Nursery Whistleblowing Procedure

Introduction

This policy has been drawn up using the ‘Model Policy for Schools Whistleblowing Procedure’ on the Oxfordshire County Council website.

Policy Statement

Oxford Brookes University Nursery is committed to the highest possible standards of:

  • Openness and inclusiveness
  • Accountability
  • Integrity in-line with that commitment

The aims of this procedure are to:

  • Encourage those working in the nursery to report suspected wrongdoing as soon as possible, in the knowledge that their concerns will be taken seriously and investigated as appropriate, and that their confidentiality will be respected.
  • Provide guidance on how to raise concerns
  • Reassure those raising concerns that they are able to raise genuine concerns “made in the public interest” without fear of reprisals, even if they turn out to be mistaken.

The university will provide all reasonable protection for those who raise concerns “made in the public interest”. The university will be responsible for ensuring that appropriate personal support is offered both to an employee raising a concern and to any employee against whom allegations have been made under this procedure.

What is ‘Whistleblowing’?

‘Whistleblowing’ is defined as ‘raising concerns about misconduct within an organisation or within an independent structure associated with it’ (Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life). In the legislation it is called a protected disclosure. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects employees from suffering a detriment in their employment or being dismissed by their employer if they make disclosures in accordance with the legislation.

An employee has certain common law confidentiality obligations to their employer. However, in a limited set of circumstances whistleblowing may override these obligations if an employee reveals information about their employment or the work of the nursery. This guidance sets out the circumstances under which these disclosures may lawfully be made.

A concern must relate to something which:

a) is a breach of the nursery’s policies; or

b) falls below established standards or practice; or

c) amounts to improper conduct, including something that may be;

  • a breach of the law
  • a failure to comply with a legal obligation
  • a possible miscarriage of justice
  • a Health & Safety risk
  • damaging the environment
  • misuse of public money
  • corruption or unethical conduct
  • abuse of children, students or other users
  • deliberate concealment of any of these matters
  • any other substantial and relevant concern

These issues could have arisen in the past, be currently happening or likely to happen in the future. The law does not protect an employee who would be breaking the law in making the disclosure.

How to Raise a Concern

All concerns will be treated sensitively and with due regard to confidentiality and where possible every effort will be made to protect your identity if you so wish. Nevertheless, this information will need to be passed on to those with a legitimate need to have this information and it may be necessary for you to provide a written statement or act as a witness in any subsequent disciplinary proceedings or enquiry. This will always be discussed with you first.


This policy was reviewed in November 2021.

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