Whistleblowing is the disclosure of information by a member of staff, which relates to some danger, fraud or other illegal or unethical conduct in the workplace. The Employment Rights Act 1996 as amended by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 governs the making of disclosures concerning workplace activities and is intended to protect staff that blow the whistle on bad practice from being subjected to any detriment or unfairly dismissed as a result.
Certain disclosures are prescribed by law as ‘qualifying disclosures’. Disclosures are qualifying disclosures where it can be shown that WCC has committed a ‘relevant failure’ by:-
These acts can be in the past, present or future, so that, for example, a disclosure qualifies if it relates to environmental damage that has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen. A whistleblower is a person who raises a genuine concern relating to any of the above.
The aim of this policy is to provide an internal mechanism for reporting, investigating and remedying any workplace wrongdoing. This policy should not be used for complaints of your own personal circumstances, such as the way you have been treated at work. In those cases, you should use the Grievance Policy and Procedure or Anti-harassment and Bullying Procedure as appropriate to report your concerns.
You can raise your concerns orally or in writing to your Manager. You must state that you are using the ‘Whistleblowing’ policy and specify whether you wish your identity to be kept confidential. You will be asked to formalise your concerns in writing either before or after.
In some cases, WCC may appoint an investigator who may make recommendations for change to enable WCC to minimise the risk of future wrongdoing.
WCC will keep you informed of the progress of the investigation and its likely timescale and you should keep any information about the investigation as confidential. If WCC conclude that a whistleblower has made false allegations maliciously or with a view to personal gain, he or she will be subject to disciplinary action.
Whilst WCC is unable to guarantee the outcome you are seeking, WCC will try to deal with your concern fairly and appropriately. If you are not happy with the way in which your concern has been handled, you can raise it with the CEO in writing.
It is understandable that whistleblowers are sometimes worried about possible repercussions and WCC aims to encourage openness and will support staff who raise genuine concerns under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.
Staff must not suffer any detrimental treatment as a result of raising a concern, and this includes dismissal, disciplinary action, threats or other unfavourable treatment. If you suffer any such treatment you should inform your Manager or a Director immediately. If the matter is not remedied, you should raise it formally under WCC’s Grievance Policy and Procedure.
Staff must not threaten or retaliate against whistleblowers in any way. If you are involved in such conduct you may be subject to disciplinary action and in some cases the whistleblower could have a right to sue you personally for compensation in an employment tribunal.
The Directors have overall responsibility for this policy and for reviewing the effectiveness of actions taken in response to concerns raised under it.
All staff are responsible for the success of this policy and should ensure that they use it to disclose any suspected wrongdoing. Staff are invited to comment on the policy and suggest ways in which it might be improved by writing to a Director in the first instance.
In very serious circumstances, or following an internal report, which has not been addressed, you may report your concerns to an external body firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated 14th January, 2020