Whistleblowing for Council Staff
All of us at one time or another have concerns about what is happening at work. Usually these concerns are easily resolved. However, when they are about unlawful conduct, financial malpractice or dangers to the public or the environment, it can be difficult to know what to do.
Arun District Council has introduced this procedure to enable you to raise your concerns about such malpractice at an early stage and in the right way.
If, however, you are aggrieved about your personal position, please use the Grievance Procedure - which you can get from your personnel officer. This Whistleblowing Procedure is primarily for concerns where the interests of others or of the organisation itself are at risk.
This policy and procedure has been written to take account of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, which protects workers making disclosures about matters of concern when they may have reasonable grounds for believing they are true.
Our Assurances to you
The authority is committed to this policy. If you raise a genuine concern under this policy, you will not be at risk of losing your job or suffering any form of retribution as a result. Provided you are acting in good faith, it does not matter if you are mistaken. Any allegations made frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain however, will not be upheld.
We will not tolerate the harassment or victimisation of anyone raising a genuine concern. However, we recognise that you may nonetheless want to raise a concern in confidence under this policy. If you ask us to protect your identity by keeping your confidence, we will not disclose it without your consent. If the situation arises where we are not able to resolve the concern without revealing your identity (for instance because your evidence is needed in court), we will discuss with you whether and how we can proceed.
Remember that while you do not have to identify yourself, if you do not tell us who you are, it will be much more difficult for us to look into the matter or to protect your position or to give you feedback.
How we will handle the matter
Once you have told us of your concern, we will look into it to assess initially what action should be taken. This may involve an internal inquiry or a more formal investigation. We will tell you who is handling the matter, advise you whether your further assistance may be needed and make any necessary arrangements for the investigator to contact you. Please remember investigations take time because we need to ensure that all appropriate information and evidence has been obtained and is accurate.
When you raise the concern you may be asked how you think the matter might best be resolved. If you do have any personal interest in the matter, we do ask that you tell us at the outset. If your concern falls more properly within the Grievance Procedure we will tell you.
How to raise a concern internally
If you have a concern about malpractice, we hope you will feel able to raise it first with your manager.
If you feel unable to raise the matter with your manager, for whatever reason, please raise the matter with:
Internal Audit Ext. 37561/ 37558 / 37359/ 37559 or direct dial number (01903) 737556.
Please say if you want to raise the matter in confidence so that they can make appropriate arrangements. Whoever you chose to tell will take appropriate action and also respect your position.
Concerns may be raised verbally or in writing. Where a meeting is arranged, off-site if you so wish, you can be accompanies by a friend, union or professional association representative.
If you are unsure whether to use this procedure or you want independent advice at any stage, you may contact:
the Unison Whistleblowers hitline via Unison Direct on 0800 597 9750
the independent charity Public Concern at Work on 020 7404 6609. Their lawyers can give you free confidential advice at any stage about how to raise a concern about serious malpractice at work.
the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org/fraud. They provide information and advice about fraud and the facility to give information anonymously.
While we hope this policy gives you the reassurance you need to raise such matters internally, we recognise that there may be circumstances where you can properly report matters to outside bodies, such as regulators or the police. Public Concern at Work or Unison will be able to advise you on such an option and on the circumstances in which you may be able to contact an outside body safely.
If you are dissatisfied
If you are unhappy with our response, remember you can go to the other levels and bodies detailed in this policy. While we cannot guarantee that we will respond to all matters in the way that you might wish, we will try to handle the matter fairly and properly. By using this policy, you will help us to achieve this.
For members of the public:
UK Public Interest Disclosure Act:
Source: Local Joint Staff Panel - 13th September 1999
Effective Date: 13th September 1999
Legislation: Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
Other Sources of Information: Human Resources