Whistleblowing Policy

Title

 

Whistleblowing Policy

 

Policy Statement

 

Sagoal is committed to the highest standards of transparency, probity, integrity and accountability.

The organisation has developed this Policy to demonstrate its commitment to open and accountable management. This policy is designed to allow staff to disclose information that they believe shows malpractice, unethical conduct or illegal practices in the workplace, without being penalised in any way. This includes protecting staff from any detriment or discrimination if they do report (i.e. ‘blow the whistle on’) improper or illegal conduct within the organisation.

Who must follow this policy

Sagoal staff, consultants, contractors and volunteers must follow this policy and we recommend following it for others connected with Sagoal’s work e.g. partners, beneficiaries, supporters.

Responsibility of Sagoal board

 

All reported concerns will be forwarded to the Sagoal board. The board shall be responsible for investigating, and making appropriate recommendations to the board members with respect to all reported concerns.

Responsibility for the implementation of the Policy

All employee of Sagoal will be given an appropriate briefing to ensure that they are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities under this Policy. A copy of the policy will be made available to all employees.   

The Sagoal board Treasurer has the overall responsibility for the operation of this Procedure and for determining the administrative processes to be followed and the format of the records to be kept.

The Programme Manager will ensure that any changes are clearly communicated to staff and volunteers.

Version

Final

Approved by

Sagoal EC

Approval date

June 2019

Next formal review

June 2022

  1. Scope:

This procedure does not replace other Sagoal policies or procedures. For example, if an employee has a grievance about their working conditions or, if s/he felt that their manager or a colleague was treating them unfavourably they should use the Sagoal grievance procedure outlined in the Sagoal Employment Policy Manuel.  

Similarly if an employee has a concern about the conduct of a fellow employee in the working environment (e.g. that they are not treating colleagues with respect) they should raise these with their line manager, or if that is not possible, with the Programme Manager or the Sagoal board chairperson or through the Sagoal whistle blowing policy

This procedure applies to, but is not limited to, allegations about any of the following:

  • Failure to comply with a legal obligation
  • Serious Health and Safety risks
  • Bribery
  • Financial malpractice, impropriety or fraud
  • Sexual, physical or verbal abuse, or bullying or intimidation of employees, customers or service users
  • Abuse of authority
  • Other unethical conduct
 
  1. Reporting:

Sagoal Board Chairperson, Treasurer can be contacted for reporting on the following details:

Sagoal Board Chairperson

Phone: 977 61 431791

Mobile: 977 9856028909

Email: whistleblowing@sagoal.org.np

Sagoal Board Treasurer

Phone: 977 61 431791

Mobile: 977 9846767436

Email: whistleblowing@sagoal.org.np

Sagoal recognises that the decision to make an allegation can be a difficult one to make. However, whistle blowers who make serious allegations in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so have nothing to fear because they are doing their duty either to Sagoal and/or to those for whom the Sagoal or they are providing a service.

Sagoal will take appropriate action to protect whistle-blowers that makes a serious allegation in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from any reprisals, harassment or victimisation.

 

  1. Confidentiality and Anonymity:

All allegations will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal a whistleblower’s identity unless the whistleblowers otherwise requests. However, if the matter is subsequently dealt with through other Sagoal procedures such as the Disciplinary Procedure. Similarly, if the allegation results in court proceedings then the whistleblower may have to give evidence in open court if the case is to be successful.

Sagoal will not, without the whistleblower’s consent, disclose the identity of a whistleblower to anyone other than a person involved in the investigation/allegation.

 

  1. Anonymous Allegations:

This policy encourages whistleblowers to put their name to an allegation wherever possible as anonymous allegations may often be difficult to substantiate/prove. Allegations made anonymously are much less powerful but anonymous allegations will be considered at the discretion of Chairperson or the Programme Manager.  

In exercising discretion to accept an anonymous allegation the factors to be taken into account:

  • The seriousness of the issue raised
  • The credibility of the allegation; and
  • Whether the allegation can realistically be investigated from factors or sources other than the complainant

 

  1. False Allegations:

No disciplinary or other action will be taken against a whistleblower that makes an allegation in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so even if the allegation is not substantiated by an investigation.  However, disciplinary action may be taken against a whistleblower who makes an allegation without reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so (e.g. making an allegation frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain where there is no element of public interest).

 

  1. Procedure for Making an Allegation:

It is preferable for allegations to be made to an employee’s immediate manager to whom they report. However, this may depend on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is suspected of the malpractice. For example, if the whistleblower believes that management is involved it would be inappropriate to raise it directly with them. The whistleblower may then make an allegation direct to any of the following:

  • Sagoal board Chairperson
  • Sagoal board Treasurer

If either of the above receives an allegation he/she will consider the allegation and may discuss with either the other members of the Sagoal board. The line manager (or either/or both) of the above, after consideration, will discuss with the whistleblower and if they wish to proceed with the allegation will be investigated.

 

  1. Allegation:

The line manager will record details of the allegation gathering as much information as possible, (within 5 working days of receipt of the allegation) including:

  • The record of the allegation:
  • The acknowledgement of the allegation;
  • Any documents supplied by the whistleblower

The investigator will ask the whistleblower for his/her preferred means of communication and contact details and use these for all communications with the whistleblower in order to preserve confidentiality.

If the allegation relates to fraud, potential fraud or other financial irregularity the Sagoal board Treasurer will be informed within 5 working days of receipt of the allegation. The Treasurer will determine whether the allegation should be investigated and the method of investigation.

If the allegation discloses evidence of a criminal offence it will immediately be reported to the Sagoal board members and a decision will be made as to whether to inform the Police. If the allegation concerns suspected harm to children the appropriate authorities will be informed immediately.

If the issue is around suspected harm to vulnerable adults, the Vulnerable Adults policy of Sagoal should be referred to.

 

  1. Allegation:

Whether a written or oral report is made it is important that relevant information is provided including:

  • The name of the person making the allegation and a contact point.
  • The background and history of the allegation (giving relevant dates and names and positions of those who may be in a position to have contributed to the allegation);
  • The specific reason for the allegation. Although someone making an allegation will not be expected to prove the truth of any allegations, they will need to provide information to the person they have reported to, to establish that that there are reasonable grounds for the allegation.

Someone making an allegation may be accompanied by another person of their choosing during any meetings or interviews in connection with the allegation. However, if the matter is subsequently dealt with through another procedure the right to be accompanied will at that stage be in accordance with the relevant procedure.

  1. Action on receipt of an Allegation:

The line manager will record details of the allegation gathering as much information as possible, (within 5 working days of receipt of the allegation) including:

  • The record of the allegation:
  • The acknowledgement of the allegation;
  • Any documents supplied by the whistleblower

The investigator will ask the whistleblower for his/her preferred means of communication and contact details and use these for all communications with the whistleblower in order to preserve confidentiality.

If the allegation relates to fraud, potential fraud or other financial irregularity the Treasurer of Sagoal board will be informed within 5 working days of receipt of the allegation. The Treasurer will determine whether the allegation should be investigated and the method of investigation.

If the allegation discloses evidence of a criminal offence it will immediately be reported to the Sagoal board members and a decision will be made as to whether to inform the Police. If the allegation concerns suspected harm to children the appropriate authorities will be informed immediately.

If the issue is around suspected harm to vulnerable adults, the Vulnerable Adults policy, should be referred to.

 
  1. Timetable:
  • An acknowledge the allegation in writing within10 working days with
  • An indication of how the Sagoal propose to deal with the matter
  • An estimate of how long it will take to provide a final response
  • An indication of whether any initial enquiries have been made
  • Information on whistleblower support mechanisms
  • Indication whether further investigations will take place and if not, why not

Where the allegation has been made internally and anonymously, obviously the Sagoal will be unable to communicate what action has been taken.

 

  1. Support:

Sagoal will take steps to minimise any difficulties which may be experienced as a result of making an allegation.  For instance, if a whistleblower is required to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings the Sagoal will arrange for them to receive advice about the procedure and advise on the support mechanisms that are available.

Sagoal accepts that whistleblowers need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Thus, subject to legal constraints, we will inform those making allegations of the outcome of any investigation.

  1. Monitoring:

A Register will be kept in Sagoal office to record the following details:

  • The name and status (e.g. employee) of the whistleblower
  • The date on which the allegation was received
  • The nature of the allegation
  • Details of the person who received the allegation
  • Whether the allegation is to be investigated and, if yes, by whom
  • The outcome of the investigation
  • Any other relevant details

The Register will be kept confidential and only available for inspection by the Sagoal Board members. 

The Programme Manager will report annually to the Board on the operation of the Procedure and on the whistleblowing allegations made during the period covered by the report. The report will be in a form which does not identify whistleblowers.

 

Approved by

Sagoal EC

June 2016

Reviewed by

Sagoal  EC

June 2019

Next Review

Sagoal EC

June 2022

Authorised signature and stamp

Sagoal EC Chairperson