Whistleblowing/Reporting Concerns Policy

1 – Policy Statement

Being constantly aware of activities and actions that do not adhere to the legal or ethical requirements of the organisation is vital and all staff should practice professional curiosity at all times, always questioning unusual or troubling activity.  There is no expectation that staff should deal with these situations themselves but reporting any concerns about learners, colleagues, suppliers or employers is the responsibility of everyone.  The terms often used is ‘Whistleblowing’ which describes the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing or dangers identified at work.

Anyone who raises any type of concern about work, will be treated with respect and will not suffer as a result.  If any employee believes reasonably and in good faith that malpractice exists in the workplace, then we would encourage them to report this immediately to their line manager or one of the directors. Any disclosure will be treated confidentially and investigated as per the time scales set out below. Following any referral, a report back will be given to the concerned employee about the outcome of the investigation and of any actions proposed.

We suggest you refer to your Safeguarding, Prevent, GDPR, Cyber Security training and the staff handbook for further guidance on issues to pick up on and report.

2 – Purpose

How to Raise a Concern

Usually, the first step is to contact your manager, who is then required to refer the matter to the appropriate person. If you don’t feel able to approach your manager, you can raise a concern to a director within the company or, where appropriate, the Designated Safeguarding Lead.  Concerns may be raised orally or in writing via email and although we encourage openness.

What is covered in this policy?

Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 and Employer Rights Act 1996 all employees are protected where they make a protected disclosure, relating to the following

  • A safeguarding concern about a staff member
  • A criminal offence has been, is being, or is likely to be committed
  • A person has failed, is failing, or is likely to have failed to comply with any legal obligation to which they are subject.
  • A miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring, or is likely to occur.
  • The health or safety of an individual has been, is being, or is likely to be endangered
  • That the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged
  • That there are concerns regarding online activity which may relate to safeguarding, Prevent, malicious intent (e.g. disrupting the business) or Cyber Security (putting the business at risk of cyber attacks).
  • That information relating to any of the above is being deliberately concealed

By raising a concern, you are protected by law – you won’t be treated unfairly or lose your job because you ‘blow the whistle’.  In some cases, a protected disclosure may be investigated under a separate policy where appropriate, for example, an allegation of sexual harassment is likely to qualify for protection, as it will be with reference to an unlawful or potentially criminal act.

In these cases, TAA’s Bullying and Harassment Policy and Grievance policy and procedure will be used as the internal mechanism for dealing with the concern in the first instance. Other concerns may not qualify, such as employment issues or poor standards of behaviour of staff. While these may not have the same legal protection, TAA takes these seriously and will investigate with a view to resolving these concerns. Personal grievances and complaints are not usually covered by whistleblowing law.

How will my concerns be dealt with?

We will respond to your concern as soon as possible, usually within three working days of receipt. Upon receipt of a concern, we will discuss this with you and make initial enquiries to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take. This will include an assessment of whether the concern should be investigated under any of TAA’s other policies and procedures.

Any initial discussions can be arranged away from the workplace, and your manager or a colleague may accompany you to support (if you wish). Where appropriate, the matters raised may be investigated by a director or through the Bullying and Harassment policy, disciplinary policy and procedure, grievance policy and procedure, or internal issues arising procedure

We will also consider whether your concerns may be resolved via other mechanisms such as mediation, training, or any other form of dispute resolution. Where possible, we will respond to the allegation in writing within ten days confirming:

  • How we propose to deal with the matter
  • How long we estimate that will take to provide a final response
  • Whether any initial enquiries have been made
  • Whistle-blower support mechanisms

and whether further investigations will take place and if not, why not. Any investigation will be proportionate, independent, objective and evidence based, and will produce a report that focuses on identifying and rectifying any issues and learning lessons to prevent problems occurring.

Version – 3

Date if issue – June 2019

Date of review – September 2023

Date of next review – September 2024