Policy on Information disclosure (whistle blowing)
1.1 King’s Talent Bank is committed to high standards of openness, probity and accountability. It seeks to conduct its affairs in a responsible manner.
1.2 The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 introduced legal protection to ‘workers against being dismissed or penalised as a result of disclosing to their employers certain serious concerns. Where an individual discovers information which they believe raises serious concerns of the type outlined in paragraph 2, this information should be disclosed without fear of reprisal, and may be made independently of line management.
1.3 The Act applies only to ‘workers’ (staff and those who contract personally to provide services to King’s Talent Bank).
2. Scope of the policy
2.1. The objective of the policy is to ensure that where a worker becomes aware of information covered by the policy and wishes to voice her/his concern about it, King’s Talent Bank has a proper internal mechanism for reporting and dealing with the matter, safeguarding the interests of both the individual making the disclosure and King’s Talent Bank.
2.2. This policy is intended to cover concerns of a serious nature and which may (at least initially) be investigated through this policy, but which may lead to other procedures (e.g. disciplinary procedures) being invoked.
2.3. Matters which can be raised under this policy that could potentially be considered as a protected disclosure are but not limited to:
2.3.2. failure to comply with a legal obligation;
2.3.3. health and safety;
2.3.4. damage to the environment;
2.3.5. research misconduct;
2.3.6. criminal activity &;
2.3.7. deliberate concealment of any of the above.
3.1.1 This policy is designed to offer protection to those workers who disclose such concerns, provided that in the reasonablebelief of the person making the disclosure:a) the disclosure is made in the public interest andb) it tends to show conduct of a kind referred to in paragraph 2.3 above.
3.1.2 The individual making the disclosure as set out in paragraph 3.1.1 above will beprotected from disciplinary or other action for making the disclosure if theymake the disclosure to a designated person (see paragraph 4 below). King’s Talent Bank is forbidden from penalising or dismissing a worker formaking such a protected disclosure. Workers are also protected againstvictimisation and harassment by their colleagues for making a protecteddisclosure.
3.1.3 Any detrimental action of any kind by any member of King’s Talent Bank against a person for making a protected disclosure may result in disciplinary action up toand including dismissal without notice (in the case of workers) and equivalentaction in the case of other members.
3.1.4 Allegations which are untrue and malicious or vexatious by any member of King’s Talent Bank may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal withoutnotice.
3.1.5 There is no guidance in the legislation about what is meant by “made in the public interest”. However, workers and other members of King’s Talent Bank should beaware that a disclosure will not necessarily be made in the public interestmerely because it conveys information which is or may be of interest to thepublic. King’s Talent Bank’s view is that, for the disclosure to be protected, there mustbe a reasonable belief by the person making it that it is made for the publicgood or in the interests of society.
3.2.1King’s Talent Bank shall treat all such protected disclosures in a sensitive manner.The identity of the individual making the protected disclosure shall, if requestedby that individual, be kept confidential so long as it does not hinder or frustrateany investigation. The identity of the person making the protected disclosurewill be revealed to any persons in respect of whom a disclosure is made at anappropriate point, if King’s Talent Bank considers it necessary to do so in the interests of fairness. King’s Talent Bank will not consider anonymous disclosures.
3.3 Unsubstantiated allegations
3.3.1 An individual who makes a disclosure with the requisite reasonable belief that itis made in the public interest, which is either dismissed by the designatedperson (see below), or not confirmed by subsequent investigation, shall nothave disciplinary or any other action taken against them for reason of making adisclosure. It should be noted that there is unlikely to be legal protection fromthird parties for allegations which are defamatory.
4. Procedures for making a disclosure
4.1 These procedures are not intended to supersede or take the place of anyexisting general or specific procedures for making ‘complaints’,nor may they be used to reconsider any matters which have already beenaddressed under any other King’s Talent Bank procedure. Furthermore, matters which arecurrently or prospectively being considered under another King’s Talent Bank procedure, orwhich would be more appropriately raised under another procedure, will not beconsidered under these procedures; nor shall these procedures be used formatters where there is a right to appeal or complain to an external agency, suchas the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
4.2 The Director(s) of King’s Talent Bankmay delegate any function assigned tothem under these procedures to another member of KTB, provided thatperson is not the subject of the disclosure.
4.2 Stage one: making a disclosure
4.2.1 A worker (as defined in paragraph 1.3 above) may make a disclosure to the
4.2.2 The ‘designated person’ shall be aDirector of King’s Talent Bank.
4.2.3 Where the disclosure is about the ‘designated person’ or about a matter inwhich the ‘designated person’ is personally involved then the disclosure may bemade to another member of King’s Talent Bank for the purposes ofthe following sections.
4.3 Stage two: consideration by the designated person
4.3.1 The designated person shall consider the information made available torthem. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the disclosure the personmay:
a) decide not to proceed with the matter;
b) authorise an internal investigation under this procedure; or
c) refer the matter to be dealt with under a different King’s Talent Bankprocedure;
d) refer the matter to the police or other appropriate authority.
4.3.2 Where a disclosure is made in relation to an individual or individuals, thedesignated person shall determine, at their discretion, whether it is necessary toinform the individual(s) of the disclosure and the evidence supporting it in orderto determine how to proceed under paragraph 4.3.1. This shall be done by thedesignated person as soon as is practicable after receiving the disclosure.
4.3.3 A decision on how to proceed under paragraph 4.3.1 shall normally be madewithin four weeks of the disclosure being made. If the decision is likely to takelonger, the designated person shall inform in writing both the person making thedisclosure and, as appropriate, any person who may be the subject of thedisclosure of the reasons for the delay.
4.3.4 The designated person shall inform in writing both the person who made the disclosure and, as appropriate, any person who is the subject of the disclosureof theoverall decision and the reasons for their decision.
4.4 Stage three: investigation
4.4.1 An initial investigation to assist the designated person to decide how to proceedmay be conducted by a person or persons nominated by the designated personto carry out such an investigation; the person should be consideredsuitably qualified by the designated person to conduct such an investigation but may not include any person who may have to reach a decision on the matterat a later stage.
4.4.2 The person or persons so nominated shall report their findings to the designatedperson, as soon as practicable from the date when the disclosure was made. If the investigation is likely to be protracted, the designated person shall inform inwriting both the person making the disclosure and any person who may be thesubject of the disclosure of the reasons for the delay.
4.4.3 Where in the conduct of the investigation the person who made the disclosure isinvited to give evidence, make representations or otherwise communicate withthe investigator or investigators, they shall be given the opportunity to beaccompanied by their trade union official or a work colleague (in the case of aworker).
4.4.4 Where the disclosure relates to the conduct of an individual, they shall normallybe given an opportunity to make representations to the person or personsconducting the investigation referred to in paragraph 4.4.1 above, and to berepresented by their trade union official or work colleague.
4.5 Stage four: decision by the designated person
4.5.1 On receipt of the report of the investigation referred to in paragraph 4.4.2 above,the designated person shall decide what action should be taken. Depending onthe nature and circumstances of the disclosure, and the substance of the reportby the investigator or investigators, the designated person may:
a) decide not to proceed with the matter;
b) refer the matter to be dealt with under a different procedure; or
c) refer the matter to the police or other appropriate authority.
4.5.2 The designated person shall inform in
writing the person making the disclosure of the decision and the reasons for
the decision as soon as possible after the
decision has been made. At the same time, if the designated person considersit appropriate to do so, the designated person shall inform in writing any personsto whom the disclosure relates of the decision and the reasons for the decision.
4.6 Determination by the designated person concludes the process under thisprocedure. If evidence not previously available comes to light afterdetermination by the designated person, the individual making the disclosuremay raise it with the designated person. In such cases the designated personwill decide at his or her discretion whether or not to reconsider the positionunder this procedure in light of any such new evidence.
5. Other matters
5.1 Exceptional cases
5.1.1 The Public Interest Disclosure legislation enables workers to make a disclosure to their employer and to others in certain circumstances, including the case of afailure of ‘an exceptionally serious nature’. This term is not defined. But anysuch disclosure is protected only if reasonably believed to be ‘substantially true’,not made for personal gain, and reasonable in all the circumstances, includingwith regard to the identity of the recipient.
5.1.2 The foregoing procedures should make it unnecessary for any member of King’s Talent Bank to contemplate the need to make a disclosure to someone other than adesignated person, even in the case of an exceptionally serious failure, but theydo not, of course, take away any statutory rights which might otherwise beavailable.
5.2 Contractual duties of confidentiality
5.2.1 Any term of a worker’s contract is void in so far as it purports to preclude the Public Interest Disclosure legislation.
5.2.2 This Code does not abrogate or diminish existing contractual or statutory rightsof members of King’s Talent Bank to disclose information.