Whistleblowing means the reporting of suspected misconduct, illegal acts or failure to act within the company. Information is provided by an employee or worker, usually to the employer or a regulator, which has come to their attention through work. The disclosure may be about the alleged wrongful conduct of the employer, or about the conduct of a fellow employee, client, or any third party. Whistleblowing is therefore ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’ and occurs when a worker raises a concern about danger or illegality that affects others, for example members of the public. The Policy is designed to ensure that you can raise your concerns about wrongdoing or malpractice within the company without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination, disadvantage or dismissal.
UXO Groundworks Ltd is committed to achieving the highest possible standards of service and the highest possible ethical standards in all of its practices. To help achieve these standards it encourages freedom of speech.
If you are unsure whether to use this Policy or want independent advice at any stage, you may contact the independent charity Public Concern at Work: Tel: 020 7404 6609. Their advisers can give you free confidential advice on how to raise a concern about serious malpractice at work.
UXO Groundworks Ltd’ Policy aims to:
- Encourage you to feel confident in raising serious concerns at the earliest opportunity and to question and act upon concerns about practice
- Provide avenues for you to raise those concerns and receive feedback on any action taken
- Ensure that you receive a response to your concerns and that you are aware of how to pursue them if you are not satisfied
- Reassure you that you will be protected from possible reprisals or victimisation if you have made any disclosure in good faith.
This Policy is intended to enable those who become aware of wrongdoing in the company, to report their concerns at the earliest opportunity so that they can be properly investigated. The Whistleblowing Policy is not intended to replace existing procedures:
- If your concern relates to your own treatment as an employee, you should raise it under the existing grievance or harassment procedures
- If a client has a concern about services provided to him/her, it should be raised as a complaint to the company
Who can raise a concern under this Policy?
The Policy applies to all Interested Parties:
- Employees of UXO Groundworks Ltd
- Contractors/ Sub contractors/ Self- employed thereof working for UXO GROUNDWORKS LTD
- Agency Workers
- Suppliers and their employees
- Customers and their employees
What should be reported?
Any serious concerns that you have about service provision or the conduct of managers, colleagues or others acting on behalf of UXO Groundworks Ltd that:
- Make you feel uncomfortable in terms of known standards
- Are not in keeping with the company’s expectations and policies
- Fall below established standards of practice; or are improper behaviour.
Examples of areas these might relate to, but are not limited to are:
- Conduct which is an offence or a breach of the law or legal obligations
- Criminal Offences
- Miscarriages of justice
- Racial, sexual, disability or other discrimination
- Health and safety of the public and/or others
- Impact/Damage to the environment
- Unauthorised use of funds or other assets
- Possible fraud and corruption
- Unethical use of inappropriate labour
- Neglect or abuse of customers, or other unethical conduct
- The deliberate concealing of these
Protection of the Whistle-blower
This policy has been written to take account of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 which protects workers making disclosures about certain matters of concern, when those disclosures are made in accordance with the Act’s provisions and in good faith. The Act makes it unlawful for the company to dismiss anyone or allow them to be victimised on the basis that they have made an appropriate lawful disclosure in accordance with the Act. Rarely, a case might arise where it is the employee that has participated in the action causing concern. In such a case it is in the employee’s interest to come into the open as soon as possible. The company cannot promise not to act against such an employee, but the fact that they came forward may be taken into account.
The company will support you through this process by providing you with full support from senior management, ensure your concerns are taken seriously, provide you with feedback throughout the investigation and do all it can to support and advise you. For non-UXO Groundworks Ltd employees, the company will endeavour to provide appropriate advice and support wherever possible.
Harassment or victimisation
The company is committed to good practice, high standards and to being supportive of you. We recognise that the decision to report a concern can be difficult. If you honestly and reasonably believe what you are saying is true, you have nothing to fear because you will be doing your duty to your employer, your colleagues and those for whom you are providing a service.
UXO Groundworks Ltd will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation of a whistle-blower and will take appropriate action to protect you when you raise a concern in good faith. Harassment or victimisation will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence and will be dealt with under the company’s disciplinary rules and procedures.
All concerns will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal your identity if that is your wish. If disciplinary or other proceedings follow the investigation, it may not be possible to take action as a result of your disclosure without your help, so you may be asked to come forward as a witness. If you agree to this, you will be offered advice and support.
This Policy encourages you to put your name to your allegation whenever possible. If you wish to remain anonymous it will be much more difficult for us to protect your position or to give you feedback. This Policy is not ideally suited to concerns raised anonymously. Concerns expressed anonymously are much less powerful, but they may be considered at the discretion of the company
If you make an allegation in good faith and reasonably believing it to be true, but it is not confirmed by the investigation, the company will maintain to recognise your concern. If, however, you make an allegation frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain, appropriate action that could include disciplinary action may be taken.
Raising a concern
You may raise your concern in person, by telephone or in writing and will need to include the nature of your concern, why you believe it to be true, and any history or background relating to the same.
Who you should contact will be dependent on the seriousness, sensitivity, or the persons involved in your concern, these can be raised with:
- Your Line manager in the first instance
- The company Directors’
- If you are unsure of who to contact, you may call Public Concern on 0207 404 6609 for advice
You will not be expected to prove beyond doubt the validity of your suspicion; however, you will need to demonstrate that you are acting in good faith and that you have reasonable grounds for your concern.
You may invite a representative or a friend to be present for support during any meetings or interviews in connection with your raised concern.
What UXO Groundworks Ltd will do?
We will respond to your concerns as quickly as possible. Where appropriate, we will properly investigate and make an objective assessment of the concern. The overriding principle for the company will be public interest. In order to be fair to all employees, including those who may be wrongly or mistakenly accused, initial enquiries will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take.
The investigation may need to be carried out under terms of strict confidentiality, i.e. by not informing the subject of the complaint until (or if) it becomes necessary to do so. In certain cases, however, such as allegations of ill treatment of others, suspension from work may have to be considered immediately. Protection of others is paramount in all cases.
Where appropriate, the matters raised may:
- Be investigated by management, internal audit, or through the disciplinary/grievance process
- Be referred to the police
- Be referred to an external auditor
- Be referred and put through established child protection/abuse procedures
- Form the subject of an independent inquiry.
Within ten working days of a concern being raised, the person investigating this will write to you acknowledging that the concern has been received and outlining how the company proposes to deal with the matter. We will provide you with advice and support and inform you whether further investigations will take place and if not, why.
The amount of contact between you and the person considering the concern will depend on the nature of the matters raised, the potential difficulties involved and the clarity of your information. It is likely that you will be interviewed to ensure that your disclosure is fully understood. Interviews and meetings can be arranged away from the workplace if you wish.
UXO Groundworks Ltd will do all it can to minimise any difficulties that you may experience as a result of raising a concern, we will provide appropriate support and advice, and will keep you informed of progress and outcomes, unless for legal reasons we are unable to do so.
UXO Groundworks Ltd management hopes to provide you with a satisfactory outcome and closure to any concerns raised. If you feel that the matter has not been dealt with correctly or the appropriate action taken, you can contact:
- The independent charity ‘Public Concern’ for advice
- The police
- Other relevant bodies prescribed by legislation, for example the Health and Safety Executive
UXO Groundworks Ltd will maintain a register of concerns that are brought to our attention. This register will obscure confidential information but will be utilised by the company to maintain efficient improvement, to document lessons learnt and to ensure mistakes are not repeated.