Whistleblowing Policy

1        Introduction

Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation encourages a free and open culture in its dealings and in particular recognises that effective and honest communication is essential to its success.

The Corporation is committed therefore to ensuring that there is a procedure in place for the protection of staff when raising concerns about malpractice.  It is also committed to the provision of the highest quality services and to full accountability for those services.  It is in the interests if all concerned that disclosures of wrongdoing or irregularity are dealt with properly, quickly and discreetly.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) came into force on 2nd July 1999 and was introduced to encourage workers to make disclosures concerning malpractice in the workplace.  The Act was introduced in response to major corporate failures in the 80s and 90s where workers had known of the dangers that led to disaster but were unwilling or unable to warn of them effectively.  It aims to help prevent such disasters and corporate malpractice in general by encouraging workers with relevant information to come forward responsibly.  The Act also protects those employees who disclose possible malpractice from discrimination and victimisation.

2      Procedure

2.1         Scope of Policy

As well as covering its own employees the right to make a qualifying disclosure is extended to other workers i.e. anyone who works under a contract or personally performs work or services on behalf of the Corporation and is not genuinely self-employed is covered by PIDA, regardless of how the relationship is structured.  For example, individuals providing a service via their own service companies would normally be covered.  PIDA also specifically protects agency workers who make qualifying disclosures about their principal’s business.  To this end, the Corporation’s Short Form Conditions of Contract (Disclosure of Information & Discrimination) have been amended to encourage contractors’ personnel to make a disclosure.  By contrast, non-executive directors are not protected as they are self-employed.

2.2         What is a qualifying disclosure?

Staff have the facility to raise certain issues relating to Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation with someone in confidence. Such circumstances that have occurred, are occurring or may occur within Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation could include instances where:

·         A criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed

·         A person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he or she is subject

·         A miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur

·         The health and safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered

·         The environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged

·         There is deliberate concealment of information relating to the above matters

If you commit a criminal offence whilst making a disclosure you will not be protected from the consequences of making that disclosure.

The worker must reasonably believe the information he or she is disclosing is true, even if in fact it is not.  In order to be protected under the Act, the worker must make the disclosure to the correct person (see below).

This policy has been put in place for the protection of staff when raising concerns about malpractice.  If a member of staff wishes to raise a complaint or grievance about other aspects of their employment, they should use the Development Corporation’s Grievance procedure which can be found in a separate policy and referred to in the Employee Handbook.

2.3         Process for making disclosures

In the event that you wish to make a disclosure relating to one of the above circumstances you should contact your Manager in the first instance unless your disclosure concerns your Manager in which case you should contact your Line Manager’s Manager or the Director of Resources.  If you feel that the disclosure needs to go to a level higher than this or you are not satisfied with the response from the initial reporting stage, then you should contact either the Chair or the Deputy Chair of the Corporation or a non-executive Director.

If you feel that you are unable to raise any concerns directly with a member of staff within Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, you can obtain support and advice on any concerns either from Northgate HR or other external bodies such as DCLG internal audit, Public Concern at Work or external auditors – the NAO - (contact details can be found at the end of the Policy).

Any investigations resulting from a disclosure will be handled with the utmost discretion and will be carried out as soon as possible by the relevant person identified.  The individual carrying out the investigation must always be different to the person who may have to make a judgement on the findings of the investigation.  

The matter will be investigated properly and an objective assessment will be made about the issue/concern.  The individual who has made the disclosure will also be kept informed of the progress of the investigation.

Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation will do everything in its power to ensure that the working environment and/or any contractor personnel are not prejudiced by any disclosure.

Should you wish to make a disclosure about the conduct of a person, other than a member of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation’s personnel, or a matter which you reasonably believe someone other than Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation has legal responsibility for, then you should discuss this with a Director in the first instance.  Alternatively you may contact a member of Northgate HR in confidence.

Disclosures should only be in good faith and where you reasonably believe that the information disclosed and any allegation contained in it are substantially true.

Any disclosures made in bad faith may result in disciplinary action being taken.  Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation hopes that such disclosures will not be necessary.  However each case will be treated individually.

A worker may make a disclosure to a person or organisation that is not the employer if:

·         It is made in good faith, not for personal gain and is reasonably believed to be true, and

·         The worker reasonably believes that he or she will be victimised if he or she makes the disclosure to the employer; or reasonably believes that it will be covered up if it is made to the employer; or the worker has already made the disclosure to the employer.

2.4         Direction for Management

Managers or Directors within Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation who believe that they may be in a position to receive whistleblowing disclosures, should contact Northgate HR to obtain advice and support on how to deal with disclosures received, confidentiality and anonymity of the process as well as protecting the individual who raised the concern from discrimination or detriment. They may also wish to avail themselves of help and advice from the following external experts: DCLG internal audit, Public Concern at Work or external auditors – the NAO.  Contact details can be found at the end of the Policy.

2.5         Protection from Dismissal or Detriment

Provided that a member of staff has made a disclosure that relates to one or more of the instances referred to at 2.2 and has made that disclosure in good faith, they are protected from being dismissed or suffering any detriment.

There is no qualifying period of service required before claiming protection under PIDA.

External Contact Details

 Northgate HR     01733 397870 / 397767  
 DCLG internal audit                               0303 4442212  
 National Audit Office   020 7798 7983      
 Public Concern at Work

(a charity specialising in providing
advice for whistleblowers)

 020 7404 6609