Sutton Council has agreed to pay compensation to, and offered to reinstate, an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) who claimed that his self-employed contract with the Council was terminated after he raised concerns about the authority’s work with looked after children.
Jon Fayle was an IRO with a self-employed contract for services with the London Borough, which came to an end in January 2012.
Mr Fayle appealed to the Employment Tribunal on the basis that Sutton Council had ended his contract following his criticisms of their work with a number of children – or “whistle-blowing”.
Sutton Council denied Mr Fayle’s claims, but at the beginning of June reached a settlement with Mr Fayle. This included an offer to reinstate his contract as an IRO and to compensate him for loss of earnings and injury to feelings. An apology was also made stating that Mr Fayle’s work had been of a high standard.
The case highlights that both employed and self-employed IROs are covered by legislation designed to protect employees who make “whistle-blowing” disclosures.
Interestingly, Mr Fayle also chairs the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers (NAIRO) and he commented that his own case had important implications for IROs across the UK working for Local Authorities and public agencies.