St Mary’s Maidenhead Whistleblowing Policy
St Mary’s Church PCC expects the highest standards of conduct from all who work at St Mary’s and from volunteers and will treat seriously any concern raised about illegal or improper conduct. The PCC aims to foster a culture of openness while recognising the anxiety that bringing concerns of a sensitive nature to light can invoke.
Therefore staff, volunteers and members of the St Mary’s church family are encouraged, through agreed procedures and without fear of recrimination, to bring to the attention of a churchwarden any serious impropriety or breach of procedure in the confidence that the concern will be dealt with sensitively, taken seriously and investigated appropriately.
Examples of illegal and/or improper conduct
- Fraudulent or improper use of the church’s money or assets
- Breach of legal requirements e.g. Health and Safety obligations
- Corruptly receiving any gift or advantage
- Allowing private interests to override the interests of the church
- General malpractice including illegal, unethical or immoral conduct
- Abuse of authority or position
What is the purpose of this policy?
- The aim of this policy is to provide an internal mechanism for reporting, investigating and remedying any reasonable suspicion of illegal or improper conduct.
- Where there are concerns about safeguarding children, young people or vulnerable adults, the St Mary’s Safeguarding Policy must be used.
- Where there is concern about an employee’s working conditions or their treatment as an employee, this should be raised under the St Mary’s Grievance Policy.
When should it be used?
- Anyone who is worried about any kind of wrongdoing within the church is encouraged to speak up. The act of disclosure of this kind of information is called whistleblowing.
- A whistleblower must act in good faith and must have reasonable grounds for believing the information to be accurate.
- No person who uses this procedure in good faith will be penalised for doing so. Neither will it be assumed that they have a personal grievance. Harassment and/or victimisation of any person raising concerns will not be tolerated. However, if an allegation is proved to be maliciously made or knowingly false then this will be viewed seriously and may result in formal action.
- If someone is unsure whether the conduct they are concerned about constitutes illegal or improper conduct or if they are unsure how to proceed they should contact the churchwardens or the charity ‘Protect’ for advice.
Mechanism for raising a concern
- If the whistleblower is a member of St Mary’s staff they should raise their concern with their line manager who will inform a churchwarden, but if due to seriousness or sensitivity this is not appropriate, the concern should be brought to one of the churchwardens. If it is a member of the church family or a volunteer who has the concern they should bring it to a churchwarden.
- If the whistleblower feels unable to follow this route, there is the option to contact the diocese (email@example.com)
- Depending on the nature of the concern the whistleblower will be asked to justify and support their claim. Normally they will be asked to do this in writing. It will, therefore, be helpful to note down any facts and dates as they happen. The earlier and more open the expression of concern the easier it will be to take appropriate action.
- This procedure encourages the whistleblower to put their name to an allegation as anonymous concerns are difficult to substantiate. All concerns will be treated in confidence and the identity of the whistleblower will only be revealed to those involved in investigating the concern.
- The whistleblower may be accompanied by another person of their choosing during any meeting in connection with the concern. It is advised that the churchwarden has a note-taker for such meetings.
- The churchwarden will be expected to act swiftly and constructively in the investigation of any concerns.
- If upon investigation it becomes clear that the concern is a safeguarding issue, the safeguarding officer will be informed.
- Each case will be investigated thoroughly with the aim of informing the whistleblower of the outcome of any investigation as quickly as possible.
- Where appropriate the matter raised may be referred to the police.
- If the allegation results in court proceedings the whistleblower may have to give evidence in court.