Whistleblowing – doing the right thing for the greater good
Whistleblowing is about feeling confident enough to tell someone independent and trustworthy about suspected wrongdoing, malpractice or dangers.
Whistleblowing is about raising genuine concerns in the public interest, for the greater good of our people, organisation and even wider society.
Importantly, you should feel you’re able to do this without fear of punishment or legal consequences.
Remember, the issues you report should only be things that aren’t covered by our other policies or procedures.
It’s about reporting things we feel are very wrong to prevent very serious situations getting any worse. By reporting these very serious things, action can be taken to prevent further harm.
It means changes can be made that can benefit and protect everyone.
Every volunteer has the right to do this. We promise to protect you if you choose to come forward.
You’ll be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.
We’re all in Scouts to help young people gain skills for life. We’re lucky to have a team of committed volunteers that make that possible.
While there are occasionally disagreements, and things that go wrong, our values, policies and line managers are there to guide us along the way and help us resolve these.
However there are occasions when we feel there is something deeply wrong and don’t know where to turn to report it.
This could be when we suspect criminal activity, a danger to health and safety or financial mismanagement for example.
A whistleblower can be a volunteer in Scouting who raises a genuine concern about suspected wrongdoing, malpractice or dangers in the public interest.
Whistleblowing is the disclosure of information which relates to suspected wrongdoing, malpractice or dangers which falls outside the scope of other policies and procedures.
You may have serious concerns and strongly believe:
- Someone has committed a criminal offence, such as fraud. Equally, you should speak to us if you think a criminal office is being committed or is likely to be committed.
- Someone’s health and safety has been, is being or is likely to be put at risk.
- There is damage to environment, or that this is likely to happen.
- A miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur.
- A person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with their legal obligations.
- Information about any of these serious matters is being deliberately concealed.
You might feel that you can’t speak to line managers or volunteers because they’re involved in some way, or because you’re fearful about what might happen if you do raise it as a concern. Will I lose my role? Will I face legal consequences?
When we hear from you, we’ll quickly assess your report. We’ll then pass it to the relevant team to respond.
Please note that we might decide, at this stage, that your report falls within the scope one of our other policies such as safeguarding. In this case, it will dealt with in the normal way and not treated as whistleblowing.
It’s not about:
- Making a complaint about a person because of the way you’ve been treated. You should use the complaints process for this instead.
- Trying to go round a different way to get a different outcome.
- Reporting something because you don’t like or agree with it.
- Repeating gossip or making dishonest allegations.
It’s very specifically about raising a concern in the public interest about something that could harm people, or Scouts locally or nationally.
We’ve updated the policy to:
- Make it clearer about the difference between making a complaint and reporting wrongdoing, malpractice or danger.
- Make it easier to report these serious issues.
- Give you more peace of mind about how you will be protected and looked after if you report something.
We’ve also updated the policy because we realised that many of the things being reported were complaints or issues that could be resolved by following our policies and procedures, or working with line managers.
Within five working days:
- We’ll let you know we’ve got your submission. We may contact you to get some more details and make enquiries.
- We’ll record your report in the Whistleblowing Register held at UK Headquarters.
- We’ll collect all the information documents and statements you’ve given us.
- We’ll carry out an initial assessment and we’ll let you know if your submission will be treated as whistleblowing or managed under a different policy such as safeguarding.
- If we’ve confirmed your submission is being treated as whistleblowing and you’ve asked to remain anonymous, the Deputy UK Chief Commissioner will decide whether this will be agreed. Please note that if anonymity is agreed, this may limit the scope of the investigation.
- We’ll carry out an initial assessment to see whether the matter should be investigated and to determine the scope. We’ll use the criteria in the Whistleblowing Policy, Charity Commission and other regulatory guidance to make this decision.
- An impartial investigator may be appointed by the Deputy UK Chief Commissioner, depending on the outcome of the initial assessment. They would investigate the matter following the procedures below.
- If needed, we’ll also refer the report to external agencies.
Usually within 10 working days, we’ll provide you with the following information:
- The outcome of the initial assessment.
- Whether the matter will be investigated and, if so, the name of the investigator.
- Whether matter will not be investigated.
- An update on what action, if any is being taken and why.
- Who will be your main contact.
- How long we think it will take to investigate the matter.
- How we’ll support and protect you.
If the team decides the matter won’t be investigated, and you’re not satisfied with this, you can request the decision is reviewed.
You’ll need to make a request for a review in writing within 10 days of being notified of the outcome of the initial assessment.
Equally, if the matter has been investigated and you are not happy with the outcome you can request a review. You’ll need to make a request for a review in writing within 10 days of being notified of the outcome.
The Deputy UK Chief Commissioner and the Scouts Governance Team will conduct this review and confirm the outcome. Any decision is final.
If you are looking to submit a whistleblowing disclosure, please follow The Scouts Volunteer Whistleblowing Policy.