2.1 This policy aims to:
- encourage and enable any person to feel confident in raising serious concerns and to question and act upon concerns
- provide avenues for any person to raise concerns and receive feedback on any action taken
- ensure everyone making a referral receives a response to their concerns
- describe how to take the matter further if dissatisfied with the council’s response
- reassure anyone making a referral that they will be protected from reprisals or victimisation.
2.2 For the avoidance of doubt if you have concerns that any person may be being mistreated / abused you can discuss your concerns in confidence with your manager or those listed on the front cover of this policy.
2.3 There are existing procedures in place to enable employees to lodge a grievance relating to their own employment, customers to complain about the service they receive, and report if councillors have breached the Member Code of Conduct. This policy should not be used for such concerns; however, advice can be obtained from the contacts on the front cover of this policy if you have any doubts.
2.4 The whistleblowing policy is intended to cover concerns that fall outside the scope of the above procedures. A concern may be about:
- sexual, physical or emotional abuse of clients or other individuals
- conduct which is an offence or a breach of law
- disclosures related to miscarriages of justice
- health and safety risks, including risks to the public as well as employees
- damage to the environment
- unauthorised use of public funds
- action that is contrary to the council’s financial procedures or contract regulations
- possible fraud, corruption or financial irregularity
- action that is against the council’s financial regulations and policies
- practice that falls below established standards or practice
- other improper or unethical conduct.
2.5 The concern may be something that makes a person feel uncomfortable in terms of known standards, their experience or the standards to which they believe the council subscribes. If in doubt please contact either a named contact on the front cover of this policy or Protect to have a confidential discussion.
2.6 This policy applies to all employees, councillors, contractors, consultants, and agency workers and other stakeholders who are acting on behalf of, or in partnership with, the council.
2.7 Any disclosure of information that, in the reasonable belief of the worker, is made in the public interest shall be deemed a qualifying disclosure.
2.8 This policy incorporates the provisions that are required from the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.