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Whistleblowing policy and procedure

Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure

El Marsh Care Ltd. Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure

  • This policy outlines the procedure to follow if a person wishes to ‘whistleblow’ and raise a concern about wrongdoing in their workplace.
  • This policy and procedure do not apply if a member of the workforce is aggrieved about their personal position. They must use the Grievances Policy and Procedure.
  • To support El Marsh Care Ltd – in meeting the following Key Lines of Enquiry:

Key Question

Key Line of Enquiry
SAFE S1: How do systems, processes and practices keep people safe and safeguarded from abuse?
S2: How are risks to people assessed and their safety monitored and managed so they are supported to stay sage and their freedom is respected?
S6: Are lessons learned and improvements made when things go wrong?
WELL-LED W1: Is there a clear vision and credible strategy to deliver high-quality care and support, and promote a positive culture that is person-centred, open, inclusive and empowering, which achieves good outcomes for people?

To meet the legal requirements of the regulated activities that El Marsh Care Ltd – is registered to provide:

  • The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015
  • The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013
  • The Care Act 2014
  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
  • The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2012
  • All staff
  • NHS staff
  • Persons working on training courses
  • Temporary Agency Staff
  • The following Service Users may be affected by this policy:
  • Service Users
  • The following stakeholders may be affected by this policy:
  • Commissioners
  • Local Authority
  • Care Quality Commission

All staff has a duty to ensure standards of quality care by raising concerns regarding wrongdoing or malpractice.

This policy will provide the means of ensuring that staff can confidentially raise genuine concerns of malpractice and/or misconduct through appropriate means at the earliest point without fear of reprisal.

  • El Marsh Care Ltd – is committed to the principles of whistleblowing and supporting and providing mechanisms for employees to fulfil their duty without fear of any reprisals.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – is committed to a high standard of care, to honesty, openness and decency in all its activities. It is recognised that Service User safety must come first at all times and, whilst it can be difficult for staff to raise concerns about the practice of others, including managers, the implications of not raising those concerns are potentially very serious for El Marsh Care Ltd -, its employees and most importantly for those receiving its services.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – encourages a free and open culture in its dealings with
    its employees and all people with whom it engages in business and legal relations. In particular, El Marsh Care Ltd – recognises that effective and honest communication is essential if any wrongdoing or malpractice is to be effectively dealt with and the organisation’s success ensured.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – believes that raising concerns/speaking up is important to ensure Service User, employee and public safety.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – recognises that staff members are likely to be the first to realise that there may be something seriously wrong within the organisation but may feel that speaking up would be disloyal to colleagues or their employer who may, under certain circumstances, face criminal charges. They may also fear harassment or victimisation and fear for a loss of job or a reduction in work hours.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – will not tolerate the ill treatment, including any bullying or harassment, of anyone raising a concern. It will ensure that any individual who raises a concern, can do so confidentially in line with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA).
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – will ensure that any individual who raises a genuine concern under the Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure will not be at risk of termination of their employment or suffer any form or reprisal which includes, but is not limited to, loss or reduction of hours or changes to regular working patterns because of it.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – will support and enable members of staff and volunteers to speak out regarding misconduct and malpractice through a structured and regularly reviewed process.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – recognises that whistleblowing concerns are often raised when employees do not feel that their earlier concerns have been listened to or that any action has been taken. El Marsh Care Ltd – will put in place mechanisms for its staff to discuss concerns when they arise and endeavour to give feedback on any actions if confidentiality will not be breached.
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – will ensure that it follows not only the law on whistleblowing, but also best practice and guidance from regulatory bodies including the Care Quality Commission and the NHS.
  • All staff have a duty to raise concerns regarding inappropriate behaviour, unlawful conduct, poor practice or behaviour to ensure standards of quality care.

El Marsh Care Ltd – will consider all concerns raised by staff but, in order for a disclosure to be a Qualifying Disclosure for the purposes of whistleblowing, it must satisfy the following criteria:

  • It must be a disclosure of information
  • It must, in the reasonable belief of the member of staff, be made in the public interest; and
  • It must tend to show one or more of the types of wrongdoing or failure listed in s43B(1)(a)-(f) set out below:
  • Criminal offences
  • Breach of any legal obligation
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • Danger to the health and safety of an individual
  • Damage to the environment
  • The deliberate concealing of information about any of the above

Specific examples of when these may apply are set out below 

This procedure is intended to provide a safeguard to enable members of staff to raise concerns about one or more of the following that has occurred, is occurring, or is likely to occur. These qualifying disclosures (see definition) mean that staff can raise a concern about risk, malpractice or wrongdoing that they think is harming the services, might harm or has harmed in the past any aspect of the services that El Marsh Care Ltd – delivers. A few examples of this might include (but are by no means restricted to):

  • Unsafe care
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Inadequate induction or training for staff
  • Lack of, or poor, response to a reported Service User safety incident
  • Suspicions of fraud (which can also be reported to the local counter-fraud team)
  • Damaging the environment – e.g. disposing of materials or waste incorrectly, for example, flushing medicines or syringes down the toilet or sink
  • A bullying culture (across a team or organisation rather than individual instances of bullying)
  • Incidents of unsafe staffing, falsification of timesheets, Service User visit logs or MARs or clinical or care records
  • Failure to investigate claims of physical or sexual assault
  • Physical, verbal or sexual abuse of any Service User, colleague or other person on the premises of El Marsh Care Ltd .
  • Breaching the Data Protection Act

  • If a member of staff has a concern about a risk, malpractice or wrongdoing at work, it is hoped that they feel they will be able to raise it first with their line manager
  • This may be done verbally or in writing
  • It is better to raise a concern as soon as it arises
  • Where possible, unless, for example, where the concern relates to a safeguarding matter, the concerns raised will be treated confidentially
  • The member of staff’s line manager will inform them if they cannot keep the concern confidential
  • The Registered Manager has overall responsibility for concerns raised and the member of staff’s line manager may need to share the concern with the Registered Manager who will have access
    to Harpreet Johal
  • If a member of staff does not feel they can raise the concern with their line manager or the concern relates to or involves the line manager (or they have raised it with the line manager and no action has been taken) the member of staff should then escalate their concerns to the Registered Manager
  • If the member of staff does not feel that the Registered Manager or Harpreet Johal will appropriately handle their concerns, the member of staff may report their concerns directly to the Care Quality Commission on 03000 616161 or through its website
  • The CQC will not disclose the member of staff’s identity without their consent unless there are legal reasons requiring the CQC to do so, e.g. where the information is about a child or vulnerable adult who is at risk

The Registered Manager, in consultation with Harpreet Johal, shall have discretion over the nature of the investigation into concerns raised, including, where it is considered appropriate, the involvement of others such as Adult Social Services or auditors. If there is evidence of criminal activity, the Police will be informed.

  • Responsibility for dealing with any concerns reported will lie with the Registered Manager who will have access to Harpreet Johal
  • If the concerns relate to the Registered Manager, concerns should be escalated to Harpreet Johal
  • If the concerns involve both the Miss Chelsey Neal and Harpreet Johal or an individual is fulfilling both roles, the member of staff can contact the CQC
  • Where a safeguarding concern is received by a member of staff, Sandwell Council safeguarding policies and procedures will be followed
  • Where a safeguarding concern is received by a member of staff and refers to the actions of the Manager or Deputy Manager, then the referral must in the first instance be made to the Social Services Adult Protection Team
  • The Adult Protection Team will take the responsibility of informing other agencies. The contact details for the local Social Services for El Marsh Care Ltd – are as follows:
    Sandwell Adult Social Services 01215692266
  • The individual with whom the concern is raised will acknowledge the concern within locally agreed timescales and in line with best practice.
  • The investigating officer will be confirmed to the member of staff along with any further information required including contact information and an estimate of the likely timescales involved.
  • Where possible, the responsible manager will feed back to the member of staff who raised the concern on the outcome of any investigation, although this may not always be possible in full due to the nature of the disclosure.
  • A record of the information provided and details of the proceedings will be kept in line with best practice.

All whistle-blowing concerns will be investigated. However, if a member of staff is found to have made allegations maliciously and/or not in good faith, disciplinary action may be taken. A member of staff will never be disciplined for raising a concern, so long as they follow the whistleblowing procedure or make disclosures in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

Unless an employer has taken reasonable steps to prevent this type of victimisation by co-workers, it will be deemed liable for the acts of its staff. It is therefore no longer enough to deal with incidents of bullying or harassment as and when they arise, on a case by case basis. The only basis upon which an employer will now be able to defend itself against liability for the actions of its staff will be by proactive steps. In order to demonstrate a “reasonable steps” defence, an employer will need to anticipate conduct such as bullying and harassment. To avoid incidents of bullying or harassment occurring, El Marsh Care Ltd – will take the following steps:

  1. Adhere to the Whistleblowing Policy
  2. Embed a culture of openness and transparency
  3. Communicate the policy
  4. Offer any necessary training to ensure that it is put into effect
  5. Take action if any worker bullies or harasses a whistleblower

El Marsh Care Ltd – will seek legal or Human Resource advice when drawing up any settlement agreements or employment contracts to avoid the risk of breaching the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

  • All staff have a duty to ensure standards of quality care by raising concerns regarding inappropriate behaviour, unlawful conduct, poor practice or behaviour and will be protected and supported to do so
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – is committed to the Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure and will act on information given in line with it
  • All whistleblowers will be treated in a fair way and will not be victimised or prejudiced as a result of a genuine concern
  • On induction, staff will be trained on the whistleblowing procedures of El Marsh Care Ltd. Information on how to report concerns will be visible at El Marsh Care Ltd –
  • El Marsh Care Ltd – will monitor the effectiveness of the whistleblowing procedures and will review every concern raised to identify and address any themes or trends
  • If you have concerns that you are at risk of harm or abuse you can contact El Marsh Care.
  • EL Marsh Care Ltd – has a safeguarding policy and your Service User Guide has information on who you can talk to
  • If you want to complain or have a comment about your service you can use the procedure for complaints at El Marsh Care Ltd .