Whistle Blowing Policy Date Implemented: June 2016 Review Date: June 2018

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1 Holy Family Catholic Primary School Whistle Blowing Policy Date Implemented: June 2016 Review Date: June 2018 Mission Statement Hand in hand in God s loving family, we will dream and learn, growing into the best we can be. 1 Introduction The Governors and Management of Holy Family Catholic Junior School seek to run all aspects of school business and activity with full regard for high standards of accountability and integrity. To ensure that these standards are met the Governors and Management of the school have put in place processes and procedures that will cope with the majority of all concerns and problems that naturally occur in an organisation of this size. In the event that any member of the school community becomes concerned about the way the school is being run or how any individual is being treated their first option should be to use the School s existing processes and procedures to raise their concerns. Some examples are: a) Parents can make an appointment and speak to the class teacher and if necessary the Head Teacher b) Staff can raise concerns and speak to their manager c) Staff can invoke the grievance procedure in matters relating to their employment d) Governors can ask questions of the Head Teacher at Governing body meetings However there may arise a serious concern, which is difficult for a member of the school community to raise through the School s existing processes and procedures because of its nature, or because of the individuals involved. Registered Company Number:

2 Some examples are: a) Where staff appear to be colluding to evade detection of any wrong doing. b) Where the individuals involved in the concern are in senior positions and may be able to block or frustrate progress of any concern raised. To meet this concern and to ensure that the School will always maintain the highest standards of accountability and integrity the governing body has established the following Whistle Blowing policy. The Whistle Blowing Policy is intended to cover major concerns that cannot be handled through the use of the School s existing processes and procedures. The code is complementary to the Holy Family School Code of Conduct for Employees and it contains the provisions that are required from the Public Interest Disclosure Act Purpose The purpose of this policy is: a) To encourage any member of the school community to feel confident in raising serious concerns, to question and act upon their concerns about practice b) To provide them with a method of raising concerns and receive feedback on how this is being followed up c) To ensure members of the school community receive a response to their concerns and they are aware of how to pursue them if they are not satisfied d) To reassure members of the school community that they will be protected from possible reprisals or victimisation if they have reasonable belief that they have made any disclosure in good faith 3 Scope This policy covers all members of the Holy Family School community. The term member of the school community for the purposes of this policy means anyone in the following list. Governors All employees Agency staff Casual and temporary staff on site (builders, drivers, LA visitors) Volunteer workers 4 How to raise a concern 4.1 Making a judgement on the seriousness of your concern You must consider very carefully if the concern that you have is serious enough to need dealing with by means of this whistle blowing policy. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself are: Is it illegal? Does it contravene professional codes of practice? Is it against government guidelines? Is it against the LA's guidelines? Registered Company Number:

3 Is it against the school s guidelines? Is it about one individual s behaviour or is it about general working practices? Does it contradict what has been declared best practice in any training received? Have they witnessed the incident and did anyone else witness the incident at the same time? 4.2 Making your concern known Once you are certain that a serious concern exists and that the normal management processes and procedures already in place cannot handle it, then you must invoke this policy and raise a concern either in writing or verbally. To raise a concern it is necessary to gather as much information together as possible. You are strongly advised to keep notes on what you have a concern about, especially dates and times, even if you wish to raise your concern verbally. You also collect written supporting statements from anyone who can confirm the allegations. You should then request a confidential meeting with the appropriate person to discuss the concern [see paragraph 4.3] When raising a concern you may take another person with you as a witness or for support. However it is the policy of this school to advise against consulting with a colleague, friends or anyone outside the school about your concerns. This is because of the danger that your trust in their ability to keep such a confidence to themselves may be misplaced. If at a later date your concerns prove to be groundless then you may have needlessly damaged the reputation of the person(s) involved and that of the school. Worse still, the widespread leak of such an allegation could start a whispering campaign that seriously damages the reputation of the school, its staff and Governors. However once you have raised your concern and an investigation is under way you may then ask your trade union or professional association representative to advise you, or be present during any meetings or interviews in connection with the concerns that you have raised. It is not the policy of this school to accept allegations made anonymously. However they may be considered at the discretion of the School. 4.3 With whom should your concern be raised As a first step, you should normally raise concerns with either the Deputy Head teacher or the Assistant Head teacher. However, if your concern is about either of these senior managers you should contact the Head Teacher. If your concern is about the Head teacher, you should contact the Chair of Governors If your concern is about the Chair of Governors you should approach the Diocesan Schools Commission and the LA s Chief Executive. If your concern is about any member of the LA dealing with the school you should approach the LA Chief Executive or in case of a financial concern the LA Head of Internal Audit. 5 Statement on protection The policy of this school is that anyone raising a concern will not be victimised, disciplined or disadvantaged in any way. If you are an employee you have legal protection under the Public Interest Disclosure Act This Act protects Registered Company Number:

4 employees from victimisation by their employer as a result of raising genuine concerns either inside or outside their organisation. If you make an allegation in good faith, but it is not confirmed by the investigation no action will be taken against you. If however, you make an allegation frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain, disciplinary action may be taken. For employees, the school disciplinary procedure will apply. 6 How the School will respond to anyone raising an concern Within ten working days of a concern being raised, the person hearing the concern will write to the member of the school community raising the concern, and: Acknowledge the concern has been received Indicate how the matter will be dealt with and who will be involved Where possible, give an estimate of how long it will take to provide a response Tell the member of the school community whether any initial enquiries have been made Check whether he or she needs any personal support Tell the member of the school community whether further investigations will take place and if not why not. The amount of contact between the Senior Manager/LA Dept. considering the concern and the member of the school community will depend on the nature of the matters raised, the potential difficulties involved and the clarity of the information provided. If necessary, the School will seek further information from the member of the school community, as part of the investigation process. The School will take steps to minimise any difficulties, which members of the school community may experience as a result of raising any concerns. For instance, if they are required to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings, the School will arrange for them to receive support. The School accepts that individuals need to be assured that the matter has been addressed. Thus, subject to legal constraints and the bounds of confidentiality, we will inform them of the outcome of any investigation, and the action that is to be taken against those whose action caused the concern. Also, if appropriate, what changes are to be made to monitor procedures to ensure that a similar concern is not raised in the future. All concerns will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal the identity of the member of the school community if that is their wish. However, this cannot be guaranteed, if an external body, outside of the School s control, e.g. the Police, considers the matter. 7 How the school will investigate concerns The individual manager hearing the concern is encouraged to take advice from the LA Human Resources Dept. The matters raised may: Be investigated by management, internal audit, or in conjunction with Human Resources Dept. through the disciplinary procedure, Be referred to the police Registered Company Number:

5 Be referred to the external auditor Form the subject of an independent inquiry. In order to protect individuals and those accused of misdeeds or possible malpractice, initial enquiries will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and if so what form it should take. The overriding principle the School will have in mind is the public interest. In this context the public interest refers to the common well being or general welfare of the school community, the local community in which it operates and the general public. Concerns or allegations, which fall within the scope of specific procedures (for example, child protection or discrimination issues), will normally be referred for consideration under those procedures. Some concerns may be resolved by agreed action without the need for investigation. If urgent action is required this will be taken before any investigation is conducted. In all cases, when a member of the school community raises a concern, the Head teacher will, if appropriate, liase with the LA Legal Services and the LA Finance Services. If appropriate they will assess the nature of the concern in conjunction with the LA's Internal Audit and Insurance Manager to decide the appropriate response. The Chief Executive of the LA has the overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the LA Whistle Blowing policy in respect of concerns raised formally outside the management of the school. The LA maintains a record of concerns raised and the outcome, but in a form, which does not endanger your confidentiality and reports as necessary to the Council. In respect of concerns raised internally within the school, the Head teacher will maintain a record of concerns raised and the outcome and will report as necessary to the Governing Body. 8 How matters can be taken further If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may take the matter to the Chair of Governors if they have not already been involved. Within ten days the Chair of Governors will write to you to acknowledge the concern has been received and indicate the steps that will be taken. The Chair of Governors may choose to set up a small group of governors to investigate. The Chair of Governors will then inform you of the outcome on the same basis as above. If you are still not satisfied you may raise the matter, in the first instance, with the Diocesan Schools Commission and the LA s Chief Executive. If you are still not satisfied with the response from the School, the Diocese and LA you can raise the matter, as appropriate with one of the following: Your local councillor, (if he or she lives within the Council s boundary) The external auditor The Audit Commission Your trade union The local citizens advice bureau Relevant professional bodies or regulatory organisations A voluntary organisation Your solicitor The police Registered Company Number:

6 Public Concern at Work, is a voluntary organisation that offers confidential legal advice to employees of any organisation. The service is offered free and they can assist in helping individuals to decide if and how to take a concern forward. Tel no: Please note that if you take your concerns outside of the School, you must not disclose personal information relating to other members of the school community. Any member of the school community who unreasonably and without justification raises such concerns on a wider basis, such as with the press, without following the steps and advice in this procedure may be liable to disciplinary action. Registered Company Number:

7 POLICY TITLE: Whistle Blowing Date of Committee Review: 28 th June 2016 Date adopted by the governing body: 28 th June 2016 Date for full implementation: 28 th June 2016 Contact person: Miss Karen Bathe, Headteacher Status (statutory, recommended/additional): Recommended Registered Company Number:

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