The Company recognises that incidents of workplace fraud and wrongdoing are on the increase in other workplaces. Therefore, it is committed to ensuring that any such malpractice is prevented and immediately dealt with if it should arise. Workers are encouraged to disclose (‘blow the whistle on’) any malpractice in the workplace of which they become aware. Workers will be protected against any detrimental treatment as a result of their disclosure if the information disclosed, in their reasonable belief, tends to show one or more of the following:
- that a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed;
- that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject;
- that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur;
- that the health and safety of an individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered; or
- that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged.
The Company will make every effort to deal consistently with such disclosures in a fair, objective and discreet manner. Any worker who has concerns about malpractice within the workplace will not be punished or victimised for their disclosures of confidential information if made in good faith. Any victimisation or harassment of you for having raised legitimate concerns should be reported immediately to a Director and will be dealt with as a serious act of misconduct.
The policy will apply where a disclosure is made in good faith and where you reasonably believe that the information disclosed and any allegations contained in it are substantially true. If any disclosure is made in bad faith (for instance, in order to cause disruption within the Company), concerns information which you do not substantially believe is true, or is made for personal gain, then such a disclosure may constitute gross misconduct for which summary dismissal is the sanction.
This procedure is intended as a means of allowing all workers to raise concerns about malpractice in the workplace through a fair and discreet route. It is not necessary for the worker to prove the malpractice or misconduct that they are alleging; they may simply raise a reasonable suspicion.
In the first instance you should discuss the matter with a senior Manager or Director and they will try to resolve the matter promptly. The Manager/Director should ask you to put your concerns in writing if this is considered appropriate and will arrange a meeting with you to discuss your concerns fully with them and try to find a solution. You may be accompanied at the meeting both you and anyone accompanying you may be asked to keep the matter confidential while it is investigated. The Manager/Director may be accompanied by an assistant to take notes.
As soon as reasonably practicable after the meeting the Manager/Director will recommend what action should be taken, such action may include one or more of the following:
- that the matter should be reported to the police;
- that the matter should be reported to an appropriate public body;
- that corrective action should be taken, including under our disciplinary procedure where appropriate;
- that you should be given the opportunity to seek redress through the Company’s grievance procedure.
The Manager/Director may recommend that no further action is taken if:
- your concerns are investigated and found to be incorrect (even though they may have been genuinely held);
- they are is satisfied that you do not have reasonable belief that malpractice within the meaning of this procedure has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur or that your beliefs have been unfounded;
- they are satisfied that you are not acting in good faith;
- the matter concerned is already the subject of legal proceedings, or has already been referred to the police or other public body;
- the matter is already (or has already been) the subject of proceedings under one of the Company’s other procedures relating to workers.
Any recommendations made under this procedure will be made to the Managing Director unless it is alleged that they are involved in the alleged malpractice or unless there are other reasonable grounds for not doing so.
All recommendations will be made without revealing your identity wherever possible except for the purposes of taking confidential legal advice from a professionally qualified lawyer.
The Company will ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to implement the recommendations unless there are legitimate reasons for not doing so. Any decision not to implement the recommendations will be given in writing to the Managing Director, together with the reasons for this.
The Company will ensure that any matters that you raise are kept in complete confidence and are not disclosed to any other party without first consulting you save for where disclosure is needed to enable investigation, resolution or to obtain legal or professional advice. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that your working environment and/or working relationships are not prejudiced because of the disclosure.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision or proposed action of the Manager/Director, you may raise the matter with another Director or the Managing Director. They may ask you to put your concerns in writing or to supply them with a copy of the written concerns previously given to the Manager/Director.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a decision based on this procedure you may raise the matter on a confidential basis directly with the police, another public body or any other relevant external organisation.
You may also raise the matter publicly to an appropriate authority if you have reasonable grounds for believing that a Director or any other person to whom you could report are or were involved in the alleged malpractice or that you will be subject to a detriment as a result of making the disclosure.
It will never be acceptable to disclose the matter publicly outside of reporting it to an appropriate authority, for example by telling friends, posting on social media, or making a statement to the press.
If you reasonably believe that the relevant breach relates wholly or mainly to the conduct of a person other than a Company employee or any other matter for which a person other than the Company has legal responsibility, then you should make that disclosure to that other person.
If you’re not sure whether or how to make a disclosure, you may wish to contact the independent charity Protect (formerly known as Public Concern at Work) on 020 3117 2520, who will provide free confidential advice to workers at any stage about how to raise concerns about malpractice at work. Their website is: www.protect-advice.org.uk