If an employee of the school believes that serious wrongdoing has occurred within or by the school, they can declare it by way of a protected disclosure.
The protected disclosure policy:* ensures that there is a procedure in place for reporting and investigating serious wrongdoing* protects the person who reports it from retaliatory or disciplinary action, and also from civil or criminal proceedings* An employee could bring a personal grievance case against the school if any retaliatory action is taken against them.* ensures that the identity of the person who reports the wrongdoing remains confidential* Unless naming of the person is essential for the investigation, or to prevent serious risk to public health, public safety, or the environment, or to respect the principles of natural justice.* ensures that the school complies with the requirements of the Protected Disclosures Act.
Serious wrongdoing is defined in the Act as:* unlawful, corrupt, or irregular use of public funds or resources* an act, omission, or course of conduct that:* seriously risks public health or safety, or the environment constitutes a criminal offence * seriously risks the maintenance of law, for example, hides an offence or threatens the right to a fair trial* is oppressive, improperly discriminatory, or grossly negligent* constitutes gross mismanagement.
LegislationProtected Disclosures Act 2000Human Rights Act 1993Employment Relations Act 2000Release history: 5 September 2015, 10 September 09
Make a Protected Disclosure
If an employee wishes to make a protected disclosure they must believe that the information they have is about serious wrongdoing, and is true or likely to be true. They must want the wrongdoing to be investigated and their disclosure protected.
To make a protected disclosure:
Put the disclosure in writing, stating the nature of the wrongdoing and the names of the people involved.State that you wish your disclosure to be protected.By making your disclosure protected, you will be immune from civil, criminal, or disciplinary proceedings being taken because you made the disclosure. The disclosure officer will use their best endeavours to protect your identity unless identifying you is essential for the investigation, to prevent serious risk to public health, or is under the principles of natural justice.Protection only applies to serious wrongdoing (see the definition above) and anyone who makes a disclosure they know is false, or in bad faith, is not protected by the Act.Sign and date the letter. Include your return address details and send it to the disclosure officer.Unless it is inappropriate, the principal is the school's disclosure officer. If you think the principal is involved, or associates with someone who is involved in the wrongdoing, contact the chairperson of the board of trustees or an appropriate outside authority.
Manage a Protected Disclosure
The disclosure officer acknowledges receipt of the disclosure in writing and reports it to the chairperson of the board. The chairperson may refer the matter to the board.The board considers the disclosure and determines the scope and management of any investigation, including the process to be followed and who will be involved. All steps are taken to ensure that the identity of the person making the disclosure remains confidential.The board considers seeking legal advice.Within 20 working days the disclosure officer reports to the employee concerned letting them know what action has been taken, or recommended to be taken.