Whistle Blowing Policy

This policy refers to the whole school including EYFS and has regard for:

KCSIE, Sept 2020

The School’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy

Data Protection and Freedom of Information procedure

What is whistle blowing?

‘Whistle blowing is when someone who works in or for an organist ion passes on information or raises a concern, which they reasonable believe shows wrongdoing or a cover up by that organisation. For example, the information may be about activity that is illegal or that creates risks to health and safety of others. The concern may relate to something that has happened, is happening or that a person may fear will happen in the future.’Ofsted Whistle Blowing Guidance Jan 2016.

The law

The law provides legal protection to employees who reasonably believe that they are acting in the public interest and who ‘whistle blow’ to either appropriate people within their organisation or to a relevant third party, such as Ofsted or the West Berkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Staff who disclose wrongdoing are protected from being treated unfairly or losing their job. Staff may seek guidance from the NSPCC, a government prescribed body for Whistle Blowing issues.

If a member of staff believes that a child or children are at immediate risk they should follow the guidance given in the school’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.

This policy and procedure has been adopted by The Cedars to enable members of staff to raise concerns internally and in a confidential fashion about fraud, malpractice, health and safety, criminal offences, miscarriage of justice, and failure to comply with legal obligations, inappropriate behaviour or unethical conduct. This is set out in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

Our policy on whistle-blowing is intended to demonstrate that our School:

  • Has a culture of safety for raising concerns, valuing staff and of reflective practice.
  • Will not tolerate malpractice.
  • Respects the confidentiality of employees raising concerns and will provide procedures to maintain confidentiality so far as is consistent with progressing the issues effectively.
  • Will provide the opportunity to raise concerns outside of the normal line management structure where this is appropriate.
  • Will invoke the School’s disciplinary policy and procedure in the case of false, malicious, vexatious or frivolous allegations.
  • Will provide a clear and simple procedure for raising concerns, which is accessible to all employees.

Confidentiality

Members of staff who wish to raise a concern under this procedure are entitled to have the matter treated confidentially and their name will not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator of malpractice without their prior approval. It may be appropriate to preserve confidentiality that concerns are raised orally rather than in writing, although employees are encouraged to express their concern in writing wherever possible. If there is evidence of criminal activity the Police will be informed.

Reporting Procedure

The earlier a concern is reported the easier it is to take action.

As a first step concerns should normally be raised with the Head Teacher or her Deputy.

If the concern relates to the Head Teacher then it should be raised directly with the Local Authority Officer (LADO) on 0118 916 7770.

Concerns may be discussed between colleagues first, as it may be easier to raise the matter if there are two or more people who share the same concerns.

Concerns are better raised in writing. If this is not possible then a telephone call can be made to the appropriate person, or a meeting arranged.

The report, written or verbal, should set out the background and history of the concern, giving names, dates and places where possible and the reason behind the concerns about the situation.

External Procedures

It should be noted that under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, there are circumstances where an employee may be entitled to raise concerns directly with an external body (West Berkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership, police, Ofsted) where the member of staff reasonably believes that:

  • The concern is regarding the Head Teacher
  • It is justified by exceptionally serious circumstances.
  • The School would conceal or destroy the relevant evidence.
  • He or she would be victimised by the School.
  • The Secretary of State has ordered it e.g Ofsted.

Any concerns raised will be investigated thoroughly and in a timely manner, and appropriate corrective action will be pursued. The employee making the allegation will be kept informed of progress wherever possible and, subject to third party rights, will be informed of the outcome.

A member of staff who is not satisfied that his/her concern is being properly dealt with will have a right to raise it in confidence with the Head, Emma Wetherley (Head of Children’s House Nursery) or an appropriate outside body – such as ISI, HSE, West Berkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership..

False/ Malicious Accusations

False, malicious, vexatious or frivolous accusations will be treated as gross misconduct and dealt with under the Schools’ Disciplinary Procedures.

Contacting Oftsed and NSPCC

Ofsted 0300 1233155, e: whistleblowing@ofsted.gov.uk

NSPCC National Whistleblowing Advice Line 0800 028 0285

Policy adopted by Jane O’Halloran September 2008

Reviewed : September 2020