We believe in the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability. If you have a concern relating to one of the areas listed below the matter can be reported, in the manner set out in this policy, without fear of reprisal.
The purpose of this policy is to enable us to investigate and deal properly and sensitively with allegations of wrongdoing and does not replace the Grievance Policy contained in our internal Employee Handbook. This policy is intended to assist individuals who believe they have discovered malpractice or impropriety. It is not designed to question financial or business decisions taken by Change nor should it be used to reconsider any matters which have already been addressed under harassment, complaint, disciplinary or other policies.
Purpose of this policy
If you genuinely believe that Change or any of our employees has taken, is intending to take (or has failed to take) action which you reasonably believe is in the public interest (or the interest of a group of people) and will lead or amount to:
- a criminal offence;
- a failure to comply with any legal obligations;
- a miscarriage of justice;
- danger to the health and safety of any individual;
- damage to the environment; or
- the deliberate concealment of information tending to show any of the matters listed above;
you can disclose this information orally or in writing to the HR Manager. If you make such a disclosure, you should provide full details and, where possible, supporting evidence.
It is important that these issues are dealt with sensitively and quickly. Anonymous disclosures are strongly discouraged as they are likely to hinder effective investigation. However, if you disclose information in accordance with this procedure, in so far as it is reasonably practicable, your identity will be kept confidential.
If you reasonably believe that the nature of your concern relates to any of the areas set out above and you disclose this information to the appropriate person under this procedure in good faith no action will be taken against you for making the disclosure.
Change will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal, against any worker:
- found to be victimising another worker for using this procedure, or deterring any worker from reporting genuine concerns under it, or
- making a disclosure/allegation maliciously or veraciously.
We will promptly investigate your allegation and will take whatever action it considers appropriate. Your assistance may be required during the investigation.
On receipt of a complaint of malpractice, the member of staff who receives and takes note of the complaint, must pass this information as soon as is reasonably possible, to the appropriate designated investigating officer as follows:
- Complaints of malpractice will be investigated by the appropriate Director unless the complaint is against the Director or is in any way related to the actions of the Director. In such cases, the complaint should be passed to the Group MD for referral.
- In the case of a complaint, which is any way connected with but not against the Director, the Group MD will nominate a Senior Manager to act as the alternative investigating officer.
- Complaints against the Group MD should be passed to the Chairman who will nominate an appropriate investigating officer.
- The complainant has the right to bypass the line management structure and take their complaint direct to the Chairman. The Chairman has the right to refer the complaint back to management if he/she feels that the management without any conflict of interest can more appropriately investigate the complaint.
If there is evidence of criminal activity then the investigating officer should inform the police. The Company will ensure that any internal investigation does not hinder a formal police investigation.
Due to the varied nature of these sorts of complaints, the investigating officer should ensure that investigations are undertaken as quickly as possible without affecting the quality and depth. The investigating officer, should as soon as practically possible, send a written acknowledgement of the concern to the complainant and thereafter report back to them in writing the outcome of the investigation and on the action that is proposed. If the investigation is a prolonged one, the investigating officer should keep the complainant informed, in writing, as to the progress of the investigation and as to when it is likely to be concluded.
All responses to the complainant will be in writing and sent to a private address/email.
The investigating officer should follow these steps:
- Full details and clarifications of the complaint should be obtained.
- The investigating officer should inform the member of staff against whom the complaint is made as soon as is practically possible. The member of staff will be informed of their right to be accompanied by a trade union or other representative at any future interview or hearing held under the provision of these procedures.
- The investigating officer should consider the involvement of the Company auditors and the Police at this stage and should consult with the Chairman / Group MD.
- The allegations should be fully investigated by the investigating officer with the assistance where appropriate, of other individuals / bodies.
- A judgement concerning the complaint and validity of the complaint will be made by the investigating officer. This judgement will be detailed in a written report containing the findings of the investigations and reasons for the judgement. T
- he report will be passed to the Group MD or Chairman as appropriate.
- The Group MD / Chairman will decide what action to take. If the complaint is shown to be justified, then they will invoke the disciplinary or other appropriate Company procedures.
- The complainant should be kept informed of the progress of the investigations and, if appropriate, of the final outcome.
- If appropriate, a copy of the outcomes will be passed to the Company Auditors to enable a review of the procedures.
If the complainant is not satisfied that their concern is being properly dealt with by the investigating officer, they have the right to raise it in confidence with the Group MD / Chairman, or one of the designated persons described above.
If the investigation finds the allegations unsubstantiated and all internal procedures have been exhausted, but the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, the Company recognises the lawful rights of employees and ex-employees to make disclosures to prescribed persons (such as the Health and Safety Executive, the Audit Commission, or the utility regulators), or, where justified, elsewhere.