Whistleblowing enables employees, elected Members, contractors, members of the public and other third parties that the Combined Authority deals with to voice confidentially serious concerns over alleged malpractice and alleged wrongdoing within the Combined Authority.
The Combined Authority is committed to the highest possible standards in the delivery of its activities. In line with that commitment, individuals are encouraged to come forward and voice any serious concerns they may have about the Combined Authority’s operations. The full Whistleblowing Policy can be found in the Tees Valley Combined Authority Constitution.
Complaints systems are in place to provide a mechanism for individuals to complain about the standard of service, action or lack of action by the Combined Authority or its employees. If you are an employee of the Combined Authority, there are procedures in place to enable you to lodge a grievance relating to your own employment. The Whistleblowing Policy is intended to cover concerns that fall outside the scope of these procedures, e.g. malpractice or wrongdoing.
Malpractice and wrongdoing may be about something which:
- is unlawful;
- or against the Combined Authority’s Procedure Rules or policies;
- or is not in accordance with established standards of practice;
- or amounts to improper conduct by an Officer or a Member.
There are examples of issues that could be raised under this policy in the full document but the overriding concern should be that it would be in the public interest for the malpractice or wrongdoing to be corrected and, if appropriate, sanctions to be applied.
Concerns expressed anonymously are much less powerful, and they will be treated with caution and considered at the discretion of the Combined Authority. In exercising this discretion the factors to be taken into account would include:
- the seriousness of the issues raised;
- the credibility of the concern; and
- the likelihood of obtaining the necessary information and confirmation of the allegation.
Who should I contact?
Employees who wish to raise a concern should do so via their immediate line manager or supervisor. However, the most appropriate person to contact will depend on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is thought to be involved in the malpractice.
Elected Members who wish to raise a concern should do so by contacting the Combined Authority’s Monitoring Officer.
Members of the public or third parties who wish to raise a concern should do so by contacting the Combined Authority’s Governance Manager.
What action will be taken?
The action taken by the Combined Authority will depend on the nature of the concern. Where appropriate, the matters raised may:
- be investigated by management, internal audit, or through the disciplinary process
- be referred to the Police
- be referred to the external Auditor
- need to be the subject of a referral to the Combined Authority’s Monitoring Officer
- form the subject of an independent enquiry
This policy is intended to provide employees and other persons with an avenue to raise concerns within the Combined Authority and it is hoped that you will take this option in the first place. The Combined Authority hopes you will be satisfied with the action taken under the policy. If you are not, and you feel it is right to take the matter outside the Combined Authority, then depending upon the nature of the issue involved, the following are possible contact points:
- the External Auditor
- relevant professional bodies or regulatory organisations
- the Police
- the Local Government Ombudsman
- Public Concern at Work
- an independent legal adviser within the meaning of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
- a regulatory body designated for the purposes of the Public Interest Disclosure Act
If you do wish to take the matter outside the Combined Authority, you must first ensure that you do not disclose confidential information. Check with a nominated Officer or the Monitoring Officer about that. In addition, if you wish to secure the protections afforded by the Public Interest Disclosure Act, you must ensure that your disclosure is protected within the meaning of the Act and that it complies with a set of specific conditions which vary according to whom the disclosure is made. Again please check with the Governance Manager or the Monitoring Officer about these matters.
Peter Judge, Monitoring Officer