Whistleblowing/’Speak Up’ Policy Statement

1 Introduction

Sounddelivery Media aims to conduct itself ethically, with honesty and integrity.  We are committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability – we also expect the same high standards from all our people: employees, trustees, agency staff, and volunteers, including those involved in our programmes.  

We do recognise, however, that there may be occasions when we – or our people – do not get this right.  In these circumstances, you may feel that you need to raise your genuine and serious concerns through this whistleblowing policy .

2 The aim of this policy

The aims of this policy are to: 

  • provide an effective way for you to raise serious concerns; 
  • ensure that you receive feedback on any action undertaken by us as a result of you raising serious concerns; 
  • enable Sounddelivery Media to investigate those concerns and take action when appropriate
  • ensure that you will be protected from reprisals or victimisation for having raised your concern in good faith; 
  • signpost you to further options available to you if you are dissatisfied with our response, or if internal investigation is not appropriate; and 
  • allow Sounddelivery Media  to take action against any employee who makes allegations in bad faith and/or publicly discloses information when it is unreasonable for them to do so.

3 Who does this policy apply to?

This policy applies to everyone who works for and volunteers with Sounddelivery Media. This means our employees, volunteers including Trustees, agency/freelance workers, interns, and contractors.  It also applies to those participating in our programmes.

4 What is Whistleblowing?

‘Whistleblowing’ is a term used to refer to someone speaking up about a matter of concern; the internal or external disclosure of malpractice as well as illegal acts, or omissions, at work. It covers, for example, how we raise funds, how we commission work or make payments.

5 Protecting individuals using this policy

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 amended the Employment Rights Act 1996 and it provides protection for individuals who raise legitimate concerns about specified matters, outlined below. 

These are called ‘qualifying disclosures’. A qualifying disclosure is one made in good faith by an individual who has a reasonable belief that there has been:

  • a criminal offence (including fraudulent and corrupt behaviour, eg theft, fraud or malpractice)
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • an act creating risk to health and safety
  • an act causing damage to the environment
  • a breach of any other legal obligation, or
  • concealment of any of the above.

6 Malicious disclosures

If it is found that you have maliciously raised a matter which you know to be untrue or you are involved in any way in the malpractice, wrongdoing or illegal acts or omissions, your behaviour may be addressed through the appropriate Sounddelivery Media policy.

7 Non-whistleblowing concerns

This policy is only to be used in the circumstances as outlined in section 5 above.  There are a number of Sounddelivery Media policies that will be relevant in other circumstances. This list includes, but is not limited to:

8 Raising a concern 

You should raise your whistleblowing concern as soon as possible. This will make it easier to act and to enable any problems to be resolved or reported quickly. You should also raise any concerns about ongoing risk(s) to yourself or others. 

You can make your disclosure orally but written disclosures are preferable as these will make the process more efficient and effective. In your disclosure, you should:

  • provide any relevant context and background, including relevant dates, venues, names etc 
  • state clearly the reason why the situation is a cause for concern. 

You must say that you are raising your concern using the whistleblowing policy and whether you wish your identity to be kept confidential. While we will make every effort to deal with your case confidentially, depending on the circumstances of the case this may not always be possible. Where this is the case, you will be informed of this and the reasons why it was not possible. 

We will consider anonymous disclosures, but we do not encourage them as anonymity often makes it difficult to properly investigate concerns, protect employees or give feedback on outcomes.

9 Who should I raise it with?

You should always look to raise the matter with your line manager in the first instance. Where this is not appropriate because they may be involved in the alleged malpractice, wrongdoing or illegal acts or omissions in some way, raise your concern with their manager. 

In some circumstances where it would be inappropriate for you to approach your manager or their manager you should raise the matter directly with the Chair of the Charity. Alternatively, you may raise your concerns with another of the Trustees – we have a completely separate route for such purposes.  The email address speakup@sounddelivery.org.uk is only accessible by a Trustee, ensuring complete independence from the paid staff of the Charity.  This is important to ensure an available route for any anonymous disclosures. 

Our trustee Craig Jones is currently supporting us in this way and he can be accessed independently through the above email address. 

If appropriate, the concern may be investigated externally and independent of Sounddelivery Media, and for appropriate follow-up action to be taken.

10 What happens after I raise a concern?

Your disclosure will always be acknowledged within three working days.

It will be investigated by the individual that you raise your concern with..

They will arrange to meet you as soon as possible, away from the workplace if necessary, to enable you to explain your concern, as outlined in section 8, above.

As per section 8 above, we may not always be able to keep your details confidential but we will always let you know if it is not possible to do so.

You will be told either at the meeting or as soon as possible afterwards, what action will be taken to address the concern you have raised. Where action is not taken, you will be informed and given an explanation. The action taken in response to a disclosure will depend on the nature of the concern.

Typically, the matters raised may result in one or more of the following:

  • action being taken under other Sounddelivery Media policy or procedure;
  • an internal investigation under this policy;
  • a referral to the police or relevant statutory body;
  • a referral to Sounddelivery Media’s external auditors;
  • a referral to the Charity Commission;
  • an independent enquiry;
  • no action is required.

Any Sounddelivery Media manager or Trustee receiving a potential whistleblowing concern must notify the Board immediately that a concern has been raised and inform them of progress in resolving the concern.

11 Raising a concern externally

We strongly encourage you to exhaust the internal processes set out above in the first instances.

In exceptional or urgent circumstances, however, or where, having made a disclosure, you are unhappy with the outcome, you have a legal right to make a disclosure to prescribed bodies.

These include but are not limited to:

  • the Charity Commission;
  • HM Revenue & Customs;
  • the Health and Safety Executive;
  • the Financial Services Authority;
  • the Office of Fair Trading;
  • the Environment Agency;
  • fundraising regulator.

Similar to the rights and obligations of an employee, Sounddelivery Media reserves the right to make a referral to any of the above agencies without your consent.

12 Making a disclosure to the press

Disclosures to the press will not be considered reasonable and may constitute misconduct. As such, the matter might be treated as a disciplinary matter in accordance with our disciplinary and grievance procedures.

13 Further help and assistance

If, at any stage in the procedure, you are unsure about what to do and would like independent advice, you can discuss your concern with someone at Protect. This body is an independent charity staffed by lawyers, which offers confidential free legal and practical advice on how people can raise concerns about malpractice at work. 

They can also provide advice about what legal protection may be available to you. You can contact Protect via: https://protect-advice.org.uk/contact-protect-advice-line/ or phone them on their advice line: 020 3117 2520

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