All employees at one time or another have concerns about what is happening at work, and usually these concerns are easily resolved.  However, when an employee has concerns about serious malpractice like fraud or financial irregularities, corruption, bribery, dishonesty, acting contrary to staff codes of conduct, or creating or ignoring a serious risk to health, to safety, and to the environment then it is important that the employee is able to raise such concerns without fear of reprisal.   

In circumstances where an employee has such a concern, he or she should raise it first with their Line Manager either verbally or in writing.  If the employee feels that the Line Manager is not able to deal with this issue correctly, he or she may raise the matter with the HR Department who will arrange to meet with the employee on a confidential basis. 

Once the concern has been raised, it is important that the matter is properly investigated. Care should be taken to ensure that the employee is informed of the outcome of the investigation.  If the investigation shows that the issue raised can be resolved quickly, or in a straightforward manner then it will be brought to the attention of the appropriate manager.  A decision will then be made as to whether the complaint has substance and whether the Organisation’s Disciplinary Procedures require to be invoked, or whether more formal investigation procedures are necessary by internal audit or the police. 

In circumstances where a concern raised requires more detailed consideration, either because of the complexity of the concern, or the possibility of other proceedings, the Organisation will normally conduct an investigation under the direction of the HR Department.  

All concerns raises under this procedure will be treated with care and sensitivity and to ensure that where the employee has requested that his or her details are kept confidential that this is adhered to. Should it prove to be not possible to keep an employee’s details confidential (e.g. if asked to give evidence) then the employee will be informed and given every opportunity to discuss the matter prior to taking any action. It is important to be clear that the earlier a matter is brought to management’s attention the easier it is to deal with. When raising a concern, the employee must declare any personal interest he or she may have in this matter. Failure to do so may lead to the investigation being compromised. 

The Organisation does not tolerate harassment or victimisation in any form where someone has raised a concern under this procedure. If an employee chooses to use this procedure, he or she may, should this be helpful to the employee in raising the concern, be accompanied by another employee or a Trade Union official. The person accompanying the concerned employee will be in attendance in a supporting role, but is not allowed to take part in any part of the investigatory procedure. The accompanying person will be required to ensure that he or she treats any information gained during the investigatory process as strictly confidential. 

The manager in charge of the investigation is required to register the nature of the concern with the CEO (or if the CEO is implicated), the Chair of the Trustee Board, and record the outcome.  The purpose of this is to ensure that a central record is kept, and which can be cross-referenced with other complaints in order to monitor patterns or concern across the Organisation and to assist the Organisation to monitor procedures. 

Any action taken to resolve a concern raised by an employee will be notified to him or her. In some instances it may not be possible to reveal the full extent of the investigation where this relates to personal issues involving a third party. 

Employees must not disclose any concern raised within this procedure other than described herein. Nor are they permitted to publicise their concerns, or abuse the process by maliciously raising unfounded allegations. These procedures have been designed to ensure that there is no need to raise concerns anonymously and may do without fear of victimisation or harassment. Employees should be absolutely clear that the Organisation fully prefers that a concern is raised in a responsible manner rather than not at all.