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Whistleblowing Policy

Whistleblowing Policy

Whistleblowing Policy - Summary

Confidential Helpline:
01772 532500

For more information also see:

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing encourages and enables employees to raise serious concerns within the Council rather than overlooking a problem or 'blowing the whistle' outside.

Employees are often the first to realise that there is something seriously wrong with the Council. However, they may not express their concerns as they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the Council.

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Our Commitment

The Council is commited to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with that commitment we expect employees, and others that we deal with, who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Council's work to come forward and voice those concerns.

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Who does the Policy apply to?

The policy applies to all employees, (including those designated as casual hours, temporary, agency, authorised volunteers or work experience), and those contractors working for the Council on Council Premises, for example, agency staff, builders, drivers. It also covers suppliers and those providing services under a contract with the Council in their own premises, for example, care homes and childrens centres. The policy also covers Members.

This policy has been discussed with the relevant trade unions and professional organisations and has their support.

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The Aims of the Policy

  • To encourage you to feel confident in raising concerns and to question and act upon concerns about practice.
  • To provide avenues for you to raise concerns in confidence and receive feedback on any action taken.
  • To ensure that you receive a response to your concerns and that you are aware of how to pursue them if you are not satisfied.
  • To reassure you that you will be protected from possible reprisals or victimisation if you have a reasonable belief that you have made any disclosure which is in the public interest. .

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What Types of Concern are Covered?

  • Conduct which is an offence or a breach of law.
  • Failure to comply with a legal obligation.
  • Disclosures related to miscarriages of justice.
  • Health and safety risks, including risks to the public as well as other employees.
  • Damage to the environment.
  • The unauthorised use of public funds.
  • Possible fraud and corruption.
  • Sexual, physical or other abuse of clients.
  • Other unethical conduct.
  • Actions which are unprofessional, inappropriate or conflict with a general understanding of what is rights and wrong.

NB. Other procedures are available to employees e.g. the Grievance procedure which relates to complaints about your own employment. This policy also does not replace other corporate complaints procedures which are for public use.

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Safeguards and Victimisation

The Council recognises that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make. If what you are saying is true, you should have nothing to fear because you will be doing your duty to your employer and those for whom you provide a service.

The Council will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation (including informal pressures) and will take appropriate action to protect you when you raise a concern which is in the public interest.

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Confidentiality

All concerns will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal your identity if you so wish. At the appropriate time, however, you may need to come forward as a witness.

This policy encourages you however to put your name to your concern whenever possible. Please note that:

  • Staff must believe the disclosure of information is in the public interest.
  • Staff must believe it to be substantially true.
  • Staff must not act maliciously or make false allegations.
  • Staff must not seek any personal gain.

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How to Raise a Concern

As a first step, you should normally raise concerns with your immediate supervisor/manager or their superior. This may depend, however, on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is suspected of the malpractice. For example, if you believe that management is involved you should approach a more senior level of management within your Directorate/LCCG.

County Council Financial Regulations require that the County Treasurer shall be notified of all financial or accounting irregularities or suspected irregularities. This policy does not supersede that requirement, it does in fact provide the opportunity to raise concerns directly to Internal Audit through the helpline.

To make a confidential call please ring the dedicated Whistleblowing number: 01772 532500

Concerns can also be made in writing.  Correspondence should be sent to:

Principal Auditor, Lancashire Audit Service, County Treasurer's Department, County Hall, Lancashire County Council, Preston, PR1 0LD.

Or

Employee Relations Team, Human Resource, Payroll and Pension Service, One Connect Limited, PO Box 78, County Hall, Preston, PR1 8XJ (email HRPWhistleblowingComplaints@oneconnectlimited.co.uk).

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© 2014, Lancashire County CouncilPhone: 0300 123 6701 email: enquiries@lancashire.gov.uk