Whistleblower Protection Policy
1 What is a whistleblower?
You’re a whistle-blower if you’re a worker (employees, contractors, consultants, officers, interns, casual and agency workers) and you report certain types of wrongdoing. This will usually be something you’ve seen at work - though not always.
The wrongdoing you disclose must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others, for example the general-public.
Personal grievances that you may have (for example bullying, harassment, discrimination) are not covered by whistleblowing law, unless your particular case is in the public interest (we recommend you seek independent advice if you believe your case is in the public interest). For personal grievances you should use the company HR process.
We are committed to operating at all times, and in everything that we do, to the highest standards of integrity. However, should you become aware of such wrongdoing, you can raise your concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or you believe will happen in the near future.
Please follow the procedure outlined in this policy to immediately report any concerns that you have about this kind of conduct, so that we can take the necessary action to address these concerns as fast as possible.
As a whistleblower you’re protected by law - you should not be treated unfairly or lose your job because you ‘blow the whistle’.
2 Wrongdoing that counts as whistleblowing
You’re protected by law if you report any of the following:
- a criminal offence, for example fraud.
- someone’s health and safety is in danger.
- risk or actual damage to the environment.
- a miscarriage of justice.
- the company is breaking the law, for example does not have the right insurance.
- you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing.
The following complaints do not count as whistleblowing.
- Personal grievances (for example bullying, harassment, discrimination) are not covered by whistleblowing law, unless your particular case is in the public interest.
Report these under your employer’s grievance policy) for help and advice on resolving a workplace dispute.
Wrongdoing does not just cover the actions of the company but also covers the actions of third parties such as suppliers, service providers, and clients, as well as our staff.
If you are concerned about a third party, please also raise them with us in accordance with section 6.
3 Who is protected by law?
You’re protected if you’re a worker, for example you’re:
- an employee, such as a police officer, NHS employee, office worker, factory worker
- a trainee, such as a student nurse
- an agency worker
- a member of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
You should seek independent advice if you’re not sure you’re protected, for example from Citizens’ Advice.
A confidentiality clause or ‘gagging clause’ in a settlement agreement is not valid if you’re a whistleblower.
4 How do we protect whistleblowers?
There are no reprisals for mistakes or if following our investigations, (which we will always conduct thoroughly and conscientiously), we conclude that there has been no breach of law or wrongdoing.
However, to qualify for protection, the disclosure must, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure, show that one of forms wrongdoing set out in section 2 has occurred.
If at any time, you do not feel that you have been fairly or properly treated by us in the handling of your whistleblowing concern, you must inform us immediately. You should inform the designated persons set out in section 6 in the first instance; and if you are not satisfied with the outcome of that conversation, you should follow the process set out in our grievance policy.
We also protect whistleblowers from others, so where a whistleblower reports to us that they have been treated inappropriately by others, (including having received threats as a result of raising their concerns), we will take disciplinary action against those individuals. The consequences of us taking this action could include dismissal of such individual(s) for gross misconduct. Whistleblowers may also be entitled to take personal legal action against those individuals.
If you would like more information about your rights as a whistleblower and how you are entitled to be protected, you can use the employee assistance program (EAP).
5 Confidentiality and anonymity
You are always encouraged to raise concerns openly, and we actively discourage anonymous whistleblowing. This is because it is not always easy to manage and to investigate anonymous reports, especially since if we are unable to ask you for clarification for further details, we may struggle to clarify and find evidence to investigate your concerns and reach an informed conclusion.
In these circumstances, we risk missing evidence or opportunities to gather important supporting information, or identify helpful witnesses, because we may simply be unaware of their existence, in spite of our best efforts to uncover them.
However, if you prefer to keep your identity anonymous, we will do all that we can to ensure that you retain your anonymity, and the confidentiality of your concerns, as far as possible. If we need to disclose your identity to others as part of the investigation, we will always discuss with you beforehand both our desire and our reasons for wishing to identify you.
We will protect you from reprisal as set out in section 4.
6 Who should I ‘blow the whistle’ to?
When you report concerns because you have a reasonable belief of wrongdoing to others which is in the public interest (as described in section 2) you should report them to the designated persons set out below:
- In the first instance you should report any concern to HR or your line manager.
- If the matter concerns HR or your line manager, then you should report the matter to the CEO or CFO.
- If the matter concerns the CEO or CFO, you should write to the Board of Directors.
If you would like independent support with respect to Whistleblowing you should use the EAP or contact Citizens Advice.
7 Whistleblowing to others outside Inspired PLC
Our policy covers the process for raising, investigating, and resolving wrongdoing within Inspired’s workplace.
The whistleblowing procedure has been designed to ensure that to the best of our ability, we are able to resolve any concerns raised and to protect you as part of this process.
For these reasons, we anticipate that it would be extremely rare, if ever necessary, for you needing to involve anyone outside of Inspired as part of this process.
However, we recognise that potentially, in exceptional circumstances, you might wish to involve an external body such as an industry regulator, for example and/or the independent charity Public Concern at Work, who can direct you towards the appropriate regulator for the type of issue you want to raise.
We do not recommend involving the media in a whistleblowing matter as this often has the effect of inflaming the situation, not assisting it. It can significantly hamper evidence gathering and the willingness of other relevant individuals to support the process.
As with every other matter relating to your employment, your duty of confidentiality and trust to your employer still exist and we would generally expect you to have taken all reasonable steps to deal with a whistle blowing matter internally, or with an external regulator and to have taken full advice from a lawyer or from Public Concern At Work, before you could justify involving the press.
We will treat any contact with the press as a serious disciplinary issue justifying dismissal unless such action has been taken on advisement.
8 What process should I follow?
Please follow this procedure:
- Raise your concerns with appropriate person, as set out in section 6, in the first instance. You may do so in writing or in person.
- Please explain that you are raising your concerns as part of the Inspired Energy PLC whistleblowing policy and procedure. Then set out all the key facts, including names of those involved and all relevant dates.
- You will be invited to a meeting at which you can discuss your concerns. You are entitled to bring someone with you to this meeting – and any subsequent meetings.
- That companion may be a colleague (or a trade union representative, if relevant). Anyone who accompanies you will be asked to agree to keep strictly confidential the contents of the meeting including any materials disclosed and/or examined during it. This obligation of confidentiality will extend before, during and after the meeting and any following investigation that we conduct in relation to the concerns raised by you.
- Following this meeting, we will investigate the matters raised and we may request that you come to additional meetings to assist us in our efforts. We may also decide to involve relevant external (or internal) specialists to help us conduct a thorough, fair and responsible investigation.
- Our relevant personnel involved in this investigation will keep you informed about the progress of the investigation as far as they are able. For a number of reasons, generally relating to legal obligations, including obligations of confidence, to others, or in relation to any legal advice that we may decide to take on our own behalf, we may not be able to share every detail of our discoveries or deliberations with you. We will always endeavour, however, to reassure you, as best as we can, of the fact that we are taking your concerns seriously and that we are conducting a responsible investigation.
- It is possible that the outcome of our investigations will not be one that you find satisfactory. If this happens, you are entitled to complain to the next level of escalation as set out in section 6.
If you have raised a concern in good faith, our process and all those involved in giving effect to it will support and protect you.
However, should a worker raise a false concern with us in bad faith (e.g. for malicious reasons), we will invoke our disciplinary policy and you may be subject to disciplinary action.
9 Whistleblowing Policy Review
This policy does not form part of your employment contract. We will review the effectiveness of this policy annually and whenever a change in the law occurs.
1st March 2023
Next review date
Annually or at point of incident
Approved and authorised by
Chief Executive Officer
View more group policies
Inspired PLC is committed to range of group policies including; anti-bribery and corruption, anti-discrimination and GDPR.