It is important that any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing by volunteers/staff or others working on behalf of the AREBT is reported and properly dealt with. We therefore require all individuals to raise any concerns that they may have about the conduct of others in the organisation or the way in which AREBT is run. This policy sets out the way in which individuals may raise any concerns that they have and how those concerns will be dealt with.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 amended the Employment Rights Act 1996 to provide protection for workers who raise legitimate concerns about specified matters in the public interest. These are called ‘qualifying disclosures’. A qualifying disclosure is one made by an employee who has a reasonable belief that:
- a criminal offence
- a miscarriage of justice
- an act creating risk to health and safety
- an act causing damage to the environment
- a breach of any other legal obligation
- or concealment of any of the above.
is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed. It is not necessary for you to have proof that such an act is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed – a reasonable belief is sufficient. You have no responsibility for investigating the matter – it is the organisation’s responsibility to ensure that an investigation takes place.
If you make a protected disclosure, you have the right not to be dismissed, subjected to any other detriment, or victimised, because you have made a disclosure. We encourage you to raise your concerns under this procedure in the first instance.
- Everyone should be aware of the importance of preventing and eliminating wrongdoing at work. Staff/volunteers and others working on behalf of the charity should be watchful for illegal or unethical conduct and report anything of that nature that they become aware of.
- Any matter raised under this procedure will be investigated thoroughly, promptly and confidentially, and the outcome of the investigation reported back to the person who raised the issue.
- No employee or other person working on behalf of the charity will be victimised for raising a matter under this procedure. This means that the continued employment and opportunities for future promotion or training of the worker will not be prejudiced because they have raised a legitimate concern.
- Victimisation of an individual for raising a qualified disclosure will be a disciplinary offence.
- If misconduct is discovered as a result of any investigation under this procedure our disciplinary procedure will be used, in addition to any appropriate external measures.
- Maliciously making a false allegation is a disciplinary offence.
- An instruction to cover up wrongdoing is itself a disciplinary offence. If told not to raise or pursue any concern, even by a person in authority such as a manager, you should not agree to remain silent. You should report the matter to the chief executive or the chair of the board of trustees.
This procedure is for disclosures about matters other than a breach of your own contract of employment. Matters relating to your contract of employment, should be raised via the grievance procedure.
Stage 1: In the first instance, any concerns should be raised with the Chair or Co-Chair of AREBT who will arrange an investigation of the matter. The investigation may involve you and other individuals involved giving a written statement. Any investigation will be carried out in accordance with the principles set out above.
Your statement will be taken into account, and you will be asked to comment on any additional evidence obtained. The Chair or Co-Chair will take any necessary action, including reporting the matter to the rest of the AREBT Board and any appropriate government department or regulatory agency. The Chair or Co-Chair will also invoke any disciplinary action required. On conclusion of any investigation, you will be told the outcome and what the charity has done, or proposes to do, about it. If no action is to be taken, the reason for this will be explained
Stage 2: You should escalate the matter to the Standards Officer if you are concerned that the Chair or Co-Chair:
- is involved in the wrongdoing
- has failed to make a proper investigation
- or has failed to report the outcome of the investigations to the relevant person.
The Standards Officer will arrange for a review of the investigation to be carried out, make any necessary enquiries and make their own report to the AREBT Board.
Stage 3: If on conclusion of stages 1 and 2 you reasonably believe that the appropriate action has not been taken, you should report the matter to the relevant body. This includes:
- HM Revenue & Customs
- The Health and Safety Executive
- The Environment Agency
- The Serious Fraud Office
- The Charity Commission
- The Pensions Regulator
- The Information Commissioner
- The Financial Conduct Authority
- The Competition and Markets Authority
- The Independent Office for Police Conduct
You can find the full list in The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 (PDF).
When an individual makes a disclosure, we will process any personal data collected in accordance with the data protection policy. Data collected from the point at which the individual makes the report is held securely and accessed by, and disclosed to, individuals only for the purposes of dealing with the disclosure.