Whistleblowing

1. INTRODUCTION
Socializing Buddies is committed to achieving the highest possible standards of quality, openness and accountability in all of its practices. To achieve these aims Socialising Buddies welcomes staff raising their concerns about health care, safety, malpractice, fraud or damage to the environment. Socialising Buddies also encourages its staff to use internal policies and procedures to report any illegal acts or omissions by employees or ex-employees.
As professionals employees have a responsibility to raise concerns under their own professional code of practice in accordance with the terms of their contract of employment or voluntary agreement. Failure to do so may be a breach of that code. It is recognised that employees may need to raise concerns in a confidential basis and this procedure aims to facilitate this, so that staff can do so without fear of reprisal or victimisation.
It is preferable that employees raise concerns at an early stage rather than wait for proof so that any harm or damage can be minimised.
Where employees have a personal issue they should raise this under either the Grievance Procedure or Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure as appropriate. If employees are not sure which policy to use, they should contact their manager for advice.

2. SCOPE OF THE POLICY
This policy applies to all employees & volunteers of Socialising Buddies as well as agency staff, contractors and self- employed workers. This policy incorporates the Whistle Blowing Policy issued by the local counter fraud service.

3. EQUALITY & DIVERSITY STATEMENT
It is the policy of Socialising Buddies to provide a Raising Concerns Policy & Procedure that ensures appropriate and equitable responses to concerns raised by employees in an efficient and fair manner. This document takes into account current employment legislation and must be implemented in conjunction with LGS Equalities Framework, Socialising Buddies Equal Opportunities Policy and Procedure and equality and diversity legislation:
• Equality Act 2010
• Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
• Employment Rights Act 1996
• Equal Pay Act 1970 (as amended)
• Human Rights Act 1998
• Part-time Workers Directive 1999
• Employment Act 2008
• EU Directives and Legislation 
Managers have a particular responsibility to ensure their management practices do not discriminate in the provision of their service or in the employment of staff.

4. LEGAL CONTEXT
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 came into force on 2 July 1999. The Act promotes accountability in public, private and voluntary sectors by encouraging people to report concerns and it provides legal sanctions against organisations which do not take appropriate action or tries to conceal malpractice. The Act protects staff raising the concern from dismissal and victimisation.
Examples:
• Ill treatment of a patient by a member of staff
• Criminal offence that has been committed or is likely to be committed
• Fraud or theft
• Bribery
• Disregard for legislation especially in relation to health and safety
• Environmental damage
• Showing undue favour to a job applicant or over a contractual matter
• Breach of professional code of conduct
• Confidential information disclosed to the media or third party.
This list is not exhaustive. Further information on the Public Interest Disclosure Act can be found at the following link: http://www.pcaw.co.uk/law/uklegislation.htm

6. OUR ASSISTANCE TO STAFF
Employees who raise a genuine concern under the policy will not be at risk of losing their job or suffering any detriment. Provided that they acted in good faith it will not matter if they are mistaken. The Trust will not tolerate any harassment or criticism of employees who raise a genuine concern under the policy and will invoke the Disciplinary Policy if necessary.

7. ROLE OF TRADE UNIONS
The Trust recognises that employees may wish to seek advice from their trade union and may wish to be represented by their trade union. The Trust endorses the role that trade unions play in the effective use of the policy. A list of current Trade Union representatives is available on the intranet:
http://wghintra01/human_resources/trade_unions/

8. CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING
It can be difficult to report a concern but the Trust does wish to encourage employees to come forward at an early stage. The Trust recognises a duty to investigate issues raised. Where an employee requests anonymity, this will be granted and their identity will not be revealed without their consent. However if the investigation cannot progress without identity being revealed or a disciplinary hearing is being convened then the situation will be discussed with the employee.

9. WHO TO CONTACT TO RAISE A CONCERN
9.1. In most cases employees can raise concerns with their manager, however they may prefer to escalate the matter to a senior manager or Managing Director

• Managing Director – Mark Kelly – 07960194888
• 9.2. Employees may wish to contact a member of staff for health and safety matters. The current contact details for those overseeing all health & safety matters are:
Mark Kelly – 07960194888
9.3. Employees may prefer to report their concern to the following confidential e-mail address: mark@socialisingbuddies.co.uk Emails sent to this address will be picked up by the managing director and investigated as appropriate. Concerns raised will be treated in the strictest confidence.