This policy was last updated on Monday 24th July 2023
The Whistleblowing Procedure sets out the framework for dealing with allegations of illegal and improper conduct.
Emelda Grace is committed to the highest standards of transparency, probity, integrity and accountability.
This procedure is intended to provide a means of making serious allegations about standards, conduct, financial irregularity or possible unlawful action in a way that will ensure confidentiality and protect those making such allegations in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from being victimised, discriminated against or disadvantaged.
This procedure does not replace other policies and procedures such as the complaints procedure, the Grievance and Harassment and Bullying Policies and other specifically laid down statutory reporting procedures.
This procedure is intended to ensure that Emelda Grace complies with its duty under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
This procedure applies to all Emelda Grace employees, including associates and contractors.
This procedure does not replace other Emelda Grace policies or procedures. If an employee has a concern about the conduct of a fellow employee in the working environment (e.g. that they are not treating colleagues with respect) they should raise these with their line manager, or if that is not possible, with the company Director or through the Charity Commission’s whistle blowing policy firstname.lastname@example.org
This procedure applies to, but is not limited to, allegations about any of the following:
Conduct which is an offence or breach of the law
Alleged miscarriage of justice
Serious Health and Safety risks
The unauthorised use of public funds
Possible fraud and corruption
Sexual, physical or verbal abuse, or bullying or intimidation of employees, customers or service users
Abuse of authority
Other unethical conduct
Contact Details for Reporting: (in writing)
The Blighty Furniture Company Limited
Unit 2 1622 Bristol Road South
Emelda Grace will take appropriate action to protect a whistleblower who makes a serious allegation in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from any reprisals, harassment or victimisation.
All allegations will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal a whistleblower’s identity unless the whistleblower otherwise requests. However, if the matter is subsequently dealt with through other Emelda Grace procedures such as the Disciplinary Procedure. Similarly, if the allegation results in court proceedings then the whistleblower may have to give evidence in open court if the case is to be successful.
Emelda Grace will not, without the whistleblower’s consent, disclose the identity of a whistleblower to anyone other than a person involved in the investigation/allegation.
This procedure encourages whistleblowers to put their name to an allegation wherever possible as anonymous allegations may often be difficult to substantiate/prove. Allegations made anonymously are much less powerful but anonymous allegations will be considered at the discretion of the company Director(s).
In exercising discretion to accept an anonymous allegation the factors to be taken into account:
The seriousness of the issue raised
The credibility of the allegation; and
- Whether the allegation can realistically be investigated from factors or sources other than the complainant
No disciplinary or other action will be taken against a whistleblower who makes an allegation in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so even if the allegation is not substantiated by an investigation. However, disciplinary action may be taken against a whistleblower who makes an allegation without reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so (e.g. making an allegation frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain where there is no element of public interest).
Procedure for Making an Allegation
It is preferable for allegations to be made to an employee’s immediate manager to whom they report. However, this may depend on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is suspected of the malpractice. For example, if the whistleblower believes that management is involved it would be inappropriate to raise it directly with them. The whistleblower may then make an allegation direct to any of the following:
If either of the above receive an allegation he/she will consider the allegation and may discuss with other Directors and Shareholders. The line manager (or any) of the above, after consideration, will discuss with the whistleblower and if they wish to proceed with the allegation will be investigated.
Whether a written or oral report is made it is important that relevant information is provided including:
The name of the person making the allegation and a contact point.
The background and history of the allegation (giving relevant dates and names and positions of those who may be in a position to have contributed to the allegation);
The specific reason for the allegation. Although someone making an allegation will not be expected to prove the truth of any allegations, they will need to provide information to the person they have reported to, to establish that that there are reasonable grounds for the allegation.
Someone making an allegation may be accompanied by another person of their choosing during any meetings or interviews in connection with the allegation. However, if the matter is subsequently dealt with through another procedure the right to be accompanied will at that stage be in accordance with the relevant procedure.
Action on receipt of an Allegation
The line manager, Director, Shareholder or Consultant will record details of the allegation gathering as much information as possible, (within 5 working days of receipt of the allegation) including:
The record of the allegation
The acknowledgement of the allegation
Any documents supplied by the whistleblower
The investigator will ask the whistleblower for their preferred means of communication and contact details and use these for all communications with the whistleblower in order to preserve confidentiality.
If the allegation relates to fraud, potential fraud or other financial irregularity the Treasurer will be informed within 5 working days of receipt of the allegation. The Treasurer will determine whether the allegation should be investigated and the method of investigation.
If the allegation discloses evidence of a criminal offence it will immediately be reported to the company Director and Shareholders and a decision will be made as to whether to inform the Police.
If the allegation concerns suspected harm to children the appropriate authorities will be informed immediately.
If the issue is around suspected harm to vulnerable adults, the Vulnerable Adults policy, the Mental Capacity Act Policy and the Deprivation of Liberty and Safeguarding Policies should be referred to.
- An acknowledge the allegation in writing within10 working days with
- An indication of how Emelda Grace propose to deal with the matter
- An estimate of how long it will take to provide a final response
- An indication of whether any initial enquiries have been made
- Information on whistleblower support mechanisms
- Indication whether further investigations will take place and if not, why not
Where the allegation has been made internally and anonymously, obviously Emelda Grace will be unable to communicate what action has been taken.
Emelda Grace will take steps to minimise any difficulties which may be experienced as a result of making an allegation. For instance, if a whistleblower is required to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings Emelda Grace will arrange for them to receive advice about the procedure and advise on the support mechanisms that are available.
Emelda Grace accepts that whistleblowers need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Thus, subject to legal constraints, we will inform those making allegations of the outcome of any investigation.
Responsibility for the Procedure
The company Director(s) and Shareholders have overall responsibility for the operation of this Procedure and for determining the administrative processes to be followed and the format of the records to be kept.
A Register will record the following details:
The name and status (e.g. employee) of the whistleblower
The date on which the allegation was received
The nature of the allegation
Details of the person who received the allegation
Whether the allegation is to be investigated and, if yes, by whom
The outcome of the investigation
Any other relevant details
The Register will be confidential and only available for inspection by company Directors and Shareholders.
The Managing Director will report annually to the Board on the operation of the Procedure and on the whistleblowing allegations made during the period covered by the report. The report will be in a form which does not identify whistleblowers.
Emelda Grace | Document Title: Whistleblowing Policy. Author: Paul Grassick. Last Review: 24/07/2023. Next Review: 23/07/2024