Whistle Blowing Policy

Purpose

 

New Direction is committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with this commitment, the school encourages employees with serious concerns about the school’s work to come forward and voice those concerns. This also applies to concerns about the activities of staff, the School Supervisory Body and external organisations in their dealings with the school.

This Policy:

provides the basis on which employees can raise any such concerns they may have, and receive feedback on action taken

allows employees to take the matter further if they are dissatisfied with the School’s response

gives protection from reprisals or victimisation for ‘whistle blowing’ in good faith

The Policy

There are existing procedures in place to enable employees to raise grievances about their own employment. This policy is intended to cover concerns that fall outside the scope of individual grievances. The concern may be about something that:

is unlawful

is against the School’s policies

amounts to improper conduct

seems likely to harm somebody or the environment

represents a cover-up of these sorts of issues

This policy applies to all employees.

Safeguards

Harassment or Victimisation

The Proprietor recognises that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make, not least because of the fear of reprisals from those responsible for the malpractice. The school will not tolerate harassment or victimisation and will take all possible measures to protect employees who raise concerns in good faith.

Confidentiality

The School will protect the identity of employees who raise concerns and do not want their name to be disclosed. It must be appreciated, however, that the investigation may reveal the source of the information, and statements made by the employees who raised the issue may be required as part of the evidence. The School encourages employees to put their name to allegations made. Concerns expressed anonymously are much less powerful, but they will be considered at the discretion of the school. In exercising this discretion, the factors to be taken account of will include:

the seriousness of the issue raised

the credibility of the concern

the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources

untrue allegations

If an allegation is made in good faith, but is not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against the employee. However, if employees make allegations that are malicious or vexatious, disciplinary action against them is likely.

How To Raise A Concern

The earlier employees express their concern the easier it is to take action. As a first step an employee should normally raise concerns with the Principal or CEO. This depends, however, on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is thought to be involved in the malpractice. Employee’s who feel that they cannot approach management in the school should approach a member of the School Supervisory Body.

Concerns are better raised in writing. This should set out the background and history of the concern, giving names, dates and places where possible, and the reason why the employee is concerned about the situation. An employee who does not feel able to put their concerns in writing can telephone or meet the appropriate officer.

Employees may invite their trade union or professional association to raise the matter in conjunction with them.

How Will The School Respond?

The action taken by the School will depend on the nature of the concern. The matters raised may for example:

be investigated internally

be referred to the Police

In order to protect individuals and the School, initial enquiries will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take. Some concerns may be resolved by agreed action without the need for investigation. Within two weeks of a concern being received, the School Supervisory Body, or appropriate member of school staff, will write to the employee who raised the issue:

acknowledging that the concern has been raised

indicating how it proposes to deal with the matter

where possible, giving an estimate of how long it will take to provide a final response

telling the employee whether further investigations will take place and if not, why not

The amount of contact between the investigators considering the issue and the employee who has raised the issue will depend on the nature of the matters raised, the potential difficulties involved and the clarity of the information provided. If necessary, further information will be sought from the employee.

When any meeting is arranged with the employee, they will be given the right to be accompanied by a representative or fellow worker who is not involved in the area of work to which the concern relates.

The School accepts that employees need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Therefore, subject to legal or contractual constraints, employees will receive information about the outcomes of any investigations.

Taking The Issue Further

This policy is intended to provide employees with an avenue to raise relevant concerns within the School. It is hoped that employees will be satisfied with the action taken as a result. If an employee is not satisfied, and feel it is right to take the matter outside the School, the following are possible contact points, some or all of which may be appropriate:

Relevant professional bodies or regulatory organisations

The Local Authority or Council

The Placing Authority or Council

The Police

The charity Public Concern At Work (telephone 020 7404 6609)

If an employee does take the matter outside of the School, they must make sure that they do not disclose otherwise confidential information.

Monitoring

The Proprietor has overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy. She will maintain a record of all concerns raised and their outcomes.

Review

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Proprietor and key staff.

Approval

This policy was approved at a meeting of the Proprietor and key members of staff in September 2016 – Review Date September 2017.