Whistle Blowing Policy

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WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY

1. PREAMBLE

1. Employees are often the first to realise that there may be something seriously wrong within the Council. However, they may not express their concerns because they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the Council. They may also fear harassment or victimisation. In these circumstances it may be easier to ignore the concern rather than report what may just be a suspicion of malpractice.

2. The Council is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with that commitment we expect employees, and others that we deal with, who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Council's work to come forward and voice those concerns. It is recognised that most cases will have to proceed on a confidential basis.

3. The policy document makes it clear that you can do so without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination or disadvantage. This whistle-blowing policy is intended to encourage and enable employees to raise serious concerns within the Council rather than overlooking a problem or 'blowing the whistle' outside.

4. The policy applies to all employees and those contractors working for the council on Council premises, for example, agency staff, builders, drivers. It also covers suppliers and those providing services under a contract with the Council in their own premises, for example, care homes.

5. These procedures are in addition to the Council's complaints procedures and other statutory reporting procedures applying to directorates. You are responsible for making service users aware of the existence of these procedures.

6. This policy has been discussed with the relevant trade unions and professional organisations and has their support.

2. AIMS AND SCOPE OF THIS POLICY

1. This policy aims to:

• encourage you to feel confident in raising serious concerns and to question and act upon concerns about practice

• provide avenues for you to raise those concerns and receive feedback on any action taken

• ensure that you receive a response to your concerns and that you are aware of how to pursue them if you are not satisfied

• reassure you that you will be protected from possible reprisals or victimisation if you have a reasonable belief that you have made any disclosure in good faith.

2. There are existing procedures in place to enable you to lodge a grievance relating to your own employment. The whistle-blowing policy is intended to cover major concerns that fall outside the scope of other procedures. These include:

• conduct which is an offence or a breach of law

• disclosures related to miscarriages of justice

• health and safety risks, including risks to the public as well as other employees

• damage to the environment

• the unauthorised use of public funds

• possible fraud and corruption

• sexual or physical abuse of clients, or

• other unethical conduct

3. Thus, any serious concerns that you have about any aspect of service provision or the conduct of officers or members of the Council or others acting on behalf of the Council can be reported under the whistle-blowing policy. This may be about something that:

• makes you feel uncomfortable in terms of known standards, your experience or the standards you believe the Council subscribes to; or

• is against the Council's Standing Orders and policies; or

• falls below established standards of practice; or

• amounts to improper conduct.

4. This policy does not replace the corporate complaints procedure.

3. SAFEGUARDS

1. Harassment or Victimisation

1. The Council is committed to good practice and high standards and wants to be supportive of employees.

2. The Council recognises that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult...
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