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Whistleblowing policy for public servants

Previous versions of this policy are available from PeoplePolicies@gov.je.

Version Description of change Reason for change Date approved

2.0

Format and layout of document changed.

Policy and procedure slimmed down to a small number of pages, instructions on how to carry out the procedure now in toolkit items

23 February 2022

Introduction of clear accountabilities

Clarity on roles and responsibilities

23 February 2022

Introduction of the ability to report a serious concern to Group Director P&CS

Scrutiny recommendation

23 February 2022

Change of designated persons

 Add Chief Internal Auditor

Amend title to Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee

23 February 2022

Amended to companion support

To meet disability discrimination, offering reasonable adjustments

23 February 2022

1.0

Policy refresh and update

Response to HR Lounge recommendations

17 January 2021

1.1

Response to HR Lounge report recommendations

 

1.2

Revision of format of policies

Change title from Chair of Internal Audit Committee to Chair or Risk and Audit Committee


​Addition of code of practice
​Clarity on which code and policy family this policy belongs to
​23 January 2023


Previous versions of this policy are available from PeoplePolicies@gov.je.

Version Description of change Reason for change Date approved

2.0

Format and layout of document changed.

Policy and procedure slimmed down to a small number of pages, instructions on how to carry out the procedure now in toolkit items

23 February 2022

Introduction of clear accountabilities

Clarity on roles and responsibilities

23 February 2022

Introduction of the ability to report a serious concern to Group Director P&CS

Scrutiny recommendation

23 February 2022

Change of designated persons

 Add Chief Internal Auditor

Amend title to Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee

23 February 2022

Amended to companion support

To meet disability discrimination, offering reasonable adjustments

23 February 2022

1.0

Policy refresh and update

Response to HR Lounge recommendations

17 January 2021

1.1

Response to HR Lounge report recommendations

 

1.2

Revision of format of policies

Change title from Chair of Internal Audit Committee to Chair or Risk and Audit Committee


​Addition of code of practice
​Clarity on which code and policy family this policy belongs to
​23 January 2023


​Introduction

This document comes in two parts.

Part one sets out the Jersey public services policy and principles regarding whistleblowing.

Part two provides the procedure, setting out how to implement the policy with links to toolkit items to give you more information. The procedure is intended as a guide only and may change or be varied from time to time.

​Title
​Whistleblowing Policy
​Author
​Employee Experience
​Document type
​Policy
​Issue date
​1 November 2022
​Effective date
​1 November 2022
​Review date
​31 October 2024
​Version
​1.2

This policy supersedes all previous policies, circulars and procedures connected with Whistleblowing or Serious Concerns within the Public Service .

Code of practice and policy family

This policy forms part of the code of practice for employee rights at work. This code will be reviewed at the start of each term of States Employment Board, or earlier where relevant legislation or regulations change.

Whistleblowing policy

Policy purpose 

The purpose of this document is to explain what whistleblowing is and provide information and guidance to you about how to raise a serious concern and how it will be dealt with. 

Policy principles 

All our policies are underpinned by our values and behaviours.

This policy and procedure aims to:  

  • ensure everyone is treated in a fair, consistent, and equal manner, free from discrimination and victimisation
  • be clearly written, easy to understand and apply; and
  • ensure our compliance with the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003, Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 and other relevant legislation and regulations

The Jersey public services believe in openness and honesty. We are committed to the highest standards of accountability. In line with our core values, we expect public servants and others that we deal with who have a serious concern about any aspect of work, to come forward and voice their serious concerns. 

All public servants have a duty to report a serious concern and we are committed to providing an environment where everyone feels safe to whistle blow (a serious concern which is in the public interest). 

We will reassure public servants that if they raise a serious concern in the public interest and reasonably believe it to be true, we will not tolerate any reprisal against them and will treat such reprisal as a disciplinary matter. 

We will provide a procedure that ensures that all our public servants feel confident about raising a serious concern at an early stage. 

We will ensure that public servants who raise a serious concern are provided with feedback on any actions taken and are aware of the options available to them if they are dissatisfied with the response. 

We will ensure wellbeing support is in place and available to everyone.

Policy scope

This policy applies to all Jersey public servants on permanent contracts and non-permanent contracts of employment or agreements, including those on zero-hour contracts and those providing services to the public sector under a contract.   

This policy does not apply to: 

  • Members of the States of Jersey Police Force

Any matters concerning Police Officers and designated police employees may be referred to the Jersey Police Complaints Authority or Professional Standards Department.  Alternatively, anyone can report concerns anonymously via the Police Integrity Line 0800 111 4444 or online: the Police Integrity Line 

Not all serious concerns are whistleblowing concerns. It is therefore important to read this policy to understand whether your serious concern should be dealt with under this policy. 

If your serious concern is a personal serious concern, it may be better dealt with using one of our other internal processes. The policies that may be relevant are:

  • resolving grievances
  • bullying and harassment
  • equality and diversity
  • anti-corruption

Performance and accountabilities

All of us

We all have a responsibility to report a serious concern as soon as possible through one of the channels outlined in part two of the policy.

We all have a responsibility to follow the timescales set out in part two.

We all have the responsibility to maintain appropriate confidentiality throughout any proceedings. 

You are accountable for acting on any serious concerns raised, by following the procedure set out in the toolkit. These serious concerns must not be ignored. 

Line managers

“Our managers are role models, set clear standards and are supportive” (People Strategy Commitment – Your Experience). As a line manager, you are responsible for modelling our values and behaviour expectations. You set the tone for your team.

Our People Strategy

You are responsible for familiarising yourself with this policy and understanding the importance of your role in the procedure. You are also responsible for undertaking any relevant management training or briefing session related to this policy or people management generally.

You are responsible for dealing promptly and fairly if you are notified of a serious concern. As a line manager you will keep the employee up to date on the progress of the investigation to which you are assigned.

You must ensure that individuals are aware of the wellbeing support measures available to them, be mindful of general team wellbeing and ensure that the employee suffers no detriment as a result of raising their serious concern. 

Group Director, People and Corporate Services 

You are the custodian of all public service people policies. 

You will ensure that this policy and its procedure are implemented using appropriate communication methods, to aid organisation wide awareness, in order that responsibilities can be fulfilled. 

You will ensure that reviews take place in line with the schedule in the policy control sheet and that development of this policy and procedure is in keeping with the Corporate Policy Framework, People Policy Guidelines and our People Strategy.

Chief Executive Officer, Chief Officers and Head of Administration 

You are accountable for familiarising yourself with: 

  • our six Codes of Practice
  • this policy and it’s procedure

You are responsible for ensuring line managers and employees within your department carry out their responsibilities, as set out in this policy. This includes the notification and recording of any breaches and upholding the spirit of the code of this policy and its  procedure generally.

You are responsible for modelling and championing our values and ensuring that our organisation’s standards and expectations are communicated clearly and fully adopted by your department. You set the tone for the behaviours both within your department and across the organisation.

States Employment Board 

The Board has a duty to issue Codes of Practice in accordance with Article 8 of the Employment of States of Jersey Employees (Jersey) Law 2005. This code will be reviewed at the start of each States Employment Board term, or earlier where relevant legislation or regulations change.

The procedure 

What is whistleblowing?  

Whistleblowing is where an employee raises a concern about an activity or inactivity within the organisation that has a public interest aspect to it. The public interest relates to the welfare or well-being of the general public and not to an individual or group. Examples may include: 

  • fraud
  • financial irregularity
  • malpractice
  • damage to the environment
  • health and safety risk to the public or employees
  • neglect of people in care
  • attempts to conceal information relating to any of the above

This list is not exhaustive. 

Whistleblowing does not apply to personal grievances concerning an individuals terms and conditions of employment, or other aspects of the working relationship, complaints of bullying and harassment or disciplinary matters. These complaints are personal and relate to your own employment and do not have a public interest element and therefore do not fall within this policy. They will be dealt with under existing Government of Jersey policies and procedures such as individual grievances, bullying and harassment, equality and diversity policies.

How to raise a serious concern 

You can report a serious concern as follows: 

  • reporting it through our dedicated speak-up line that is available all day, every day.  There are two ways to contact the speak-up line. By free phone 0800 069 8007 or States of Jersey EthicsPoint website
  • if you feel able to, directly with your line manager (if a serious concern relates to your line manager, to their line manager)
  • to the Chief Officer of your department; or
  • to the Group Director in People and Corporate Services

You can choose to raise your concern anonymously, without giving your name. However, anonymous disclosures are generally more difficult to investigate as we will not be able to contact you should we need further information. However, if you chose to whistle blow to the speak-up line, you can remain entirely anonymous. The speak-up line is completely independent from the Government of Jersey. All of the operatives will be fully trained and able to offer help and guidance as to how you wish to progress your concern.  

For departments that are required to comply with Jersey and UK regulatory and statutory provisions that apply to specific definitions of ‘serious concerns’ (for example, but not limited to, Health and Community Services, Law Officers’ Department and employees working with anti-money laundering legislation) departmental guidelines and obligations will apply in respect of who to raise a serious concern with. Please refer to your line manager and/or relevant Responsible Officer / Head of Service for access to this information.  

The Chief Internal Auditor must be notified of all serious concerns raised unless there is a potential conflict of interest when the Chief Officer (or equivalent) of the relevant department must also be notified. The Treasurer of the States must be notified of all financial serious concerns raised. 

If you are a line manager, it is your responsibility to make the time to listen, understand and acknowledge any serious concerns reported to you. You should then ask the public servant to submit a serious concern report using the speak up line by free phone 0800 069 8007 or States of Jersey EthicsPoint website.

How will the serious concern be dealt with 

We are committed to listening to our public servants, learning lessons, and improving the services we provide to the public. Whoever you raise a serious concern to, it will be dealt with in the same way. 

Your serious concern will be assigned to one of our designated persons, who will have responsibility for your serious concern. The designated persons are named people with specific responsibility for ensuring that a serious concern raised is addressed appropriately. The designated persons are: 

  • Chief Operating Officer 
  • Chief Internal Auditor 
  • Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee

A serious concern can generally be split into two categories: 

  • those that can remain an internal process, and  
  • those that need to be referred to an external agency 

Dependent on the nature of the concern it may no longer be appropriate to remain as an internal process, it may be necessary to refer to external agencies, such as the States of Jersey Police, or the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, or the concern may become the subject of an independent enquiry. The assigned designated person, with the support of HR Case Management has responsibility for making this referral. 

How your concern will be dealt with by the various parties involved

Line managers action points

  • if you receive a concern in person or over the telephone, by teams or in writing, listen carefully and allow the concern to be explained in full 
  • take a note of any meeting held in order that you can refer to what was said and by whom 
  • ask the employee to submit a report of their concern via the speak-up line 

Please note, if you do offer any support, you should not influence the submission of the employee and you must remain neutral.

  • keep in contact with the team member to ensure that they are coping well, offer to speak with them privately and provide them with the details of the support available
  • if you feel conflicted, speak to your Chief Officer or nominee to assign another manager and to HR Case Management to support with the process
  • inform the Chief Internal Auditor and the Chief Officer (or equivalent) of all concerns raised. Where the concern relates to a financial irregularity, inform the Treasurer of the States
  • in the event the employee does not want to submit their concern themselves, to ensure the concern is raised (whether verbally or in writing), you should log the call with the speak-up line. You do this by contacting EthicsPoint - States of Jersey via one of the methods set out at “How to raise a concern section”. The concern is then logged in the case reporting system. Inform the employee when you have submitted the concern

Designated person action points 

If it is appropriate to remain as an internal process, with the support of HR Case Management, the designated persons who are named people, have specific responsibility for ensuring that a serious concern raised is addressed appropriately. 

The designated persons are: 

  • The Chief Operating Officer 
  • Chief Internal Auditor 
  • The Chair of the Risk and Audit Committee

In the event of a police or safeguarding matter, this will be referred to the relevant authorities.

The designated person will appoint a commissioning manager who will be a Director or Group Director within a different department to the department to which the concern relates.

The aim of this policy is to provide you with an avenue within the organisation to raise concerns and we hope that you will be satisfied with any action taken. If, after the internal procedure has been exhausted, you still feel that your concern has not been addressed, you may contact the designated person assigned to your concern. 

The designated person will:

  • review your concern together with the investigation report and the decision of the commissioning manager
  • assess all the information and reach a conclusion as to whether the outcome of the investigation was correct.

The decision of the designated person is final and you will receive confirmation of the decision in writing. 

Commissioning manager action points (once the concern has been assigned to you by the designated person) 

The commissioning manager:

  • receives details of a concern from a designated person, supported by HR Case Management
  • writes to the employee within two working days of receiving their concern confirming that you are the commissioning manager
  • considers the information that has been provided and if further information is needed, invites the employee to and conducts a meeting to gather the further information required
  • confirms to the employee that the meeting may be held off Government of Jersey premises should they wish and that they may be accompanied by a recognised trade union representative or workplace colleague / companion
  • takes notes during this meeting to ensure that you have a full record of the concern
  • assesses whether an investigation should be carried out and confirms decision to HR Case Management

Following the meeting, the designated person will write to the employee within ten working days to confirm: 

  • a summary of the concern 
  • whether an investigation is to be carried out 
  • proposed timescales for the investigation (discuss this with HR Case Management) 
  • whether the concern may be better dealt with under a different policy

Internal process 

With the support of HR Case Management, the designated person will appoint a commissioning manager, who will be a Chief Officer or Group Director from a different department to the department the serious concern relates to.  

The commissioning manager will write to you within two working days to confirm that they have received your concern, unless the concern has been raised anonymously (in this circumstance progress will be logged in the Case Reporting System provided through the speak-up line). The commissioning manager will consider the content of your serious concern and will decide how best to proceed. If further information is required, you may be invited to a meeting in order to gather as much information as possible. This meeting can be held off Government of Jersey premises if you wish. You may be accompanied by a recognised trade union representative/workplace colleagues. This includes companion support in special circumstances.

Right to be accompanied

With the exception of anonymous referrals, the commissioning manager will write to you within ten working days of your meeting in order to summarise your concern. You will be informed whether an investigation will be carried out and of the timescales within which we will aim to complete the investigation. If you are a witness and any of our proposed timescales change, we will keep you updated.

Where a serious concern relates to a Chief Officer or a States Member, the Chief Executive Officer will be informed. The Chief Executive Officer may discuss the serious concern with the Chief Minister or refer the serious concern to the Commissioner for Standards. 

Investigation 

Findings will be reported to the commissioning manager, and wherever possible and appropriate (dependent on the nature of the investigation these outcomes may not be appropriate) the outcome will be one of the following: 

  • not upheld 
  • upheld in part
  • upheld 
  • the reported serious concern was untrue or malicious

You must never carry out your own investigation, either before or after you have reported your serious concern. 

Taking a serious concern further 

If, after the internal procedure has been exhausted, you still feel that your serious concern has not been addressed, you may contact the designated person assigned to your serious concern. The designated person will review your serious concern together with the investigation report and the decision of the commissioning manager. They will assess all the information and reach a conclusion as to whether the outcome of the investigation was correct. The decision of the designated person is final. You will receive confirmation of the decision in writing. 

Untrue allegations   

If you report a serious concern in good faith, but it is not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against you. However, if during the investigation it is found that you made an allegation frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain, disciplinary action may be taken against you. 

Withdrawal of a serious concern 

If you choose to withdraw your serious concern, this must be done in writing to the person to whom the serious concern was initially raised. If we feel the circumstances warrant it, we reserve the right to continue to investigate a serious concern that has been withdrawn. 

Right to be represented or accompanied, including companion support 

By law, any employee can bring one person to a formal meeting. This is known as the right to be accompanied. An employee can be accompanied by one of the following:

  • a trade union representative of the member's choice
  • a workplace colleague. This can be anyone from within Public Service but should not be a family member or legal representative
  • companion support in special circumstances

Right to be accompanied

Support and wellbeing

Your wellbeing is our priority, everyone should feel safe and supported in the workplace. Sources of wellbeing support and guidance can be found for public servants on MyStates.

Confidentiality

We hope that you will feel comfortable raising your concern but we appreciate that you may want to raise it confidentially.  All concerns raised will be treated in confidence, which means they will only be disclosed to appropriate persons under the policy, when absolutely necessary. We will ensure you are notified of the progress of your concern throughout. 

Every effort will be made not to reveal your identity. However, at the appropriate time (for example, during a police investigation) you may be asked to come forward as a witness because a statement may be required as part of evidence.

You can choose to raise your concern anonymously to the speak up line and you will be allocated a case number.  All and any future contact that you make relating to your concern can therefore be identified solely by reference to the allocated case number in order to protect your identity.

We recognise that it is natural to want to speak to colleagues about the issues that you are experiencing. However, confidentiality and discretion can safeguard this procedure, benefitting all of those involved. 

Once a complaint has been made you should not discuss the concern with any of the subjects of your complaint. You must not attempt to conduct any interviews or investigations of your own. A failure to maintain confidentiality and act with discretion could be detrimental to a formal process. Therefore, if you are participating in a formal investigation or process under this policy, we will remind you that you must keep matters confidential and only discuss with your nominated workplace colleague / companion / union representative. A breach of confidentiality of this process may result in disciplinary action.

Anyone who has an identified role within this policy, for example a designated person or a commissioning manager should ensure confidentiality and discretion and safeguard the identity of the ‘whistleblower’ should they wish to remain anonymous.

In the event that an allegation raised against another public servant is upheld, as this matter is confidential, you will not be made aware of this and any associated outcomes.

In informal matters, we also encourage all public servants to be mindful with whom you choose to speak and use the relevant wellbeing sources we have available to you during this process. Wellbeing resources can be found for public servants on MyStates.

If you need additional support, speak to your line manager, the case manager or the commissioning manager for the case. You can also access support through the speak up helpline, or on the wellbeing pages on MyStates.

Glossary of terms

Glossary of terms for People Services policies



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