Whistleblowing policy template

£ 20

Use this model whistleblowing policy to detail the framework in which employees and others who have serious concerns about any aspect of your business can voice those concerns.

This policy has three parts: an 'overview' that explains what it's about, 'scope' which details who it applies to, and 'general principles' that list the main rules it follows.

Why this policy is necessary

A whistleblower is a worker (an employee / trainee / agency worker etc.) reports any of the following:

  • a criminal offence, for example fraud
  • someone's health and safety is in danger
  • risk or actual damage to the environment
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • the company is breaking the law, for example does not have the right insurance
  • you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing

This will usually be something they have seen at work - though not always.

The wrongdoing they disclose must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others, for example the general public.

A whistleblower is protected by law - they should not be treated unfairly or lose their job because they 'blew the whistle'.

They can raise their concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or they believe will happen in the near future.

A confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement is not valid if the worker is a whistleblower.

  1. Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA): This legislation, commonly known as the Whistleblower Protection Act, is the primary law that protects whistleblowers in the UK. It provides legal protection to employees who disclose certain types of information in the public interest, ensuring they are safeguarded from victimization or retaliation.

  2. Employment Rights Act 1996: Part IVA of this Act, inserted by PIDA, sets out specific provisions regarding protected disclosures, the conditions under which whistleblowers are protected, and the rights afforded to them.

  3. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013: This Act introduced changes to whistleblowing legislation, including the requirement for disclosures to be made in the public interest and providing employment tribunals with the power to take into account the reasons behind a dismissal when considering a whistleblowing claim.

  4. Financial Services and Markets Act 2000: This legislation includes specific provisions for whistleblowers within the financial services sector, such as the duty of financial firms to have effective internal whistleblowing channels and protections for whistleblowers against detriment or dismissal.

  5. Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014: This Order designates specific bodies, such as regulatory bodies, as "prescribed persons" to whom whistleblowers can make disclosures if they believe their employer has not addressed the concerns adequately.

  6. Equality Act 2010: This Act ensures that whistleblowers are protected from victimization or discrimination as a result of making a protected disclosure, irrespective of their protected characteristics.

  7. Company Law: The Companies Act 2006 includes provisions related to whistleblowing for certain types of companies. For example, public companies are required to have a whistleblowing policy in place.

  8. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: This Act includes provisions that protect employees who disclose health and safety concerns in the workplace.

  9. Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA): The DPA protects whistleblowers by regulating the processing of their personal data and ensuring that their confidentiality is maintained during the investigation of their disclosures.

Specifications

Reading time icon
Time to read / prep / use
10 mins
Document specs icon
Word count / length
1025 words, 3 pages A4
Date last reviewed icon
Date last reviewed
1 June 2024
whistleblowing policy template

Whistleblowing

Introduction

All organisations face the risk of things going wrong or of unknowingly harbouring malpractice. By promoting a culture of openness within [Company], employees are encouraged to raise issues which are of concern at work. By knowing about malpractice at an early stage, steps can be taken to safeguard the interests of all staff and prevent fraud and corruption before it happens.

Scope

This policy applies to all persons working for us or on our behalf, including employees at all levels whether permanent or temporary, directors, agency workers, interns, and contractors. This procedure does not form part of any employee's contract of employment. It may be amended at any time, and we may depart from it depending on the circumstances of any case.

This policy should not be used in relation to employee grievances concerning individual terms and conditions of employment or other aspects of the working relationship which are handled under the Company Grievance Policy.

Principles

All employees have the right to be able to raise a concern about working practices and other areas of concern in the public interest and receive feedback on actions taken. [Company] will seek to engender an ethical and open culture in which establishes safe routes of communication without reprisal, impartial and effective investigative procedures which respect confidentiality. The key principles therefore are to:

  • Provide avenues for employees to raise genuine concerns internally as a matter of course and receive feedback on actions taken
  • Ensure that matters are dealt with quickly and appropriately and ensure that concerns are taken seriously.
  • Re-assure employees that they will be protected from reprisals or victimisation for whistleblowing in good faith.
  • Allow employees to take the matter further if they are dissatisfied with the response.

What is whistleblowing?

The term "Whistleblowing" is used to describe a formal disclosure of alleged corruption, malpractice or wrongdoing made to the appropriate person in authority.

In the case of [Company] this disclosure might be the reporting of suspected wrongdoing or dangers in relation to our activities. This includes bribery, fraud or other criminal activity, miscarriages of justice, health and safety risks, damage to the environment and any breach of legal or professional obligations.

Operation

An employee should normally raise concerns to their line manager or where their line manager is the subject of concern, a director. Any issues concerning a director should be raised with the [CEO/Board].

The employee should set out the background and history of the concerns, giving names, dates, and places where possible, and the reasons why the employee is particularly concerned about the situation. If an employee does not feel able to put the concern in writing, the employee should telephone or meet their line manager or director. It is important, however that when the concern is raised, the employee makes it clear that they are raising the issue via the Whistleblowing Policy.

Although an employee is not expected to prove the truth of an allegation, they will need to demonstrate to the person contacted that there are sufficient grounds for concern. An initial meeting will be held between the individual raising the concern, and their line manager or director to establish whether there are genuine and sufficient grounds for concern and that the concern is appropriately being raised through the Whistleblowing Policy.

After the initial meeting, the line manager or director will determine if an investigation is appropriate and what form it should take. A record will be kept of this meeting and the agreed actions. In the case of any concerns regarding a director, the [CEO/Board] will determine if an investigation is appropriate.

The line manager or director will communicate with the employee during the investigative process and will write a response at the end of the process outlining the steps that have been taken and provide advice and guidance on further actions if the outcome is deemed inappropriate.

At all stages the identity of the individual raising the concern will be kept confidential as far as possible.

The line manager, director or [CEO/Board] will explain to the employee if that during the process it is uncovered that the allegations are in any way malicious or vexatious, then disciplinary action may be taken against them.

If the investigation finds the allegations to be unfounded the matter will be closed unless any new evidence is received.

Employees may bring a colleague or trade union representative to any meetings held under this policy, and a formal record will be kept.

External disclosure

The aim of this Policy is to provide an internal mechanism for reporting, investigating, and remedying any wrongdoing in the workplace. In most cases, employees should not find it necessary to alert anyone externally.

The law recognises that in some circumstances it may be appropriate for employees to report their concerns to an external body such as a regulator: it will very rarely if ever be appropriate to alert the media. [Company] would strongly encourage an employee to seek advice before reporting a concern externally. The independent whistleblowing charity, Public Concern at Work, operates a confidential helpline; they also have a list of prescribed regulators for reporting certain types of concern.

Their contact details are:

Public Concern at Work (Independent whistleblowing charity)

Helpline: (020) 7404 6609

E-mail: whistle@pcaw.co.uk

Website: www.pcaw.co.uk

If a matter is taken outside the Company, the employee must take all reasonable steps to ensure that confidential or privileged information is not disclosed.

Protection of the whistleblower

Individuals may be anxious that, by reporting genuine whistleblowing concerns their actions may leave them vulnerable. It is important to emphasise that [Company] will not tolerate the victimisation, intimidation, or penalisation of anyone raising a genuine concern, anyone involved in the subsequent investigation or anyone acting as a witness.

Anyone responsible for any such action against individuals making genuine disclosures will be the subject of disciplinary action.

The Law

This policy considers the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, which protects workers making disclosures about certain matters of concern, where those disclosures are made in accordance with the Act's provisions.

Monitoring and evaluation

The [name | HR Department] will monitor the operation and effectiveness of the Whistleblowing Policy

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This policy [does not] form[s] part of your terms and conditions of employment.

Version: [1.0]

Issue date: [date]

Author: [name, job title]

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