PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE – WHISTLEBLOWING 1. Policy Statement We are committed to ensuring that management malpractice is prevented and immediately dealt with if it should arise. Workers are encouraged to disclose (“blow the whistle”) on any management malpractice of which they become aware. We will make every effort to deal consistently with such disclosures in a fair, objective and discreet manner. Any employee who has concerns about malpractice within the workplace will not be punished or victimised for his or her disclosures of confidential information in good faith. Any victimisation or harassment of the employee for having raised legitimate concerns will be dealt with as a disciplinary offence. 2. Legal Position The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) inserted provisions into the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA). The public interest disclosure provisions provide special rights and protection for workers (not just employees) who disclose wrong doing by their employers, whether internally or externally. This policy encourages employees and workers to raise issues internally in order to promote better relations between ACB and its members of staff over wrong doing in the work place. The purpose of having the policy is to reduce the fear that employees or workers may have in telling their line managers or others about problems relating to matters such as health and safety or criminal activities for fear of being dismissed or victimised. The provisions of PIDA apply not only to employees and workers but also to third party contractors whose work is controlled by ACB. 3. Qualifying Disclosures There are limits on the matters about which an employee can complain. PIDA inserts a new provision into the ERA. Section 43B provides that a „qualifying disclosure‟ means any disclosure which in the reason or belief of the workers tends to show one or more of the following:- A criminal offence; A failure to comply with a legal obligation; A miscarriage of justice; The health and safety of any individual who is endangered; The environment is being damaged; Information relating to any of the above areas is being deliberately concealed. Discussion 4. Procedures for Disclosure If you become aware of any information which comes under the heading of a qualifying disclosure and this causes you concern, you may wish to raise the matter informally with your line manager and discuss with him or her the next steps which should be taken to bring the matter to the attention of senior management. If you prefer, you may disclose the information informally to your manager, or to the appropriate level of management within ACB. ACB will ensure that any disclosure made is kept as confidential as possible; however, you should be aware that it may be necessary to divulge such information during the course of any investigation. If an investigation into the allegations is thought necessary, employees should be informed that the allegations will be put to the person accused of the wrong doing. Employees should be informed of the progress and outcome of any investigation into the allegations. If an employee or worker or other person protected by PIDA is unhappy in the way in which the disclosure is received or dealt with, they should be advised to immediately raise that concern with senior management, and if necessary at the highest level with ACB. ACB is committed to ensuring that no employee/worker/other person is subjected to any detriments or victimised, by reason of having made a protected disclosure in good faith, and will do everything within its power to investigate the matter fully and take the appropriate action against any wrong doer. Line managers should be aware that employees are protected by PIDA against suffering from a detriment, for example dismissal, by reason of having made the disclosure. However, if you believe that a disclosure is made maliciously or with some ulterior motive (such as a grudge against a fellow employee), this may be treated as a disciplinary matter to be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure.
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