Whistleblowing Policy

Status:

Ratified

Drafted by:

Leighton Tellem

Ratified by Governors:

5/10/17

The Governing Body is responsible for establishing and maintaining this policy and for ensuring that it is followed.  The Principal is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Governing Body and for complying with this policy. The policy applies to the Principal and to all staff employed by the Academy.

Introduction

The staff and governors of Route 39 Academy seek to run all aspects of Academy  business and activity with full regard for high standards of conduct and integrity. In the event that members of Academy staff, parents, governors or the Academy community at large become aware of activities which give cause for concern, Route 39 Academy has established the following whistleblowing policy, which acts as a framework to allow concerns to be raised confidentially and provides for a thorough and appropriate investigation of the matter to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.

Throughout this policy, the term whistleblower denotes the person raising the concern or making the complaint. It is not meant in a pejorative sense and is entirely consistent with the terminology used by Lord Nolan as recommended in the Second Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life: Local Spending Bodies published in May 1996.

Route 39 Academy is committed to tackling fraud and other forms of malpractice and treats these issues seriously. We recognise that some concerns may be extremely sensitive and have therefore developed a system which allows for the confidential raising of concerns within the Academy environment but also has recourse to an external party outside the management structure of the Academy.

We are committed to creating a climate of trust and openness so that a person who has a genuine concern or suspicion can raise the matter with full confidence that the matter will be appropriately considered and resolved.

The provisions of this policy apply to matters of suspected fraud and impropriety. Matters of a more general grievance will be dealt with under the complaints policy.

When might whistleblowing apply?

The type of activity or behaviour which Route 39  considers should be dealt with under this policy includes:

How will the matter be progressed?

Senior, qualified member of staff, one of the designated officers mentioned below, will carry out a preliminary investigation. This will seek to establish the facts of the matter and assess whether the concern has foundation and can be resolved internally. The initial assessment may identify the need to involve third parties to provide further information, advice or assistance, for example involvement of other members of Academy staff, legal or personnel advisors, the police and the Department for Education.

Records will be kept of work undertaken and actions taken throughout the investigation. The investigating officer, possibly in conjunction with the governing body, will consider how best to report the findings and what corrective action needs to be taken. This may include some form of disciplinary action or third party referral such as the police. The whistleblower will be informed of the results of the investigation and the action taken to address the matter. Depending on the nature of the concern or allegation and whether or not it has been substantiated, the matter will be reported to the governing body and/or the DfE.

If the whistleblower is dissatisfied with the conduct of the investigation or resolution of the matter or has genuine concerns that the matter has not been handled appropriately, the concerns should be raised with the investigating officer, the governing body and/or directed to the DfE. Respecting confidentiality wherever possible Route 39 Academy seeks to respect the confidentiality and anonymity of the whistleblower  and will as far as possible protect him/her from reprisals. Route 39 Academy will not tolerate any attempt to victimise the whistleblower or attempts to prevent concerns being raised and will consider any necessary disciplinary or corrective action appropriate to the circumstances.

Raising unfounded malicious concerns

Individuals are encouraged to come forward in good faith with genuine concerns with the knowledge they will be taken seriously. If individuals raise malicious unfounded concerns or attempt to make mischief, this will also be taken seriously and may constitute a disciplinary offence or require some other form of penalty appropriate to the circumstances.

Conclusion

Good practice within Route 39 Academy in terms of its systems of internal control both financial and non-financial and the external regulatory environment in which the Academy operates will ensure that cases of suspected fraud or impropriety rarely occur. This whistleblowing policy is provided as a reference document to establish a framework within which issues can be raised confidentially internally and if necessary outside the management structure of the Academy. This document is a public commitment that concerns are taken seriously and will be actioned.

What action should the whistleblower take?

Route 39 Academy encourages the whistleblower to raise the matter internally in the first instance to allow those Academy staff and governors in positions of responsibility and authority the opportunity to right the wrong and give an explanation for the behaviour or activity.

Route 39  Academy has designated a number of individuals to specifically deal with such matters and the whistleblower is invited to decide which of those individuals would be the most appropriate person to deal with the matter.

Name & Position

principal@route39.org.uk

01237 431 969        

        richard@route39.org.uk

        01288 331 427

        leighton.tellem@route39.org.uk

        01237 431 969

        sophie@route39.org.uk

        01288 321988

        

The whistleblower may prefer to raise the matter in person, by telephone or in written form, marked private and confidential and address to one of the above named individuals. All matters will be treated in strict confidence and anonymity will be respected wherever possible.

Alternatively if the whistleblower considers the matter too serious or sensitive to raise within the internal environment of the Academy, the matter should be directed in the first instance to the DfE. The DfE  has its own procedures for dealing with such matters and will ensure every  effort to respect the confidentiality of the whistleblower. Devon Local Authority will be informed as appropriate.

In addition information and advice can be obtained from the charity Public Concern at Work. This charity offers free legal advice in certain circumstances to people concerned about serious malpractice at work. Their literature states that matters are handled in strict confidence and without obligation. Contact details for the charity are as follows:

Public Concern at Work

Suite 306

16 Baldwin Gardens

London

EC1N 7RJ                   Telephone number: 0207 404 6609