WHISTLE BLOWING POLICY & PROCEDURE

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1 WHISTLE BLOWING POLICY & PROCEDURE Prepared by Reviewed by Approvals The signatures below certify that this procedure has been reviewed and accepted, and demonstrates that the signatories are aware of all the requirements retained herein and are committed to ensuring their provision. Name Signature Position Date Approved in monthly SMT meeting Existing policy Amendment Record Page No Context Revision Date Chief Executive 1 Revew date: February 2014

2 1. A Policy and Procedure for Strode Park Foundation staff and Volunteers 1.1. All staff and volunteers working with Strode Park Foundation have an important role in helping the organisation to promote good practice while providing a service to the community and protecting its vulnerable clients. It is the people who work in Strode Park Foundation who are most likely to know when something is going wrong, be it abuse of the people who use our services, fraud, poor practice or any other behaviour likely to be detrimental to the good running of the Foundation and the care and support it provides If any staff member or volunteer has a concern that something is not right they should be encouraged to report it. If they are mistaken in what they see or believe to be happening it is important that it is explained and that, where appropriate, steps are taken to prevent the confusion arising again. Well intentioned over reporting of concerns is always preferable to allowing abuse, poor practice or fraud to continue This code of practice explains how concerns can be raised within the Foundation or, if necessary, externally. It should be considered along with the policy on raising complaints and the grievance policy to decide which is the most appropriate Strode Park Foundation accepts the need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Thus, subject to legal constraint, any person raising a concern will be informed of the outcome of any investigation or other action. 2. Definition 2.1. Whistle blowing is when the employee knows, or suspects, that there is some wrongdoing occurring within the organisation and alerts the employer or the relevant authority accordingly Employees who whistle blow are protected by the Public Disclosure Act Duty of Confidentiality 3.1. Whilst the Foundation encourages employees and volunteers to express concerns, everyone has a duty of confidentiality to people who use our services, their families and carers, and other employees. Disclosure of personal information without appropriate authority will be regarded as a serious matter that will always warrant investigation and which may lead to disciplinary action. This applies even when an employee believes that he or she is acting in the best interests by disclosing personal information. 4. Who it applies to 4.1. This policy applies to all Strode Park Foundation employees and all volunteers 5. How to raise concern 5.1. Where a member of staff or a volunteer has a concern that is not appropriate to raise through other procedures, they should be raised with: Chief Executive 2 Revew date: February 2014

3 The line manager, line manager s line manager or the Director of Care Services Or Director of Finance, Director of Human Resources or Chief Executive Or Council of Management Or as a final step an external organisation - such as the Care Quality Commission The decision to raise concerns with the managers listed above will depend on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is thought to be involved in the alleged malpractice. If you believe that management is involved, you can approach any of the following: the Chief Executive, Director of Finance, Director of Human Resources, Council of Management or an external organisation Concerns can be raised confidentially, with the person expressing concern requesting that their identity is withheld during any investigation. However during the investigation the source of the information may be revealed and the individual may be required to provide a statement. 6. How Strode Park Foundation will respond 6.1. Within five working days of a concern being raised the responsible person will: Write to the employee fully to acknowledge their complaint Indicate how they propose to deal with the matter raised Give an estimate of how long it will take to provide a final response 7. Investigating the case 7.1. Each concern should be given serious and appropriate consideration. When, following an allegation, it is believed that an investigation is required an independent and impartial manager should be involved in the investigation If an investigation is not required the manager making that decision will write to the member of staff or volunteer explaining why no investigation will be carried out and what action, if any, will be taken. If the member of staff or volunteer is not happy with that response they can refer the matter to a more senior manager as listed above. 8. The Formal Investigation 8.1. Managers should make sure that the investigation is carried out as quickly and as thoroughly as possible Once an investigation commences, every effort should be made to bring it to an early conclusion. Chief Executive 3 Revew date: February 2014

4 8.3. To conduct an investigation under the whistle blowing policy, follow the same process as the disciplinary code of practice The amount of contact between the officers considering the issues and the person raising the issue will depend on the nature of the matters raised, the potential difficulties involved and the clarity of the information provided. 9. The responsible officer 9.1. The Chief Executive has overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy. The Chief Executive maintains a record of concerns raised and the outcomes (but in a form which does not endanger the confidentiality of the person raising the concern) and will report as necessary to the Council of Management. 10. How the matter can be taken further An employee should always, in the first instance, talk to a manager in the organisation about a potential wrongdoing. If the employee is not satisfied with the response, he or she is entitled to contact a relevant external body to express the concerns. In doing this the employee should: have a reasonable belief that the allegation is based on correct facts not be making any personal gain from the revelations make the disclosure to a relevant body A relevant body is likely to be a regulatory body (e.g. the Health and Safety Executive, Ofsted or CQC). 11. Contacting the media The media is not a relevant external body. Employees should not contact the media with allegations about the organisation. 12. Support and Protection for Whistleblowers Strode Park Foundation will seek to protect an individual s identity when they raise a concern and do not want their name to be disclosed. However during the investigation the source of the information may be revealed and the individual may be required to provide a statement The policy encourages individuals to put their name to any allegations. However, it is understood that some people may wish to remain anonymous. Concerns expressed in this way are much less powerful, but will be considered, at the discretion of Strode Park Foundation In exercising this discretion the factors to be taken into account would include the seriousness of the issues raised, and the credibility of the concern Strode Park Foundation will take steps to minimise any difficulties which may be experienced as a result of raising a concern. For instance if there is a requirement to Chief Executive 4 Revew date: February 2014

5 give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings, Strode Park Foundation will arrange for advice about the procedure Strode Park Foundation accepts that individuals need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Thus, subject to legal constraints, Strode Park Foundation will inform individuals of the outcomes of any investigation. 13. Untrue Allegations If you make an allegation which you think genuine, but is not proven, no action will be taken against you. If however you maliciously raise an unfounded concern, then disciplinary action may be taken against you. 14. Victimisation and Protection against detriment Any employee who takes action under the Public Disclosure Act 1998 will be protected from any detriment in relation to any allegations that are made If the employee does not follow the procedure set out, which encompasses the requirements of the Public Disclosure Act 1998, the protection against detriment will not apply. Disclosing information in an inappropriate way (eg contacting the media) could result in disciplinary action being taken against the employee, which could include dismissal Strode Park Foundation will not tolerate harassment or victimisation and will take action to protect you when you raise a concern in good faith If you do receive reprisal from those responsible for the malpractice or any other member of staff, they may be disciplined under Strode Park Foundation procedures. 15. Concerns raised by visitors, bank staff and staff working for other organisation These arrangements will be extended with appropriate variations, to anyone raising a concern which is not a complaint about how they or any friend or relative are being cared for. Chief Executive 5 Revew date: February 2014

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