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Whistleblowing Policy

What to do if you think something is really wrong

Why do we have a whistleblowing policy?

The WCIA is committed to being open, honest and accountable. We seek to encourage a free and open culture, including in our dealings with all employees, volunteers, customers, suppliers, Trustees and members of the public. We want to ensure that no one feels or is at a disadvantage in raising concerns.

Our Whistleblowing Policy aims to help and support you in raising any serious concerns you might have about the WCIA and/or any connected individual. You should be able to do this with confidence and without having to worry about being victimised, discriminated against or disadvantaged in any way as a result. We are committed to dealing with all disclosures consistently and fairly and to working within the standards set by the Charity Commission of England and Wales1

This policy may be used by anyone working within or alongside the WCIA in any capacity, including within the Temple of Peace or with any affiliated organisation.

This policy may also be used by any member of the public wishing to express a concern about any conduct of WCIA staff or activities.

What should I raise under the Whistleblowing Policy?

This policy is intended to cover serious or sensitive concerns about any wrongdoing. Examples include:

  • Criminal activity;
  • Failure to comply with a legal obligation;
  • Failure in the protection of a child or vulnerable adult (see also the WCIA policy on Safeguarding);
  • Improper conduct or unethical behaviour;
  • Financial malpractice or impropriety or fraud;
  • A health and safety risk;
  • A failure to protect the environment;
  • Attempts to conceal any of the above.

Other relevant policies

  • For any safeguarding concerns please use our separate safeguarding policy.
  • If your concern relates to fundraising, you have the option to escalate any complaint to the Fundraising Regulator.
  • Employment-related concerns should normally be dealt with through our Grievance Procedure rather than under this Policy.
  • Customer complaints can be dealt with under our complaints policy which is on our website.
  • If you have concerns that aren’t covered above, we encourage you to discuss these with the WCIA team in a more informal way.

How do I raise a concern?

A concern can be raised by phone or in writing via email or letter. If you raise a concern by phone, please make it clear you are doing this under our Whistleblowing Policy. Whistleblowing is handled by the Chief Executive in the first instance. If the concern involves the Chief Executive, it should be raised to the Chair of Trustees.

Chief Executive

Email: susieventrisfield@wcia.org.uk marked: Confidential

Phone: 02920228549 ext 201 (email is the swiftest method to get in touch)

Chair of the Governance Committee:

Email: secretary@wcia.org.uk marked: Confidential

It will help the investigation if you can provide as much information as possible including the history of the concern and, if relevant, names, dates and locations as well as the nature and basis of the concern. You do not need to provide proof or evidence for us to look into a concern.

What happens next?

All concerns will be documented in detail and securely stored within the password protected WCIA onedrive. Details of the concern will be shared with either the Chair of Trustees or Chief Executive and a decision taken on next steps.

Where the complaint is deemed to be sufficiently serious, an investigation panel will be appointed by the Chair or Chief Executive, and the investigation will be conducted as thoroughly and quickly as is reasonably possible. The board will be informed that a whistle blowing investigation is underway and will be informed of the outcome.

We will also ensure that the complainant is provided with details of the outcome of the investigation and any measures taken by WCIA in response.

  • If there is evidence of criminal activity, then the investigating person should inform the police. WCIA will ensure that any internal investigation does not hinder a formal police investigation.
  • The investigating person 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 allegations should be fully investigated by the investigating person 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 person. This judgement will be detailed in a written report containing the findings of the investigations and reasons for the judgement. The report will be passed to the Chief Executive/Chair.
  • The Chief Executive/Chair will decide what action to take. If the complaint is shown to be justified, then they will invoke the disciplinary or other appropriate organisation procedures.

Will my complaint remain confidential and/or will it affect my relationship or employment with the WCIA?

WCIA takes all whistle blowing reports seriously and will protect all those who report in good faith, including where no evidence of serious misconduct or wrongdoing is judged to have taken place following an investigation. We are committed to taking appropriate action to protect any individual that raises a concern from any harassment, victimisation or bullying.

We will seek to treat any disclosures in a confidential and sensitive manner and we are committed to taking all reasonable steps to maintain your anonymity when requested, unless we are legally required to identify you.

Information on the complaint will be shared on a need to know basis only and all documentation will be securely stored. In the event that information is required to be shared with external authorities including the Charity Commission or Police, you will be made aware of this and usual rules on GDPR will apply.

WCIA will not tolerate malicious false reporting of any kind and may choose to take measures against an individual where evidence of this has been found.

What if I am not happy at the end of the process?

If you feel we have not dealt with your concern satisfactorily, you may choose to raise it with the appropriate national Regulator, for example, the Charity Commission. A full list of Regulatory Bodies can be found online by searching the Public Interest (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014.