1 KEMPSEY PRIMARY SCHOOL Exceptional education with respect for ourselves - each other - our environment We have high expectations and aim to: 1. provide excellence through secure and inclusive learning opportunities and facilities for all learners 2. ensure a happy atmosphere in which all learners value their education, are challenged and encouraged to reach their full potential 3. foster the positive values, attitudes and skills that learners need to be confident, healthy, well adjusted, productive and responsible community members Whistle Blowing Policy Introduction The staff and governors of Kempsey Primary School seek to run all aspects of school business and activity with full regard for high standards of conduct and integrity. In the event that members of school staff, parents, governors or the school community at large become aware of activities which give cause for concern, Kempsey Primary School has established the following „whistle blowing policy‟, or code of practice, 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 derogatory 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. The term Whistle Blower applies to any member of the school community and includes staff, governors, parents, carers or appropriate visitor, inspector or adviser. Kempsey Primary School is committed to tackling fraud and other forms of malpractice and treats these issues seriously. Kempsey Primary School recognises that some concerns may be extremely sensitive and has therefore developed a system which allows for the confidential raising of concerns within the school environment but also has recourse to an external party outside the management structure of the school. Kempsey Primary School is 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 and not matters of more general grievance, which would be dealt with under the schools grievance procedures. 2 When might the ‘whistle blowing’ policy apply. The type of activity or behaviour, which Kempsey Primary School considers should be dealt with under this policy, includes: Manipulation of accounting records and finances Inappropriate use of school assets or funds Decision-making for personal gain Any criminal activity Abuse of position Fraud and deceit Serious breaches of school procedures, which may advantage a particular party (for example tampering with tender documentation, failure to register a personal interest) Sexual or physical abuse or harassment of pupils or other workers Other unethical conduct This list is not exhaustive. This Policy complements complaints and statutory reporting procedures already in place for service users and non-employees and reflects the legal protection afforded by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. It is not designed to be a substitute for the school‟s grievance, disciplinary or harassment policies. If you have a personal concern unrelated to malpractice, please use the school‟s Grievance Procedure or Harassment Policy as appropriate, copies of which are available from your Head teacher. What action should the whistleblower take. Kempsey Primary School encourages the whistleblower to raise the matter internally in the first instance to allow those school staff and governors in positions of responsibility and authority the opportunity to right the wrong and give an explanation for the behavior or activity. Kempsey Primary School 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. Position Name Contact details Head teacher Mr. Adrian Osborne 01905 862787, firstname.lastname@example.org, letter c/o the school office marked private/confidential Chair of Governors Mr. Simon Lucas In the case where direct contact is not possible then concerns should be addressed to Marian Walters as Governor Mr Andy Bradley Clerk to Governors, in an envelope marked private and confidential. Deputy Headteacher Mrs Sarah Swatton letter c/o the school office marked private/confidential 3 The whistleblower may prefer to raise the matter in person, by telephone or in written form marked private and confidential and addressed to one of the above named individuals. Those who wish to make a written report are invited to use the following format: The background and history of the concern (giving relevant dates) The reason why you are particularly concerned about the situation And the extent to which you have personally witnessed or experienced the problem (provide documented evidence where possible). The earlier concerns are expressed the easier it will be to take action. Although you are not expected to prove beyond doubt the truth of the allegation, you will need to demonstrate to the person contacted that there are reasonable grounds for your concern. Staff may wish to consider discussing their concern with a colleague first and they may find it easier to raise the matter if there are two (or more) of you who have had the same experience or concerns Alternatively if the whistleblower considers the matter too serious or sensitive to raise within the internal environment of the school, the matter should be directed in the first instance to the Worcestershire Education Services. 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‟s Gardens London EC1N 7RJ Telephone number 020 7404 6609 Email: email@example.com. Confidentiality The Kempsey Primary School will do its best to respect the confidentiality of any “whistle- blowing” complaint received where the complainant requests confidentiality. However, it will be easier to investigate and verify complaints if the complainant is prepared to give his/her name. It must be appreciated that the investigation process may reveal the source of the information. A statement by the complainant may be required as part of the evidence being gathered and at the appropriate time, it may be necessary for the complainant to come forward as a witness. 4 Anonymous allegations This policy encourages complainants to put their names to their allegations whenever possible. Concerns expressed anonymously are less persuasive, but they will be considered at the discretion of the investigating officer(s). In exercising the discretion, the factors to be taken into account would include: The seriousness of the issue raised; The credibility of the concern; and The likelihood of confirming the allegations from attributable sources. How will the matter be progressed? The individual(s) in receipt of the information or allegation the investigating officer(s) will acknowledge receipt of the referral within 48 hours. They will then carry out a preliminary investigation usually within one of receipt of the referral week during school term. 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 school staff, legal or personnel advisors, the police and the Education Authority. Further time lines/contact will be agreed between the whistle blower and the investigating officer following the initial investigation. These arrangements may vary depending on the nature and severity of the issue. Records will be kept of work undertaken and actions taken throughout the investigation. The investigating officer(s), possibly in conjunction with the governing body, will consider how best to report the findings and what corrective action needs to be taken. Records will be kept of work undertaken and actions taken throughout the investigation. The investigating officer(s), possibly in conjunction with the governing body, will consider how best to report the findings and what corrective action needs to be taken. Access to records will be restricted to a need to know basis and will be kept securely with the head teacher office. Access to the records during an investigation will initially be decided by the Investigating Officer(s). It is important to remember that should a third party referral be necessary – full disclosure will be required. Access to records following a third party referral will be made following advice from that third party referral. In the case of a complaint being made against the head, the records will be held by the Chair of Governors for security. A record of all complaints of whistle blowing will be kept for a period of 5 years, from the date of completion. Contained within the records will be the investigation outcomes. 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, where appropriate, 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 the Education Authority. 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(s), the governing body and/or the Education Authority. 5 Respecting confidentiality Wherever possible Kempsey Primary School seeks to respect the confidentiality and anonymity of the whistleblower and will as far as possible protect him/her from reprisals. Kempsey Primary School will not tolerate any attempt to victimize 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 Existing good practice within Kempsey Primary School in terms of its systems of internal control both financial and non-financial and the external regulatory environment in which the school operates ensure that cases of suspected fraud or impropriety rarely occur. This „whistle blowing‟ 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 school. This document is a public commitment that concerns are taken seriously and will be acted upon.
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