Whistleblowing policy

Details of Scripture Union's Whistleblowing policy can be found below…

Scripture Union is committed to maintaining high standards of openness, integrity, accountability and transparency as an organisation.

This policy sets out the way in which individuals may raise a serious concern about misconduct or malpractice in the workplace in order to promote good governance and accountability in the public interest and to do so with confidence and without having to worry about being victimised, discriminated against or disadvantaged in any way as a result. 

Scripture Union considers whistleblowing to be the disclosure by a person, usually an employee or volunteer, to the public or those in authority of confidential information that relates to wrongdoing or malpractice in an organisation or workplace. Malpractice could be improper, illegal or negligent behaviour by anyone in the workplace.

Scope of this policy

This policy applies to all employees and volunteers of Scripture Union, including permanent and short-term employees as well as external consultants, contractors and agency staff whilst at Scripture Union.

This policy is concerned with the disclosure of information that is, or may be, in the public interest and is not intended to replace other Scripture Union policies which cover issues such as safeguarding, fraud or standards of behaviour at work.  Before raising their concerns under this procedure, individuals should consider whether the matter is covered by another Scripture Union policy, such as the Safeguarding Policy, Anti-Fraud Policy or Grievance Policy. Staff, volunteers, supporters and beneficiaries should make complaints through Scripture Union’s Complaints Procedure.

If any individual is unsure whether to use this procedure or they want independent advice at any stage, they may wish to contact Public Concern at Work, an independent charity, on their legal helpline 020 7404 6609 or by email: [email protected]

The policy deals with serious or sensitive concerns about wrongdoings or malpractice which are, or may be, in the public interest, such as:

  • a criminal offence
  • a failure to comply with any legal obligation
  • abuse or exploitation of a child or adult at risk
  • a miscarriage of justice  
  • a health and safety risk to an individual
  • damage to the environment 
  • unacceptable fundraising practices 
  • a deliberate attempt to cover up any of the above

It is not necessary for individuals who raise the concern to prove the wrongdoing or malpractice that is alleged to have occurred or is likely to occur.  However, if an individual knowingly or maliciously makes an untrue allegation, this may constitute serious misconduct and Scripture Union may take appropriate disciplinary action against them.

Raising a concern in the workplace

The officer designated to handle whistleblowing concerns is the Company Secretary and will be known as the Whistleblowing Officer.

Individuals should first report their concern to their line manager/volunteer team leader and, wherever possible, provide a written account of their concern.  If the individual’s line manager/volunteer team leader is personally implicated in the matter, it should be raised with the National Director or Chair of the Trustees.

Wherever possible, employees will be given the opportunity to be accompanied by a colleague or, in the case of volunteers, suitable companion, during any meetings or interviews about the concerns they have raised.

Protecting the individual raising the concern

If an individual raises a concern which they believe to be true, Scripture Union will take appropriate action to protect the individual from any harassment, victimisation or bullying.  Employees or volunteers who raise a genuine concern under this policy will not be at risk of losing their job/volunteer role, nor will it influence any unrelated disciplinary action or, in the case of employees, redundancy procedures.

The matter will be treated confidentially if the individual requests it and their name or position will not be revealed without their permission unless Scripture Union has to do so by law.

How Scripture Union will deal with the concern

How the concern will be dealt with will depend on what it involves.  It is likely that further enquiries and/or investigation will be necessary.  The concern may be investigated by Scripture Union’s Whistleblowing Officer, through the disciplinary process or it may be referred to the police, an external auditor or an independent investigator.

If the suspicions are not confirmed by an investigation, the matter will be closed.  Staff and volunteers will not be treated or regarded any differently for raising the concern, and their confidentiality will continue to be protected.

The Whistleblowing Officer will report all disclosures of information and investigation findings to the Trustees.

Data protection

When an individual makes a disclosure, Scripture Union will process any personal data collected in accordance with its Data Protection Policy. Data collected from the point at which the individual raises the concern will be held securely and accessed by and disclosed to individuals only for the purposes of dealing with the disclosure.

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