Affinity Trust takes very seriously any form of malpractice or abuse and has created this policy to enable staff to raise concerns about such malpractice without fear of repercussion. This is known as “whistleblowing.”
The Whistleblowing Policy is designed to provide staff with protection and the reassurance that they will be listened to and their information will be acted upon. Enabling staff to feel assured that serious matters of abuse or malpractice will be addressed regardless of how they are brought to the attention of the correct people within the organisation or, if necessary, to the appropriate authority outside the organisation. If someone raises a concern in good faith and
believes it to be substantially true it will not matter if their belief is mistaken.
Whistleblowing can be seen as ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’ because the person is raising a concern about wrongdoing, danger or illegality that affects others, for example other employees, people we support, or members of the public. Affinity Trust also considers “whistleblowing” to be in the best interest of the organisation, the people we support and employees if it enables serious matters to be reported and investigated which otherwise might not be. As an early warning system, whistleblowing can help alert employers to risks such as;
- Any form of abuse of people we support
- Harassment of staff
- Dishonesty, fraud and corruption
- Conduct which is in breach of the law
- Procedures or practices or breaches of procedures which put at risk people wesupport, staff or members of the public
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. When considering raising a concern under the Whistleblowing Policy in relation to the people we support attention should be given to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults Policy and Procedure (England) if working in England or the Adult Support and Protection Policy if working n Scotland. In the instance that any concerns you have are in relation to a child then consideration should be given to our Child Protection Policy to ensure that as an organisation we are following the correct procedure and acting in a timely manner to safeguard people
Anyone who is unsure whether to raise a concern using the Whistleblowing Policy should in the first instance speak with either their Line Manager or one of Affinity Trust’s HR Business Partners. Alternatively if you are unsure about raising a concern via a member of Affinity Trust management or an HR representative, you may contact ‘Safecall’ or contact via their
website as below.
Safecall Telephone Number: 0800 915 1571
Safecall Website: www.safecall.co.uk/report
The most important thing is that your concerns are reported and that people we support and staff members are free from abuse.
All managers must recognise that reporting under this policy is often a difficult action for employees to take as they may well feel at some risk. Consequently, it is important to develop a culture in which the reporting of concerns is welcomed and that such reporting is responded to positively.
Procedure for reporting concerns
If you have a concern about malpractice, we hope you will feel able to raise it first with your line manager. This may be done verbally or in writing.
If you feel unable to raise the matter with your line manager, for whatever reason, then you are encouraged to go directly to their line manager, a member of the HR team or any other senior manager at a level that makes you feel more comfortable and confident. Staff who raise concerns may invite a trade union representative or a colleague to be present for support during any meetings or interviews in connection with the matter.
If you ask us to protect your identity, we will make every effort not to disclose your identity during the investigation. If the situation arises where we are not able to resolve the concern without revealing your identity (for instance because your evidence is needed in court), we will discuss this with you and how we can proceed. Affinity Trust will not tolerate the harassment or victimisation of anyone raising a genuine concern. As set out above, if someone raises a concern in good faith and believes it to be substantially true it will not matter if their belief is mistaken.
You will be asked to provide the following information:
- The nature of the concern and why you believe it to be true
- The background and history of the concern (giving relevant dates)
- Should you not feel comfortable raising the concern directly with a member of Affinity Trust management, we urge you to contact Safecall, an independent, confidential external reporting service on 0800 915 1571 or via their website. This is a 24/7 service and you do not need to give them your name if you prefer not to. They are staffed by highly skilled professional call handlers. Safecall will log your concern and summarise it in a report to - Director of Quality Improvement and Compliance, Head of People or the Chief Executive. They will appoint a relevant manager to investigate your concerns.
- Please bear in mind that we may not be able to investigate your concern effectively if we do not know where it has arisen. If your concern is about that member of senior management, they will refer the matter to the alternative member of Executive Team or the Chief Executive.
What you can expect from us
Once you have told us of your concern we will look into it to assess initially what action should be taken. This may involve informal inquiries or a more formal investigation.
If you have reported your concern via Safecall, they will give you a password to their portal so you’re able to see and amend your concern or provide more details. They will notify the allocated member of senior management as set out in paragraph 2.3 above on the following working day after your report to them.
Once you have raised a concern, either internally or via Safecall, and have consented to be contacted about it, we will acknowledge receipt of it within 3 working days and tell you who will investigate your concern. The person nominated to investigate will contact you to discuss your concern in detail.
When you raise the concern, you may be asked how you think the matter might best be resolved. If you do have any personal interest in the matter, we do ask that you tell us at the outset. If your concern falls more properly within the Grievance Procedure we will tell you.
While the purpose of this policy is to enable us to investigate possible malpractice and take appropriate steps to deal with it, we will give you as much feedback as we properly can, if you have provided us with your name. If requested, we will confirm our response to you in writing. However, we may not be able to tell you the precise action we have taken where this would infringe a duty of confidence owed by us to someone else.
Any updates that we provide to you on the progress of our investigations must be treated in complete confidence. We will communicate our findings to you within 14 working days of receipt of your concerns, should we require further time to investigate we will communicate this to you within the 14 day period outlined above. However, there may be circumstances where it is not appropriate to discuss with you our findings, for instance in the case of a disciplinary procedure or where the requirements of GDPR may be breached.
If the matter has been investigated and you still have concerns a member of the Executive will review the investigation into your concerns to determine if any further investigation or action is required. The person for you to contact and their contact details will be outlined in the letter sent to you with the investigator’s findings.
If you have followed this procedure and still have concerns, or if you feel that the matter is so serious that you cannot raise it within Affinity Trust or with Safecall, please contact the Care Quality Commission (England), Care Inspectorate (Scotland) for adults or alternatively the Local Authority Commissioning team in your area for both adults and children.
You can also contact Speak Up, the NHS and social care helpline online or by calling 08000 724 725.
This policy is based on the belief that people should not be penalised for disclosing information about malpractice where the disclosure is in the public interest and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 supports this approach.
This policy has been produced using Public Interest Disclosure Act - Whistleblowing Arrangements, code of practice.