WOC-UKs Whistleblowing Policy
The Whistleblowing Procedure sets out the framework for dealing with allegations of illegal and improper conduct. World Orthopaedic Concern UK (WOC UK) is committed to the highest standards of transparency, probity, integrity and accountability. This procedure is intended to provide a means of making serious allegations about standards, conduct, financial irregularity or possible unlawful action in a way that will ensure confidentiality and protect those making such allegations in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from being victimised, discriminated against or disadvantaged. This procedure is intended to ensure that World Orthopaedic Concern UK complies with its duty under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
This procedure applies to all World Orthopaedic Concern UK Trustees and members, including associates and contractors. If an member or equivalent has a concern about the conduct of a fellow member or equivalent 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 Executive Director or Treasurer Trustee or if more appropriate through the Charity Commission’s whistle blowing unit. This procedure applies to, but is not limited to, allegations about any of the following:
• Conduct which is an offence or breach of the law
• Alleged miscarriage of justice
• Serious Health and Safety risks
• The unauthorised use of public funds
• Possible fraud and corruption
• Sexual, physical or verbal abuse, or bullying or intimidation of members, Trustees or service users
• Abuse of authority
• Other unethical conduct
Contact details for reporting to World Orthopaedic Concern UK
In the event where it is felt that there is no-one at WOC UK who the complaint can be reported to, then you can report suspected wrongdoing in any organisation you work for by making a whistleblowing complaint directly to the Charity Commission (if you are in England or Wales) using the following email address:
Contact details for reporting to World Orthopaedic Concern UK
In the event where it is felt that there is no-one at WOC UK who the complaint can be reported to, then you can report suspected wrongdoing in any organisation you work for by making a whistleblowing complaint directly to the Charity Commission (if you are in England or Wales) using the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
WOC UK 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 WOC UK and/or to those for whom WOC UK or they are providing a service. WOC UK will take appropriate action to protect a whistle-blower who makes a serious allegation in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from any reprisals, harassment or victimisation.
All allegations will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal a whistle-blower’s identity unless the whistle-blower otherwise requests. However, this may not be possible if the matter is subsequently dealt with through other WOC UK disciplinary procedures, or for example, if the allegation results in court proceedings then the whistle-blower may have to give evidence in open court if the case is to be successful.
WOC UK will not, without the whistle-blower’s consent, disclose the identity of a whistle-blower to anyone other than a person involved in the investigation/allegation.
This procedure encourages whistle-blowers 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 the Executive Committee. 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
No disciplinary or other action will be taken against a whistle-blower who 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 whistle-blower 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).
Procedure for making an allegation
Allegations may be made to any member of the executive committee. However, this may depend on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is suspected of the malpractice. For example, if the whistle-blower believes that a committee member is involved then it would be inappropriate to raise it directly with them. The whistle-blower may then make an allegation direct to any of the following:
• The Chairman
• The Secretary
• The Treasurer
If any of the above receive an allegation he/she will consider the allegation and may discuss with the executive committee and with the whistle-blower. In the event that a decision is made to proceed, the allegation will be investigated.
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.
Action on receipt of an allegation
The representative of the executive committee will record details of the allegation gathering as much information as possible, (within 10 working days of receipt of the allegation) including:
• The record of the allegation:
• The acknowledgement of the allegation;
• Any documents supplied by the whistle-blower
The investigator will ask the whistle-blower 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 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 Board of Trustees and a decision will be made as to whether to inform the Police. If the allegation concerns suspected harm to children or vulnerable adults the appropriate authorities will be informed immediately.
Timetable An acknowledge the allegation in writing within 28 working days with
• An indication of how WOC UK 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 whistle-blower support mechanisms
• Indication whether further investigations will take place and if not, why not
Where the allegation has been made internally and anonymously, obviously WOC UK will be unable to communicate what action has been taken.
WOC UK will take steps to minimise any difficulties which may be experienced as a result of making an allegation. For instance, if a whistle-blower is required to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings WOC UK will help signpost them to relevant advice about the procedure and signpost to any available advice on the support mechanisms that are available.
WOC UK accepts that whistle-blowers 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.
Responsibility for the procedure
The Executive Committee, and in particular the Chairman, will have 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.
Monitoring A Register will record the following details:
• The name and status (e.g. member) of the whistle-blower
• 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 confidential and only available for inspection by the Charity Commission.