Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) Manager presented a report seeking the adoption of a proposed new Whistleblowing Policy for implementation across the Council.
In reply to a Member’s question, the SAFS Manager commented that the revisions to the policy were relatively minor and had been agreed by the SBC Human Resources Team. In view of the minor nature of the revisions, the Trade Unions had not been consulted on the changes.
In response to a number of issues raised by a Member regarding the content of the policy, the Strategic Director (CF) explained that the wording in the document was designed to encourage staff to use the process even if they were perhaps uncomfortable in so doing, as all reported cases would be taken seriously and investigated in a confidential manner. The reason that examples of whistleblowing were not included in the policy was to encourage as wide a breadth of reporting as possible. These points would need to be articulated in the communications to staff regarding the policy.
The Strategic Director (CF) agreed to circulate to Members of the Committee the number of SBC whistleblowing cases that had been investigated over the past 3 years.
It was RESOLVED:
1. That the new Whistleblowing Policy, as attached at Appendix A to the report, be adopted, and a communication plan launched to provide assurance to staff who wish to raise genuine concerns at work.
2. That, due to changes in the senior management at the Council, a Whistleblowing Group be created to review and assess all concerns raised to provide more transparency and consistency in the process.
3. That the Council’s Head of Human Resources owns the Policy and brings an annual report to the Committee on all disclosures made to the Council under the Policy.
Publication date: 15/11/2022
Date of decision: 09/11/2022
Decided at meeting: 09/11/2022 - Audit Committee