Here is Britain we are still reluctant to make a complaint.  We will smile sweetly as the hairdresser shows us their work in a mirror, leave a tip and then rush home to wash it all out and start again.  In restaurants and hotels, we would rather leave a poor review on trip advisor than cause a scene by voicing our concerns.  So when we do complain we generally have good reason to and we expect that our complaint will be acknowledged and resolved.

When you make a complaint about a public body you are walking on thin ice. You do it to make things better for others, so no-one else has to suffer but you have no idea how those in authority will make you suffer for your audacity.  Most whistle-blowers don’t know they are whistle-blowers.  Working for public bodies they simply do their job of reporting undue practice to their line manager only to be marched off the premises by security before they even have time to google PIDA.

Doing the right thing can be such a wrong thing to do.

So you make a complaint, perhaps about a hospital or the Border Agency or Department of Work and Pensions.  It matters not where you make your complaint, the process will be the same.  Slow and torturous.  You made it for the right reasons.  You made it because you have integrity and believe in honesty and justice.  You did it for the greater good of others.  You had no idea it would destroy you.

The system grinds slowly pushing you from pillar to post, denying you the evidence you need to prove your case and diverting you with false trails that all lead back to where you started.  And the years go by. One year in and then another.  You have overcome so many hurdles, written so many letters and emails, you can’t give up now for surely resolution is just around the corner.  You have an emotional investment in this complaint.  So much time and energy have been devoted to getting this far, was it all for nothing you ask yourself.  But your steadfast integrity will be your undoing for anyone who pursues a complaint for more than a limited time period must by default be deranged.  You have become a persistent complainer because the system has refused to acknowledge and resolve and to those in authority this is now your ‘life choice’ and you must pay the price.

They hold onto their complaints to avoid the grieving process,’  was the view of an NHS Complaint Manager dismissing bereaved complainants will a single tar brush.  ‘They won’t be satisfied until someone is hung, drawn and quartered,’  she added, which is an ideal way to avoid engagement.  It suggests that solutions have been offered and rejected where all too often no remedy is forthcoming until court action finally squeezes a contorted apology from the mouth of their solicitor.

Whistle-blowers and persistent complainants challenge the status quo

and for that, they must be vilified to deter others.