Our preschool is committed to the highest standards of openness, honesty and accountability. In line with this we encourage employees and others with serious concerns about any aspect of the settings operations to come forward and voice those concerns. Staff have the right and individual responsibility to raise any matters of concern regarding poor practice at work. Staff have responsibility for the safety and well being of all children attending the setting and this is priority over loyalty towards colleagues.
The public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (whistleblowing Act) which amended the Employment Rights Act 1996 to provide protection for employees who raise legitimate concerns about specified matters.
What concerns are covered?
This setting also has policies and procedures covering discipline, grievance, complaints and safeguarding, this policy is intended to complement these and cover those serious concerns that fall outside the scope of the others. They may relate to improper conduct, unethical conduct, health and safety risks, law breaking, misuse of money, damaging to the environment, abuse, threat to national security, or concealment of any of the above.
How to raise a concern
All concerns should be raised in the first instance with the designated person, this will be your immediate manager, if this is not appropriate then with their manager or chair of the preschool committee. This will depend on whom you believe is involved, the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues causing concern.
Concerns are best raised in writing. Set out a background of your concerns stating names, dates and places where possible and reasons why you are concerned. The earlier you express your concerns the easier it is to take action. If you do not put your allegations in writing the person to whom you make the complaint will make a written record of the interview and will ask you to confirm its accuracy with a signature.
You will not be expected to prove the truth about your allegations but will be required to demonstrate there are sufficient grounds for your concern.
You should NOT investigate the matter yourself, alert those suspected of being involved, approach or accuse individuals, tell anyone other than the designated person.
How will the concern be dealt with?
You should receive written acknowledgement of your concern within a week, and a copy of your statement if appropriate. Within two weeks you will be informed of what action is being taken, kept up to date with progress of the investigation and its outcome.
Care will be taken to:
protect the employees concerned.
avoid alerting anyone about whom a concern has been raised.
avoid alerting other employees who may then warn the subject of the concern.
record the information as it may later need to be used in a formal hearing.
keep all records confidential.
No further investigation due to anonymous report, not enough or inaccurate information, no grounds for concern found.
If urgent action is required this will be taken before any investigation is conducted.
Management may investigate internally or through the disciplinary process, matters may be referred to the Police, Ofsted or the Local Authority.
What to do if you are not satisfied with the outcome?
You may take your concerns directly to the 0-5 team at the BCP Council on 01202 262274, or to Ofsted at the whistle blower hotline 0300 123 3155 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get free and confidential advice from the independent whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work by calling 020 7404 6609 or e-mail email@example.com. Advice is also available from the NSPCC whistle blowing advice line for anyone concerned about how work place child protection issues are being handled on 0800 0280285.
All concerns will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal your identity if you so wish. At the appropriate time, however, you may need to come forward as a witness.
Concerns expressed anonymously, are much less powerful and harder to investigate, however they may be considered.
If an employee raises a concern in good faith, but it is subsequently confirmed by the investigation to be untrue, no action will be taken against the employee. However if the allegation is found to have been frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain, disciplinary action may be taken against the employee.
This policy was reviewed August 2020
Signed on behalf of the Preschool Anne Ridgway and Heather Gardner