WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY AND PROCEDURE
Author: Milly Wildish Date: 30/09/2020 Date for review: 30/09/2021
STATEMENT OF INTENT
This should include the Organisation’s intentions to operate as an open and transparent organisation which is open to the possibility of unethical conduct taking place within the organisation.
If an individual discovers serious malpractice or wrongdoing, then this procedure should be in place to consider how best to remedy any concerns that may be apparent.
The whistleblowing procedure should allow employees or parents/carers to report under it.
This section should also include a statement around the protection afforded to individuals who do use whistleblowing as an attempt to highlight serious concerns within the organisation where this procedure is not abused.
This section should consider three main aspects:
- To encourage staff to report where they feel that concerns are listened to.
- Guidance on how to raise concerns;
- Reassure to staff that they will not face retribution for reporting genuine concerns.
DEFINITION OF WHISTLEBLOWING
- a criminal offence, eg fraud
- someone’s health and safety is in danger
- risk or actual damage to the environment
- a miscarriage of justice
- the company is breaking the law, eg doesn’t have the right insurance
- you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing
A whistle blower is a person who raises a genuine concern that he/she believes is in the public interest relating to any of the above. If you have any genuine concerns related to suspected wrongdoing or danger affecting any of the Organisation’s activities (a whistleblowing concern) you should report it under this policy.
You should also signpost whistle blowers to alternative policies and procedures to deal with issues such as bullying or harassment in the organisation (e.g. grievance procedures).
If Staff are uncertain whether something is within the scope of this policy you should direct them to an appropriate person within your organisation or, if they feel unable, an external advisory organisation such as ACAS / PCAW who provide whistleblowing advice.
This section should outline the practical steps that the organisations envisages should be taken.
Firstly, it should direct the whistle blower to at least two senior leaders for your organisation whose roles (and relationships) are independent from each other for example:
- The Head of the Organisation
- A named Governor/Trustee / Director for the organization who has taken responsible for managing whistleblowing and has the appropriate knowledge to deal with whistleblowing.
You should then outline the steps that will be taken by the above individual for example:
- Speak to the whistle blower to ascertain full details
- Nominate an appropriate investigating officer or team of officers (you may have someone independent your organization will use in this circumstance).
You should have relevant comment for when a whistle blower’s identity wishes to remain confidential or whether the whistle blower is anonymous.
Remember not to promise absolute confidentiality as some circumstances will prevent this as a result of other legislation.
You may also wish to include the organisation’s acceptance of using a third party if the individual/s believe this is appropriate. One such charity is:
Protect, the independent whistleblowing charity, who offer a confidential helpline.
Their contact details are:
Protect Helpline: (020) 7404 6609
This section should outline that the whistleblowing information will be investigated should the individuals outlined in the ‘procedures’ section feel it meets the threshold to fall within this policy.
It should include how the whistle blower will be fed back to (where appropriate). You may wish to outline the confidential nature of any information shared with the individual.
You should also include how recommendations will be managed and note the use of timescales and awareness of the need to include other bodies such as Local Authority or Regulatory involvement where there may be a duty to do so.
You should add that an investigation outcome that establishes that the whistle blower has made false allegations maliciously or outside of the organisation’s code of conduct/practice may face a disciplinary.
PROTECTION AND SUPPORT FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS
This section should clearly outline what protection and support is available and have further information on how an individual will not suffer any detrimental treatment as a result of raising a concern. This will include:
- disciplinary action,
- unfavourable treatment in their employment (e.g being overseen for promotions)
You should also outline in this section how a person who feels that they have experienced such treatment following whistleblowing should report this concern (possibly refer to grievance policies or refer on to ACAS / PROTECT).
You should also include a comment on other staff behaviour towards the individual with regards to possible intimidation / retaliation. Anyone involved in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action as per the organisation’s code of conduct / practice.
WHISTLEBLOWING TO EXTERNAL ORGANISATIONS
You should have a section related to whistleblowing to Regulatory Bodies and your position on this. Most organisations will prefer to manage concerns internally but accept that there are times where this step can be appropriate. It would be prudent to direct whistle blowers to organisations such as PROTECT in the first instance.