if they had them or were not sure if they would”.64 Only 14 per cent of staff who had raised concerns thought that effective action had been taken in response.65 It is important that those who manage Brook House are not complacent about the willingness of staff to report inappropriate behaviour and the adequacy of responses.
  3. Separately, the Home Office’s DESAAT reviewed whistleblowing processes within the immigration detention estate in 2019.66 It was noted that, in Brook House and other IRCs, improper conduct was not reported through the processes already in place. The team sought to understand why.67 Various recommendations were made as part of the review, including the introduction of a whistleblowing DSO, the publication of an annual Lessons Learned whistleblowing bulletin and further examination by the Home Office of the reasons for staff having such low confidence in current whistleblowing processes.68 In July 2020, the Home Office introduced Detention Services Order 03/2020: Whistleblowing – The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.69 This stressed the requirement for staff in IRCs to report wrongdoing, explained why whistleblowing is important, sought to establish “consistent overarching principles for reporting a concern about wrongdoing” and set out the need for contractors to train staff on and promote these procedures.
  4. While these changes are welcome, in my view they do not go far enough and do not address some of the specific concerns I have identified above. I am therefore recommending improvements to whistleblowing policies and processes.
Recommendation 31: Improving the process for and response to whistleblowing

The Home Office must update Detention Services Order 03/2020: Whistleblowing – The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 to require contractors that run immigration removal centres to:

●  have a whistleblowing policy and procedure that is specific to the immigration detention environment;
●  ensure that the whistleblowing mechanism is not limited to a hotline and allows for anonymous reporting of concerns;
●  ensure that those who receive whistleblowing concerns have an understanding of immigration removal centres;
●  take active steps to encourage staff to use whistleblowing processes,
for reasons including those set out at paragraph 10 of Detention Services Order 03/2020; and
●  ensure that whistleblowing concerns are investigated thoroughly by someone external to the immigration removal centre, and that the Home Office is informed of the nature of the concern and the investigation carried out.

The Home Office must ensure that training about the updated guidance takes place on a regular (at least annual) basis for staff dealing with whistleblowing, as well as those responsible for managing them.

The training must be subject to an assessment.


  1. The legal definition of a ‘qualifying disclosure’ is set out within section 43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996. If a worker makes such a disclosure to his employer or in certain other circumstances, as discussed below, they will be protected from dismissal or other negative treatment carried out because of that disclosure (see sections 43C-H, 47B and 103A[]
  2. CJS000707[]
  3. CJS0074040_026 para 142[]
  4. CJS0074041_028 para 131[]
  5. INQ000119_022 para 99; CJS0074047_031 para 167[]
  6. CJS0073632; CJS0073633_004-005; CJS0073677_001-002[]
  7. CJS0073631_001[]
  8. HOM032609; CJS0073631_002-003[]
  9. CJS0073688; CJS0073631_004-005[]
  10. INQ000172_003 paras 8-9[]
  11. INQ000164_057 para 119. The occasion when Ms Brown used the whistleblowing hotline appears to have been in 2016 and involved her reporting allegations of bullying behaviour towards staff (INQ000164_016-017 para 25). This does not appear to have related to the treatment of detained people or been recorded as a Speak Out complaint.[]
  12. Ben Saunders 22 March 2022 140/8-11[]
  13. Peter Neden 22 March 2022 8/20-9/1[]
  14. INQ000119_016 para 67; INQ000119_023 para 105; CJS0074041_028 para 132[]
  15. CJS0073631[]
  16. CJS0073631. See an anonymous complaint in 2016 (CJS0073631_001); a complaint by DCO David Waldock in early 2017 (CJS0072826; CJS0072913; VER000061; CJS0073634_004-007; Peter Neden 22 March 2022 59/15-60/4); an anonymous complaint (CJS0073631_004); and a complaint by DCO Tamzine McMillan in October 2017 (CJS0073683[]
  17. Ryan Bromley 7 March 2022 125/22-23; Aaron Stokes 9 March 2022 191/19-192/4; Shayne Munroe 4 March 2022 18/7-15[]
  18. For example, DCO Ryan Bromley was present during the incident between Mr Farrell and D1538, and described it to Mr Tulley, saying, “He took his head clean off” (TRN0000091_006). He was also present when Mr Sayers described assaulting D313 (see TRN0000093_031 and Day 25 PM 7 March 2022; 00:29:20-00:31:03 (KENCOV1036 – V2017061500019[]
  19. See Closing Statement on behalf of G4S, Brook House Inquiry, 3 May 2022, para 136; INQ000052_042 paras 167-168[]
  20. Detention Centre Rules 2001, Rule 45(2[]
  21. Callum Tulley 29 November 2021 77/24-80/4; Callum Tulley 30 November 2021 10/11-16; Owen Syred 7 December 2022 121/12-123/6[]
  22. Edmund Fiddy 7 March 2022 158/12-14[]
  23. INQ000052_013 para 58; Callum Tulley 29 November 2021 78/15-21[]
  24. CJS0074047_031 para 168[][]
  25. Owen Syred 7 December 2022 117/3-20, 121/2-11, 126/10-14[]
  26. Daniel Small 28 February 2022 112/15-113/6[]
  27. INQ000052_018 para 75[][]
  28. Daniel Lake 1 March 2022 7/11-8/2[]
  29. Daniel Small 28 February 2022 158/10-164/10; BDP000003_015-016[]
  30. Callum Tulley 29 November 2021 79/16-19[]
  31. Callum Tulley 30 November 2021 9/15-23; Ben Saunders 22 March 2022 138/7-16[]
  32. Assistant Custody Officer Stewart Davis (VER000260_006) and DCO Kye Clarke (INN000012_013- 014 para 52[]
  33. Daniel Lake 1 March 2022 47/14-19, 50/18-20, 54/11-16; BDP000002_016 para 49[]
  34. TRN0000099_002-004; Luke Instone-Brewer 8 March 2022 69/9/13[]
  35. INQ000052_042 paras 167-168; Callum Tulley 30 November 2021 23/11-24/15[]
  36. DL0000141_105 paras 303-304; DL0000142; INQ000052_017 para 73; Callum Tulley 30 November 2021 1/24-7/16, 19/22-20/6; TRN0000065_005[]
  37. VER000265_013; VER000254_028; VER000269_023[]
  38. CJS0073709_030 para 1.135[]
  39. Callum Tulley 29 November 2021 78/1-3; Callum Tulley 30 November 2021 16/24-17/9, 24/3-15[]
  40. Owen Syred 7 December 2022 121/12-123/6[]
  41. Professor Mary Bosworth 29 March 2022 81/11-17[]
  42. Daniel Lake 1 March 2022 47/3[]
  43. Stephen Loughton 1 March 2022 136/7-138/5; see also INQ000001[]
  44. Closing Statement on behalf of Charles Francis, Brook House Inquiry, 29 April 2022, para 99[]
  45. Gordon Brockington 31 March 2022 51/5-52/17[]
  46. By this time, Verita had reported on some of the reasons in 2018, multiple staff members had explained their reasons in evidence to the Inquiry and Mr Brockington was aware of the defacing of Speak Out posters (Gordon Brockington 31 March 2022 56/8-21[]
  47. Closing Statement on behalf of G4S, Brook House Inquiry, 3 May 2022, para 136[]
  48. KEN000003_012 paras 63-64; Ben Saunders 22 March 2022 136/10-137/1; Peter Neden 22 March 2022 65/1-4[]
  49. KEN000003_012 para 65[]
  50. Callum Tulley 9 March 2022 110/17-111/25[]
  51. Employees may make legally protected disclosures to the media (and other external bodies) in certain circumstances (see Employment Rights Act 1996, section 43H(1)-(2[]
  52. Paul Gasson 15 March 2022 218/7-219/3[]
  53. Assessment of Government Progress in Implementing the Report on the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons, Stephen Shaw, Cm 9661, July 2018, para 6.30[]
  54. Peter Neden 22 March 2022 64/15-20[]
  55. CJS0074041_028 para 132[]
  56. CJS0073709_225-226 paras 13.46-13.50[]
  57. A similar point was made in the 2018 Verita report (CJS0073709_225 para 13.48; CJS0073709_225 para 13.50[]
  58. This was contrary to the position set out in Mr Brockington’s corporate statement (CJS0074041_029- 030 paras 140-142[]
  59. VER000239_027[]
  60. VER000260_014[][]
  61. IMB000026_002[]
  62. CJS0073709_030 para 1.134; CJS0074041_029 para 139[]
  63. HMIP000685_046 para 117[]
  64. Report on an Unannounced Inspection of Brook House Immigration Removal Centre 30 May–16 June 2022 (HMIP000702), HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, September 2022, para 2.15[]
  65. 2022 HMIP Brook House Staf f Survey Q6.6[]
  66. HOM018708[]
  67. HOM018708_002-004[]
  68. HOM018708_011-012[]
  69. Detention Services Order 03/2020: Whistleblowing – The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, Home Office, July 2020[]