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Whistleblowing Policy

Introduction

This policy applies to all staff, contractors and anyone who interacts with or observes Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) activity.

It is important to YEF that any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing by staff is reported and properly dealt with. We therefore encourage anyone to raise any concerns that they may have about the conduct of YEF, its staff or contractors or the way in which the organisation is run. This policy sets out the way in which individuals may raise any concerns that they have and how those concerns will be dealt with.

Background

The law provides protection for workers and employees who raise legitimate concerns about specified matters. These are called “qualifying disclosures”. A qualifying disclosure is one made in the public interest by an employee who has a reasonable belief that:

• a criminal offence;

• a miscarriage of justice;

• an act creating risk to health and safety;

• an act causing damage to the environment;

• a breach of any other legal obligation; or

• concealment of any of the above

is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed. It is not necessary for the employee to have proof that such an act is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed – a reasonable belief is sufficient. The worker or employee has no responsibility for investigating the matter – it is YEF’s responsibility to ensure that an investigation takes place.

Anyone who makes such a protected disclosure has the right not to be dismissed, subjected to any other detriment, or victimised because he/she has made a disclosure.

In addition to these protected disclosures, YEF is committed to preventing modern slavery and human trafficking in its own business and supply chain. More information can be found on our Modern Slavery Statement on our website. We are also committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. More information can be found in our Safeguarding Policy. This policy applies to employees who have reasonable belief that an instance of noncompliance has occurred in either of these areas and employees should report these disclosures using the procedures set out below.

YEF encourages anyone to raise their concerns under this procedure in the first instance. If you are not sure whether to raise a concern, you may discuss the issue with your line manager, human resources (HR), or through informally emailing hello@youthendowmentfund.org.uk to speak with a member of our team.

Principles

• Everyone should be aware of the importance of preventing and eliminating wrongdoing at work. Employees should be watchful for illegal or unethical conduct and report anything of that nature that they become aware of.

• Any matter raised under this procedure will be investigated thoroughly, promptly and confidentially, and the outcome of the investigation reported back to the individual who raised the issue.

• No individual or employee will be victimised for raising a matter under this procedure. This means that the continued employment and opportunities for future promotion or training of the employee or opportunities to partner with YEF on work will not be prejudiced because you have raised a legitimate concern.

• Victimisation of an individual or employee for raising a qualified disclosure will be a disciplinary offence.

• If misconduct is discovered as a result of any investigation under this procedure, Impetus’s, as the sole corporate Trustee of YEF, disciplinary procedure will be used, in addition to any appropriate external measures.

• Maliciously making a false allegation is a disciplinary offence.

• An instruction to cover up wrongdoing is itself a disciplinary offence. If told not to raise or pursue any concern, even by a person in authority such as a manager, individuals and employees should not agree to remain silent. They should report the matter to a YEF Director.

Procedure

This procedure is for disclosures about matters other than a breach of an employee’s own contract of employment. If you, as a YEF employee are concerned that your own contract has been, or is likely to be, broken, you should discuss it with HR and, if not satisfied with the response, follow YEF’s grievance procedure.

(1a) If you are a YEF employee: In the first instance, and unless you reasonably believe your line manager to be involved in the wrongdoing, or if for any other reason you do not wish to approach your line manager, any concerns should be raised with them first. If you believe your line manager to be involved, or for any reason do not wish to approach your line manager, then you should proceed straight to stage 3.

(1b) If you are external to the organisation: please email serious.incidents@youthendowmentfund.org.uk with the details of the incident you are reporting. This will be picked up within 24 hours by our Chief Operations Officer.

(2) The line manager will arrange an investigation of the matter by immediately passing the issue to either the Senior HR & Operations Manager or the Chief Operating Officer. If submitted through serious.incidents@youthendowmentfund.org.uk, the matter will be picked up by our Chief Operations Officer. The investigation may involve you and other individuals involved giving a written statement. Any investigation will be carried out in accordance with the principles set out above. Your statement will be taken into account, and you will be asked to comment on any additional evidence obtained. The designated individual who carried out the investigation will then report to the Chief Operating Officer or Executive Director (the Executive Director will report to the Chair of the YEF Committee as appropriate), who will take any necessary action, including reporting the matter to any appropriate government department or regulatory agency. If disciplinary action is required, then the designated individual who carried out the investigation will report the matter to HR and start the disciplinary procedure. On conclusion of any investigation, you will be told the outcome of the investigation and what the Chief Operating Officer or Executive Director has done, or proposes to do, about it. If no action is to be taken, the reason for this will be explained.

(3) If as an employee you are concerned that your line manager is involved in the wrongdoing you should in the first instance contact the Chief Operating Officer. Any approach to the Chief Operating Officer will be treated with the strictest confidence and your identity will not be disclosed without your prior consent.

(4)If you are concerned that the individual first assigned to the investigation has failed to activate a proper investigation, you should inform the Executive Director who will arrange for another member of the leadership team to review the investigation carried out, make any necessary enquiries and make his/her own reports as necessary as in stage 2 above.

(5) If on conclusion of stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, you reasonably believe that the appropriate action has not been taken, you should report the matter to the proper authority. The legislation sets out a number of bodies to which qualifying disclosures may be made.

These include:

• HM Revenue & Customs;

• the Financial Services Authority;

• the Office of Fair Trading;

• the Health and Safety Executive;

• the Environment Agency;

• the Director of Public Prosecutions; and

• the Serious Fraud Office.

Should an employee wish to discuss their concerns externally, they may also contact the whistleblowing charity Protect for guidance and advice. Visit their website for more information www.pcaw.org.uk or telephone 020 3117 2520 for guidance.

Data protection

When an individual makes a disclosure, YEF will process any personal data collected in accordance with its Data Protection Policy. Data collected from the point at which the individual makes the report is held securely and accessed by, and disclosed to, individuals only for the purposes of dealing with the disclosure.

Version number: 2.0 

Policy approved by:  Andrea Ramsay, Chief Operating Officer

Policy next due for review: February 2023

© 2022 The Youth Endowment Fund Charitable Trust. Registered Charity Number: 1185413.
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