Whistle blowing policy

The Penlee Cluster Whistleblowing Policy

The Penlee Cluster comprises the churches of St Mary’s Penzance, St John’s Penzance, St Peter’s Newlyn and St Pol de Leon Paul.

The Penlee Cluster is committed to upholding the highest possible standards of integrity and recognises that clergy, lay staff, volunteers and parishioners are often the first to become aware of, or identify, serious concerns. When such concerns arise, barriers to coming forward could exist in relation to misplaced loyalty to colleagues or the Church, or fear of harassment or victimisation.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (the ‘Act’) protects workers who raise concerns from victimisation or harassment, where there is a public interest in so doing. In accordance with the Act, the Cluster welcomes all its stakeholders who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Cluster’s work to come forward and voice those concerns, in confidence.

The Cluster relies heavily upon the contribution of volunteers and recognise that they are in an important position to recognise and report concerns. While voluntary roles are not included within the scope of the Act, The Cluster encourages volunteers to use this process with the relevant principles of protection applied to them wherever possible.

This policy is in place to ensure that an internal process is available to encourage and enable workers and volunteers to raise serious concerns which would not meet the criteria for a complaint in confidence and without fear of reprisals, to ensure that the Cluster continues to provide the highest standards of integrity and accountability.

Principles

This policy is based on the following fundamental principles:

  • All office holders, lay staff, volunteers and parishioners* have the right to raise concerns about perceived unacceptable practice or behaviour.
  • All the above* are responsible for raising concerns about unacceptable practice or behaviour, safeguarding concerns and any health and safety risks.
  • The Cluster does not tolerate victimisation or harassment and will take action to protect office holders, lay staff, volunteers and parishioners when they raise a concern in good faith.
  • The Cluster will endeavour to protect the identity of any individual who raises a whistleblowing concern and wishes to remain anonymous. However, in certain circumstances, such as any inquiry arising from the concern, the individual may be required to provide a signed statement. In certain circumstances the Cluster may have to disclose the identity of the individual without their consent, for example where there is a risk to others involved. The reasons for this would be discussed with the individual.
  • Office holders, lay staff, volunteers and parishioners who raise concerns will be given appropriate advice and support and kept informed in relation to the progress and outcome of any inquiries wherever possible.
  • Any malicious or vexatious allegations made by any individual may lead to a disciplinary process for the individual concerned.

How to raise a concern

The Cluster recognises the difficulties in raising a concern about the behaviour of another individual. However, raising the concern at an early stage may protect others, prevent the problem getting worse, and prevent individuals themselves becoming implicated

Office holders, lay staff, volunteers and parishioners are encouraged to raise concerns in cases where:

the law may have been broken

cluster policies and procedures may have been breached

Special Note: Safeguarding

The Cluster is committed to safeguarding the welfare and protection of children and adults at risk of harm. Concerns about the welfare of children and adults at risk of harm must be raised without delay to prevent any ongoing risk of harm. The whistleblowing policy would not normally be used for raising safeguarding concerns.

Anybody with a safeguarding concern should in the first instance speak to their incumbent, or Cluster safeguarding officer.

Other whistleblowing concerns

Office holders, lay staff, volunteers and parishioners* should raise concerns initially with their incumbent, line manager, volunteer co-ordinator or Cluster Safeguarding Officer.

Of course, this is dependent upon the nature of the concerns and who might be involved.

All the above* can call, write or arrange to meet with the relevant person. In the case of a meeting, the individual raising the concern may wish to invite a supporter.

Written concerns should:

  • identify that it is a whistleblowing disclosure;
  • detail the background and history of the concerns;
  • give names, dates and places (where possible); and,
  • note the reasons why the individual is particularly concerned about the situation.

What could happen?

This will be dependent upon the nature of the concern. The matter may be:

  • investigated internally
  • referred to the Diocese Safeguarding Officer and/or the Police and/or other statutory agencies
  • independently investigated
  • in the case of clergy, referred to the Diocese of Truro.
  • a combination of the above

Anonymous Allegations

The Cluster encourages staff, office holders, volunteers and parishioners to identify themselves when reporting a concern. However any anonymous concerns will be investigated as far as reasonably possible based upon the information provided. Please note it may not be possible to give feedback if information is passed on anonymously.

For Further Assistance and/or advice please speak to one of the Cluster Safeguarding Officers.

 

April 2018, subject to annual review.