Our whistleblowing policy tells you how to raise a whistleblowing case and the process to follow.
Policy Statement / General Principles
The Trustees and Senior Management Team are committed to operating in a climate of openness in which employees should be encouraged to raise legitimate concerns without fear of reprisal to ensure that the organisation is administered honestly at all times.
Employees and other workers engaged by an organisation may be amongst the first to identify serious malpractice within that organisation. However, they may be reluctant to express their concerns for fear of being disloyal or because they fear harassment or victimisation.
This policy and procedure is intended to provide a rapid mechanism under which genuine concerns can be raised internally and, if necessary, externally without fear of repercussions to the individual. It is also intended to foster a culture of openness and a shared sense of integrity in upholding the reputation of the organisation and maintaining public confidence in it.
Whilst there is no legal definition of Whistleblowing it should be taken to mean the disclosure by an employee of confidential information which relates to some danger, fraud or other illegal or unethical practice connected with the business of the organisation.
Examples of such practice would include:
- fraud or financial irregularity (e.g. misappropriation of money)
- corruption (e.g. bribery, blackmail, or serious breach of academic standards such as the consistent and deliberate awarding of unjustifiably high or low marks for student work)
- actions or omissions which have potential for loss of life or serious injury
- a serious breach of a legal requirement (e.g. falsification, theft, H&S)
Whistleblowing does not include personal grievances of any nature. These should be dealt with through the Grievance Procedure as appropriate.
This policy and procedure on whistleblowing applies to all employees of the organisation.
It is the policy of the organisation that:
a) the organisation be run at all times to the highest standards of probity and public accountability.
b) all Trustees, employees and others representing the organisation at any time should conduct themselves in an appropriate manner at all times.
c) malpractice of any type will be taken seriously and will be dealt with speedily and appropriately.
d) employees who have genuine concerns about malpractice should feel able raise these without fear of victimisation.
e) there be appropriate safeguards in place to prevent false or malicious allegations.
If there is reasonable belief for believing that malpractice of the type listed above is happening in the organisation the concern should be raised either orally or in writing with the Principal.
If the Principal is suspected of involvement in the malpractice, the Chair of the Trustees should be contacted.
The Principal will then arrange for an appropriate investigation to be carried out. The method of investigation would be determined by the Principal or, if the complaint is against the Principal, the Chair of the Trustees.
Any concerns about malpractice should always be raised internally in the first instance.
The Trustees, excluding the employee and anyone implicated, is responsible for considering the allegations in the light of the evidence from the investigation and for determining the appropriate course of action. The decision of the Trustees will be communicated to the whistleblower. If the whistleblower disagrees with the decision taken the matter should be discussed with Chair of the Trustees.
If the whistleblower is still not satisfied with the result there is a right of access to an appropriate official external body including:
- the organisation’s external auditors
- the organisation’s main funding body
- a Member of Parliament
- Public Concern at Work (0171 404 6609) which is an independent charity offering confidential advice on such matters
Both the organisation and the whistleblower have a duty of confidentiality. Any matter raised under this procedure will be treated in the strictest of confidence by the Principal and the name of the whistleblower will not be disclosed to anyone without permission. Similarly, the whistleblower is under an obligation not to make public or disclose the name of those against whom the complaint is made.
Protection for Whistleblowers
Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act a whistleblower is protected from disciplinary action for using this procedure provided that both:
a) the stages set down within it have been followed, and
b) the whistleblower has acted in good faith and not for personal gain or out of personal motives.
If the Whistleblowing Procedure is used knowingly to make false or malicious accusations this will be treated as committing a disciplinary offence. Willful misuse of this procedure could constitute gross misconduct and might lead to dismissal.
Review / Amendment
The organisation reserves the right to review this policy and procedure at any time if deemed necessary and to amend it accordingly. Any changes will be notified to all staff and updates uploaded to SharePoint and the College’s website.
Approved by: Trustees
Date: November 2020
Person Responsible: Head of Human Resources