WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY

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1 WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY Presented for Approval: 10 December 2014 Equality Impact assessed: 28 November 2014 Approved by: Date Reapproved: Board Designate 9 December 2015 by the Board 22 November 2016 Audit and Risk Committee 7 December 2016 by the Board Review Date : November/December 2017 Author: HR Department

2 WHISTLEBLOWING CONTENTS Paragraph Title Page 1 INTRODUCTION 3 2 DEFINITION OF MALPRACTICE OR CORRUPTION 3 3 AIMS AND SCOPE OF THIS POLICY 4 4 WHISTLEBLOWING & GRIEVANCE 4 5 WHISTLEBLOWING & SAFEGUARDING 4 6 THE PROCEDURE 5 7 UNFOUNDED ACCUSATIONS 6 8 VICTIMISATION 6 9 RELATED POLICIES/PROCEDURES/CODES 6 10 SENIOR POST HOLDER NAMES AND CONTACT DETAILS 6 Appendix 1 EXAMPLES OF MALPRACTICE 7 Appendix 2 CONTACT DETAILS 8 Page 2

3 1. Introduction 1.1 Coleg Cambria is committed to developing a climate of openness in its dealings and seeks to achieve this by having in place commonly understood systems and procedures which protect the integrity of individuals and the Institution. 1.2 In response to the Nolan Report on Standards in Public Life and the subsequent Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, a procedure for Whistleblowing has been established, which is designed to provide staff and others associated with the College the opportunity to raise genuine concerns should they arise. These concerns (serious malpractice or corruption), by their very nature, will be outside the day to day scope of management and, in the public interest, must be investigated. 1.3 Such concerns do not relate to unacceptable behaviour or issues of personal grievance, nor the handling of the disciplinary process with regard to employees or students, but relate to such issues as bribery, fraud, maladministration, unethical activities or acts of a criminal nature or Safeguarding matters. A list of more detailed examples of issues which would fall within the remit of this policy is given in Appendix 1. However, this list should not be viewed as exhaustive. 1.4 Employees are often the first to realise that there may be something seriously wrong within the College. However, they may not be prepared to express their concerns because they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the College. They may also fear harassment or victimisation. In these circumstances, it may be easier for them to ignore their concern rather than report what may be a genuine suspicion of malpractice, fraud, corruption or some other form of dishonesty. 1.5 In line with that commitment, employees and others with serious concerns about any aspect of the College's work are encouraged to come forward and voice those concerns. It is recognised that certain cases will have to proceed on a confidential basis. This policy document makes it clear that staff can do so without fear of reprisals. This Whistleblowing Policy is intended to encourage and enable staff to raise serious concerns within the College and employees are assured that such concerns, which are raised lawfully, in good faith, without malice and in the public interest, will be investigated. 2. Definition of Malpractice or Corruption (See also Appendix 1) This policy is not intended to provide a means for employees to express any general dissatisfaction with their employment as there are already in place procedures to enable employees to lodge a grievance relating to his/her own employment. It is, however, intended to provide a way by which serious malpractice or corruption may be reported by an employee in confidence and without fear or reprisal. The College defines malpractice and corruption as follows: (i) Malpractice serious professional misconduct/ impropriety; financial misconduct/ irregularities; breach of confidentiality, as outlined in the Contract of Employment. Page 3

4 (ii) Bribery: (a) Giving a Bribe: Offering, promising or giving a financial, or otherwise, advantage to another person. The advantage must be intended to bring about improper performance or reward thereof; (b) Receiving a Bribe: Requesting, agreeing to or receiving an advantage. (c) The advantage must be linked to an intended improper performance or reward; (d) Bribe a foreign public official: Offering, promising or giving bribes directly/indirectly to a foreign public official to gain an advantage. Must be intent to influence the official to gain an advantage; (e) Negligently fail to prevent a bribe: Applicable to Corporations or Partnerships participating in business in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, including public officials. A person performing services for the company bribes another person in connection with the business and those responsible for preventing bribery, negligently fail to do so. 3. Aims and Scope of this Policy 3.1 This policy aims to: (a) provide avenues for employees to raise concerns and receive feedback on any action taken; (b) allow an employee to take the matter further if he/she is dissatisfied with the College's response; and (c) reassure an employee that he/she will be protected from reprisals or victimisation for whistleblowing in good faith. 3.2 This policy is not intended to replace the College's Grievance Procedure which should still be used where an employee has a grievance or complaint relating to his or her employment. 3.3 All matters raised under this policy will be treated in the strictest confidence. 4. Whistleblowing & Grievance 4.1 The term "Whistleblowing" is most commonly used to refer to a situation whereby an employee (or ex-employee) publicly discloses what he or she perceives as wrong doing within an organisation. 4.2 Grievance, on the other hand, generally relates to such matters as Conditions of Service of individuals or groups of staff; or disputes with other individuals, and is dealt with under the College's Grievance Procedures. 5. Whistleblowing & Safeguarding You should also be aware that any disclosures relating to the Safeguarding of Children or Vulnerable Adults need to be made immediately to one of the team of staff identified within the College for such a purpose, or made directly to the Police or Social Services, under the College Safeguarding procedures. A member of staff making such a disclosure in good faith would be entitled to the same assurance relating to protection as s/he would under this Procedure. Page 4

5 6. The Procedure 6.1 Where an employee is suspicious about malpractice or corruption as defined above, wherever possible, he/she should raise this in the first instance with his/ her line manager and make it clear that he/she considers this to be potentially a protected disclosure. If the line manager feels that the complaint comes within the categories of malpractice or corruption as defined in this policy, he/she will then refer the matter to the Director of Human Resources. 6.2 If there is a substantive reason why the employee cannot raise the matter with his/her line manager e.g. if the concern is about the line manager, the employee should request a meeting with the Director of Human Resources. If the complaint is against the Director of Human Resources, as well as the line manager, the matter should be referred to a Senior Post Holder. 6.3 An employee need not put anything in writing at this stage but the details of the concerns will be recorded by the line manager but will not include a record of the employee's name if so requested. If an employee feels uneasy about raising such concerns then he/she may take along someone they trust to any meeting arranged to hear their concerns. 6.4 The Director of Human Resources will be able to advise the line manager (or employee direct, where appropriate) whether the concerns come within the scope of these procedures or whether they should be dealt with by the College Grievance Procedures. If the latter is the case the employee will be referred to the Grievance Procedure. 6.5 Normally, within five working days of the employee's initial meeting with the line manager (Director of Human Resources) he/she will receive a copy of the record of the meeting. 6.6 Where the concerns involve the Director of Human Resources the initial point of contact should be with a Senior Post Holder (See paragraph 10). 6.7 Where the concerns involve the Chief Executive Officer the initial point of contact should be with the Clerk to the Corporation Board or, if that is deemed to be difficult, to the Chair of the Corporation Board direct. 6.8 In such circumstances, a copy of the record will be forwarded to the Clerk to the Corporation Board and/or the Chair of the Corporation Board as appropriate. In all other instances the record will be copied to the Chief Executive Officer. 6.9 Where the concerns involve a member of the Senior Management Team (including the Senior Post Holders), a copy of the record will be forwarded to the Chair of the Corporation as well as to the Chief Executive Officer If the concerns come within the scope of these procedures, the Director of Human Resources will arrange through the Clerk for a meeting of a committee of the Board entitled, HR, Finance and Estates Committee to consider the matter. This meeting will normally be held within 10 working days of the initial meeting The HR, Finance and Estates Committee will meet and consider how the matter should be investigated and whether or not the police or other relevant authorities should be involved. The College may take legal advice at this stage The HR, Finance and Estates Committee will nominate a senior manager of the College to investigate the allegation(s). This will be a Senior Post Holder or Director/Head who has no direct involvement in the matter in question The nominated manager will report his/her findings to the HR, Finance and Estates Committee which will then decide what action (if any) should be taken. Action could include the instigation of the College's Disciplinary procedures. Page 5

6 6.14 The HR, Finance and Estates Committee will report on any such concerns/ complaints received and action to be taken to the Board of Governors The Director of Human Resources will write to the individual who raised the matter and inform him/her of the outcome normally within twenty working days Where the concerns are about a member of the Board or indeed the Board of Governors itself, then the individual may express his/ her concerns in writing to the Welsh Government, the details of which appear in Appendix Unfounded Accusations Abuse of this policy by employees making unfounded or malicious allegations will be regarded as a serious offence. Employees making false accusations will be subject to disciplinary action (up to and including dismissal). This policy does not in any way prevent an employee or Board member seeking redress at law against anyone making false allegations against him/ her. 8. Victimisation It will be a disciplinary offence to victimise or otherwise discriminate against a member of staff who has raised a genuine concern in good faith under the terms of this policy, whether or not the complaint is proven. 9. Related Policies/Procedures/Codes: Anti-Fraud Policy Anti Bribery Policy Code of Conduct (Staff and Governors) Complaints Policy* (See Note 1 at bottom of page 8 for contact details of the person who manages complaints at Coleg Cambria) Disciplinary Procedure Financial Regulations Grievance Procedure Safeguarding Policy 10. Senior Post Holders Mr David Jones OBE, Chief Executive Officer Mr Steve Jackson, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mrs Sue Price:, Principal Page 6

7 EXAMPLES OF MALPRACTICE APPENDIX 1 1. GENERAL These may include situations where: * a member of staff persistently departs from the established procedures contained in any of the College's policies or procedures; * a member of staff is required to act in any way which: (a) is illegal, improper or unethical (b) is in breach of constitutional convention or a relevant professional code (c) is otherwise inconsistent with the College's policies and procedures; * there is a failure to respond to an identified, serious threat to health and safety; * there is an offer or acceptance of any inducement or bribe intended to influence a decision, policy, plan or purchasing arrangement. 2. STAFF STUDENT These may include situations where: * a member of staff assisting a student to gain prior knowledge of external or internal examinations: (a) by making the contents known to students, or (b) by making opportunities for students to discover prior knowledge, or (c) by letting students take advantage of an unforeseen opportunity to discover that prior knowledge: * a member of staff solicits or accepts an inducement from a student in return for the award of higher results or grades in coursework, assignments, and examinations to the student. This could be monetary, in kind or sexual. 3. STAFF EMPLOYER These situations may include where: * a member of staff takes advantage of his/ her position and/ or access to information in order to enable himself/ herself to compete with the employer for clients or to compete in the future with the employer for clients: * a member of staff gains an undisclosed profit from: (a) performance of services for which remuneration, fees, emoluments, salary, wages or other payment has already been made by the employer; (b) the securing of a contract of any kind on behalf of the College, whether securing of contracts is part (c) of the member of staff's normal duties or not; the submission of false invoices, orders, bills and the like, either to the College's own Finance Department or an external supplier of goods or services; * a member of staff persistently, without management permission, uses College property for his/ her own private concerns; * a member of staff, by any means, threatens or appears to threaten the independence of a governor or governors. 4. EMPLOYER STAFF These may include situations where: * a member of staff, with line management responsibility, persistently overlooks or fails to deal appropriately with breaches of College procedures, policies and/ or code of ethics by other members of staff: * a member of staff with line management responsibility or timetabling responsibility persistently, without justification, adopts a pattern of conduct towards another member of staff, where that pattern departs from existing College procedures, policies or schemes with respect to any of the matters contained in the following non-exhaustive list: (a) arranging for staff training or development or for particular staff training or development; (b) reducing allocated workloads; (c) the allocation to or away from particular duties selected by the member of staff; (d) the provision of resources and (e) other similar matters. * a member of the College management team persistently fails adequately to respond to legitimate concerns raised by employees in good faith by failing to adhere to the procedures laid down in the College Grievance Procedures. Page 7

8 APPENDIX 2 Contact Addresses Director of Human Resources Ms Julie Davies Coleg Cambria Deeside CH5 4BR Governance officer and Clerk to the Corporation Miss Bethan Lloyd Jones Coleg Cambria Grove Park Road Wrexham LL12 7AB Chair of the Board of Governors Mr John Clutton c/o Coleg Cambria Grove Park Road Wrexham LL12 7AB Welsh Government Senior Auditor Ty'r Afon Bedwas Road Bedwas Caerphilly CH83 8WT Public Concern at Work A registered charity that provides further direction, support and guidance in relation to whistleblowing *Note 1: Complaints at College Cambria are managed by Mrs Donna Pritchard Administration and Customer Service Manager Grove Park Road Wrexham LL12 7AB Page 8

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