Whistleblowing and Complaints Procedure

1 INTRODUCTION

Hertfordshire Chorus is committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability. If a member discovers evidence of malpractice or wrongdoing within the Chorus they can disclose this information internally without fear of reprisal. Our Whistleblowing Policy is intended to cover concerns such as:

i financial malpractice or fraud;

ii failure to comply with a legal obligation;

iii dangers to health and safety or the environment;

iv criminal activity;

v improper conduct or unethical behaviour.

This policy does not cover any issues relating to the safeguarding of children, young or vulnerable people.  In all such matters the policies and practices set out in Hertfordshire Chorus Safeguarding Policy should be followed.

2 RAISING A CONCERN

2.1 The Chorus member should discuss his or her allegations informally with the Chair of HC or if not appropriate, a nominated Council member, setting out the background to the situation, giving names, dates and places where possible, and the reason why they are concerned about the situation.

2.2 If the issue is not resolved, the Chorus member should put his or her allegations in writing, setting out the background to the situation, giving names, dates and places where possible, and the reason why they are concerned about the situation.

2.3 Concerns should normally be taken to the Chorus Chair.  However if this is not possible or appropriate, concerns should be raised with another member of the Chorus Council.  In all cases the procedures set out in “Responding to a Concern” should be followed.

3 RESPONDING TO A CONCERN

3.1 In the event of a complaint or allegation being presented the Chair of HC or where appropriate a nominated council member should discuss the matter further with the member concerned.

3.2 If discussions do not resolve the issues raised, the Chair or nominated council member should bring the matter to a sub group made up of three Council members (none of whom is implicated in the allegation).  The sub group should meet the member who can if they wish bring another adult to the meeting.  This meeting must be held in private and all matters discussed should remain confidential.

3.3 The Chair or nominated council member must ensure that an accurate and detailed record is maintained of all events, discussions and outcomes. Such records should be stored in a secure place as agreed by Council and access to such records should only be on a need to know basis.

3.4 After due consideration the conclusions of the sub group will be reported back to the member concerned in the form of a written report which should be provided within ten working days where feasible, or if this is not possible giving a date by which the final response can be expected.

3.5 If the member who has made the complaint or allegation is not satisfied with the outcome of the review they should be advised to contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) or the charity PROTECT.

4 RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE WHISTLEBLOWER

4.1 If Chorus Council is unwilling or unable to act on the concern, the member should then raise their concern with the appropriate external body.  Where the member believes a crime has been committed they should contact the police.

4.2 If the member is uncertain about how to proceed with the concern, he or she should contact the whistleblowing charity PCAW (Public Concern at Work) for advice.

4.3 All concerns will be treated in confidence and the Chorus will make every effort not to reveal the identity of anyone raising a concern in good faith. At the appropriate time, however, the member may need to come forward as a witness.

4.4 If a member raises a concern in good faith which is then not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against that person.

4.5 If the investigation concludes that the member maliciously fabricated the allegations, Council must decide whether any disciplinary action should be taken against that person.

Chair Clare McConnell

Chorus Council (Trustees)                Elected members of Hertfordshire Chorus Council

Useful Contact information

The Charity Commission www.charitycommission.gov.uk

PCAW (Public Concern at Work) www.pcaw.org.uk, 020 7404 6609

Date Policy reviewed: 20 June 2023

Date for next review: March 2024

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