Whistleblowing is the act of raising a concern over risk, malpractice or wrong doing at any level of the party, i.e. nationally, regionally or locally. Protection for whistle-blowers in the UK is provided under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA), which amends the Employment Rights Act 1996. Only certain kinds of disclosure qualify for protection under the PIDA. These are known as "qualifying disclosures" and must relate to one of the following "relevant failures":
· A criminal offence.
· A breach of a legal obligation.
· A miscarriage of justice.
· A danger to any individual's health or safety.
· Damage to the environment.
· Deliberate covering up of information relating to any of the above.
In addition, the leader of the party and national executive committee is committed to an open and honest culture where any concern raised will be dealt with by conducting a full investigation while providing the whistle-blower with the full support they need by having a clear whistleblowing policy in place to protect everyone. The party understands reporting a concern is difficult but necessary to safeguard all of us. The common whistleblowing examples found but not restricted to include:
· Inadequate induction or training of members of the party no matter what their position is
· A suspicion that any aspect of UK Statute [health & safety, equality, electoral commission law, company law, etc., is being ignored or worst flouted]
· Leadership failing to discharge their legal or party duty, i.e. the leader of the party or any member of the national executive committee
· A lack of, or poor, response to a concern reported to the party
· A suspicion of fraud, theft or discrimination
· A bullying culture [across a team or the party rather than individual instances of bullying].
· Unsafe working conditions
Whistleblowers must have a reasonable belief that the information disclosed points to one or more of the relevant failures (see above), which can relate to past, present or likely future occurrences.
It does not matter if you are mistaken or if there is an innocent explanation for your concerns provided you have acted in good faith you will be protected and you will be free from any type of victimisation, harassment or reprisal. Should such behaviour be levelled at you full disciplinary action will be taken against the perpetrator[s] including the use of legal recourse if required?
Confidentiality - we hope you can raise your concern openly with the Head of Admin & HR and the Party Secretary, as they are the party executives with responsibility for whistleblowing. If your concern is over either of them contact the Head of Legal and Compliance. Your concern can be reported in person, by phone, by email or by post. In doing so be ready to explain as fully as you can the information and circumstances that gave rise to your concern along with dates and or supporting evidence.
Full confidentiality will be maintained including your identity throughout the process to safeguard you. However, by providing your name to the party executives responsible for whistleblowing they can provide you feedback on the outcome. Despite being respectful of your right to full privacy it will be disclosed if required by law [police].
If you don’t feel comfortable about raising your concern internally you can raise it externally by contacting any institution that would be responsible for your concern. For example, the Electoral Commission https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/contact-us/our-offices Companies house, HMRC, the Media, the Police, etc. Each of these institutions will have their own whistle-blower policy in place to safeguard you while conducting a thorough investigation.
Once you raise your concern, the VAPP will confirm in writing within three working days of your concern being raised. The whistle-blower executives will immediately open an investigative file, which file will hold contemporaneous notes, i.e. date, time, interviews, if confidentiality requested a summary of your concern[s], updates and feedback. The Party will seek the earliest outcome practical to your concern and where legally required will appoint an independent party to verify outcomes. At all times the party will seek to put right and learn from the concern raised with its investigation objective led by seeking evidence to produce a report to identify and rectify concern to prevent recurrence. The VAPP throughout the process will adhere to Data protection issues. This means all information gathered must be proportionate to the purpose for which it is obtained and
retained no longer than is objectively necessary or required by legislation. It also means the accused party's right to access data, and rectify or erase any that is inaccurate