Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure

Medaille Trust Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure

 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy and procedure is to ensure The Medaille Trust embraces the legal requirements of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 and the changes set out in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act of 2013.

Both Acts aim to encourage employees and other workers, such as contractors, to raise concerns in a responsible way, where there is a practice within an organisation which threatens the public interest and be protected when raising a concern.

If employees or workers make a ‘protected disclosure’ as a whistleblower, whereby they raise a concern such as improper, illegal or negligent behaviour by anyone in the workplace, they will be protected from any subsequent victimisation, provided their case falls within the detailed criteria laid out in the above Acts.

These include:

  • A criminal offence was committed or is being or is likely to be committed
  • A person has or is or is likely to fail to comply with a legal obligation
  • A miscarriage of justice has occurred or is or is likely to occur
  • The health and safety of any individual has been or is being or is likely to be endangered
  • The environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged
  • That information tending to show any matter falling within any one of the above categories has been, is being, or is likely to be deliberately concealed

The intention of the Acts and this policy and procedure is that employees and workers will raise their concerns internally and where they raise matters externally, this is regulated by law.

The law recognises that whistleblowing occurs and seeks to protect employees and workers.

Policy

The Medaille Trust is committed to the high standards of honesty, openness, accountability, safety and quality.  We expect all staff to conform to these high standards and uphold the ethos of the Trust.  We want employees and workers to feel able to voice concerns about any behaviour or practice which they believe, could compromise these standards.  The Medaille Trust will respect the actions of any person who raise a legitimate concern in order that its values and standards are upheld.

Staff working on behalf of The Medaille Trust endeavour to create a positive working environment and an anti-discriminatory approach, and any concerns about staff attitudes and behaviour will be followed up. 

We also aim to safeguard the people we support from abuse, to prevent financial fraud and malpractice, corruption, bullying, harassment or victimisation in the workplace and any other serious malpractice, such as inappropriate use of Medaille resources or breach of confidentiality.

The policy applies equally to all staff, volunteers, workers and Trustees of Medaille Trust.  It should be read in conjunction with the Safeguarding Policy.

The Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure should not be used where existing procedures are more appropriate. We have clear procedures in place for dealing with staff grievances, disciplinary matters and equal opportunities.

Raising a concern

The responsibility for raising matters of concern (whistleblowing) rests with any person, regardless of status within the organisation, who has evidence of unacceptable practice and / or attitude. This includes contractors.

Staff should be able to raise questions about any matter of concern during supervision or in staff meetings, so that practices and behaviour can be modified.  If the concern is about the line manager or the line manager does not respond appropriately, the matter should be raised with the next appropriate person within the line management structure. 

Whistleblowing is often difficult and may cause ill feeling. However, if problems are not to escalate, issues must be addressed at the earliest opportunity.  A member of staff who fails to raise legitimate concerns may find that they themselves get caught up in inappropriate practice.  Dealing appropriately with relatively minor matters will ensure that more serious matters are less likely to occur. 

We will support you and protect you from reprisals or victimisation and if you report a legitimate concern, you can be confident that this will not affect your career or enjoyment of your job. This applies equally if you reasonably believe that your disclosure is true, and it turns out later not to be true.

For your disclosure to be protected by law you must:

  • Reasonably believe that your disclosure is in the public interest and is not related to your own personal disputes
  • Reasonably believe the issue you are raising is true
  • Reasonably believe that you are making the disclosure to the right person

Line managers must ensure that concerns are taken seriously, seek advice from HR and make an objective assessment of the issue raised.

Any matter raise under this policy and procedure will be investigated, thoroughly, promptly and confidentially and the outcome will be report back to the person who raised the issue.

Maliciously making a false allegation is a disciplinary offence.

After investigation, should the allegations made by the whistleblower prove not to have been made in good faith, or the person is motivated by personal gain or vindictiveness, that person will not be protected, and the Disciplinary Policy may be implemented.

An instruction to cover up a wrongdoing is a disciplinary offence. If you are told not to raise or pursue a concern, you should not agree to remain silent and should raise the matter to someone more senior as outlined in the procedure below.

If the matter leads to disciplinary action, then you need to be aware that the information provided may be used and we will ensure that all steps are taken to protect the person who raised the issue. Your Manager would consult with you about the best course of action to take.

Procedure

The general principle in this procedure is that in the first instance you should inform your employer and allow them the opportunity to address your concerns before turning to an external agency.

Stage 1

In most cases you should be able to raise any concerns with your line manager. You should do this promptly. They should meet with you to discuss your concerns.

If for some reason this is not possible, or you reasonably believe that your line manager is involved in the wrongdoing, then you should proceed to Stage 3.

Be clear about the source of your concern and whether the practice is illegal, against government guidelines or against Medaille policy. Seek advice on this if you are unsure. 

Where the concern relates to an issue that is personal to you, the Grievance Policy should be used.  If the concern relates to the abuse of the people we support, then refer to the Safeguarding Policy.

Stage 2

The line manager must ensure that they report any whistleblowing concerns raised with them to their Senior Manager. They should agree a course of action which must include:

  • An immediate assessment of the whole situation to ensure that no-one is at risk of harm or injury. 
  • Investigation of the concern, including the taking of written statements from the person raising the concern as well as others who are relevant to the matter.
  • The manager, or the person undertaking the investigation, will complete a report which will be considered by their Senior Manager.
  • The Senior Manager will decide what further action is required, which may include disciplinary proceedings or a report to an external agency.
  • Feedback to the person who raised the concern. This should include being informed of the outcome of the investigation, being told what has been done or will be done.  If no action is to be taken the reason for this will be explained.
  • Maintaining a full and thorough record of the concern raised and any subsequent investigation and decision making and outcome.

After investigation, should the allegations made by the whistleblower prove not to have been made in good faith or the person is motivated by personal gain, that person will not be protected and the Disciplinary Policy may be implemented.

Stage 3

If you are concerned about reporting using Stage 1, you should speak to another Senior Manager or the Chief Executive.

If the issue involves the Chief Executive, or any of the Trustees of the Medaille Trust, then you should contact the following designated people:

Sue McVeigh (Chartered FCIPD)

HR on behalf of the Medaille Trust

Caritas Diocese of Salford

Cathedral Centre

3 Ford Street

Salford

M3 6DP

T: 0161 817 2265

E: s.mcveigh@caritassalford.org.uk

Di Cox

Director of Operations / Medaille Safeguarding Lead

T: 07496 609 794

E: d.cox@medaille-trust.org.uk

The person you contact will confirm to you in writing that they are dealing with the matter. They will follow Stage 2 of this procedure.

Stage 4

If on conclusion of the investigation, you reasonably believe that the appropriate action has not been taken, you should report the matter to the appropriate authority.

This may include:

  • The Health and Safety Executive
  • The Police or Fraud Office

External Support 

For further advice staff can find support externally to the agency by calling or looking up the following;

  • The Whistleblowing Helpline on 08000 724 725 or email to enquiries@wbhelpline.org.uk
  • Public Concern at Work on  020 7404 6609  

http://www.pcaw.org.uk/individual-advice/information-and-advice-services

Staff can also contact the Salvation Army or the Home Office directly if they have a concern about any aspect of the service.

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