Purpose and scope
Tutors United (‘TU’) is committed to being open, honest, and accountable. It encourages an open culture whereby individuals feel encouraged and confident to raise concerns relating to suspected misconduct at an early age.
TU recognises the negative effect that malpractice can have on the organisation, and therefore encourage you to raise genuine concerns or any suspicions you may have concerning misconduct.
This policy outlines the actions Trustees, employees, contractors, and volunteers can take to raise any serious concerns they may have about colleagues or their employer with confidence and without having to worry about being victimised, discriminated against or disadvantaged in any way as a result.
This policy is written in the context of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, which protects employees who ‘blow the whistle’ on malpractices within their organisation. This policy does not form part of our employment contracts and we may amend it at any time. An up-to-date policy will always be available to all employees for reference.
What is Whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing, or public interest disclosure, is when a worker reports a concern about the improper actions or omissions of their colleagues or their employer, which may cause harm to others or the organisation.
Disclosures should be made ‘in good faith’ when there is a real concern about wrongdoing. The whistleblower should reasonably believe the information and allegation are substantially true, even if the information later turns out to have been incorrect.
A whistleblower is not directly or personally affected by the concern and, therefore, rarely has a direct personal interest in the outcome of any investigation into their concerns.
What types of concerns?
Whistleblowing is not the same as making a complaint or raising a grievance, where the individual feels they personally have been poorly treated. Rather this policy is intended to deal with serious or sensitive concerns about wrongdoings such as the following:
- a criminal offense;
- a failure to comply with any legal obligation;
- a failure to protect children or vulnerable adults;
- a miscarriage of justice;
- a health and safety risk to an individual;
- financial malpractice, impropriety or fraud;
- damage to the environment;
- serious failure to comply with any codes of practice or ethical rules covering business;
- or concealment of the above
The transgression can be past, present, or prospective. It may have occurred inside or outside the United Kingdom.
You are encouraged to report suspected wrongdoing as soon as possible. Regardless of the outcome, no action will be taken against you if you raise genuine concerns even if any subsequent investigation does not confirm the concerns you raised.
Protecting individuals raising concerns
If an individual raises a concern which they believe to be true, TU will take appropriate action to protect that individual from any harassment, victimisation, or bullying. Employees who raise a genuine concern under this policy will not be at risk of losing their job, nor will it influence any unrelated disciplinary action or redundancy procedures.
Confidentiality and anonymity
Any disclosure you make under this Policy will be treated as far as reasonably practicable, confidentially, and sensitively. If confidentiality is not reasonably practicable, for instance, due to the nature of the information, this will be explained to you.
The Company hopes you will feel comfortable to voice any concerns openly; however, you may make a disclosure anonymously. It must be noted, concerns expressed anonymously cannot be dealt with as effectively as open disclosures as they are often more difficult to investigate.
How to make a disclosure
The officer designated to handle whistleblowing concerns is Joel Davis and shall be known as the Whistleblowing Officer.
Individuals should bring concerns to the attention of their immediate manager, who will respond to that matter. If they are unable to deal with the matter themselves, they will refer the concern to the Whistleblowing Officer. If the disclosure contains allegations about your immediate manager or the malpractice occurs at this level, you may make the disclosure directly to the Whistleblowing Officer.
If the matter concerns the Whistleblowing Officer, it should be raised with the Trustees. The main trustee responsible for handling such instances is Matt Corner – firstname.lastname@example.org. Upon receiving concerns, Matt will circulate it among the trustees who will review the case independently.
If any individual is unsure whether to use this procedure or they want independent advice at any stage, they are welcome to contact the independent charity, Public Concerns at Work’s legal helpline on 020 7404 6609, email: email@example.com. They will be able to advise on how and with whom to raise a concern about malpractice. Disclosures made to a legal advisor in the course of obtaining legal advice will be protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
If the individual reasonably believes that the matter relates wholly or mainly to the conduct of a person or body other than TU or any other matter for which a person or body other than TU has legal responsibility, the disclosure should be made to that other person or body.
Once a concern is raised, it will be investigated fully in a manner appropriate to the nature of that concern. Depending on who is involved in the concern, it may be investigated by the Whistleblowing Officer, the Trustees, through external regulating bodies, an external auditor, or an independent investigator. If you have not made the complaint anonymously, you will be asked to attend a meeting as part of this investigation to give evidence.
You will be informed as to the progress of the investigation, as far as is possible and appropriate bearing in mind any confidentiality obligations that apply. Please note that you will not be given details of any disciplinary action taken unless we consider this appropriate.
Dissatisfaction with the outcome of the process
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation, you should raise this with the Chairman of the Board, giving the reasons for your dissatisfaction. They will respond in writing, notifying you of their acceptance or rejection of the need for further investigation and the reason for this.
All our workers will receive an appropriate briefing to ensure that they are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities under this Policy. This Policy will be made available to all employees.
All managers will be fully briefed as to their role in supporting this Policy and the appropriate action to take in the event of any disclosure being made to them.
Breach of this Policy
We may invoke disciplinary procedures if you are found to have subjected a whistle-blower to any form of detrimental treatment. It may also be invoked if you have intentionally misled us in respect of any matter, breached this Policy in any other way, and/or if we believe that you have made a false allegation maliciously.