Whistleblowing Procedure – ITE, ECF, NPQ, NLE and CEO Programme Participants

1. Policy Statement

1.1 This Procedure details the way in which programme participants may properly raise concerns about malpractice with the National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) and if necessary, outside the NIoT, following the NIoT’s Policy on Information Disclosure (Whistleblowing).

2. Scope

2.1 This procedure is not limited to registered participants of NIoT programmes. Any person who has a legitimate interest in NIoT provision may make a complaint about the provision of facilities or services that we provide.

3. Principles Supporting the Procedure

3.1 Creation of an ethical, open culture: communicate a code of conduct and ethics, through this policy.

3.2 Establish safe routes for communications of concerns: where appropriate, appoint individuals or a group outside the normal line of management to receive complaints of irregularities or other concerns. Within this policy (unless otherwise stated), the appointed individuals will be the Senior Leader responsible for the relevant programmes as detailed below:

  • Gene Payne, NPQ Programmes
  • Shona Findlay, ITE Programmes
  • Tristan Kirkpatrick, ECF Programmes
  • Jenny Sutton, System Leaders Programmes
  • Kamal Bodhanker, CEO Programme

3.3 Protect the ‘whistleblower’: the NIoT supports and will not discriminate against concerned individuals reporting alleged wrongdoing.

3.4 Establish a fair and impartial investigative procedure: the NIoT responds to concerns by focusing on the problem, rather than denigrating the messenger.

3.5 Remind all employees, workers, contractors and any other individuals associated in NIoT activity of their duty of confidentiality: for employees of the NIoT and Associate Colleges the duty of confidentiality is implied by the law in every contract of employment and prohibits employees from publicly disclosing employers’ confidential information.

3.6 Safeguard against abuse of the procedure: ensure that the raising of unfounded allegations where individuals had no reason to believe that the allegations were well-founded is recognised as a disciplinary offence.

4. The Procedure

4.1 All parties will agree that the concern raised will be kept confidential (as far as reasonably practicable to progress the complaint) while the procedure is being used.

4.2 Raising a Concern:

  • the Representor (the person raising the concern) should raise their concern in writing via the NIoT Whistleblowing email address: concern@niot.org.uk
  • the concern will then be forwarded to a nominated person from the list detailed in Section 3.2.
  • If the nominated person believes that it is appropriate to use the Whistleblowing procedure, they will then contact the relevant Associate College Lead (in programmes delivered by Associate Colleges) or direct it to the NIoT Executive Director of Programmes (in programmes delivered directly by the NIoT), who will act as the Assessor.
  • should it be alleged that the Senior Leader (detailed in Section 3.2) is involved in the alleged malpractice, the Executive Director of Programmes is to be contacted to act as the Assessor
  • If the Representor has a good reason not to raise their concern with their Senior Leader or Executive Director of Programmes in the first instance, they may contact NIoT CEO. If this occurs, the Representor will be asked to justify why they feel unable to raise the concern with their Senior Leader or Executive Director of Programmes.
  • If the concern is about the NIoT CEO, then it can be raised with the Chair of the NIoT Trustee Board.
  • The email address detailed above should be used in the first instance for all concerns.

4.3 Responding to a concern. The Assessor should:

  • interview the Representor usually within seven working days, or earlier if there is an immediate danger to loss of life or serious injury.
  • obtain as much information as possible from the Representor about the grounds for the belief of malpractice.
  • consult with the Representor about further steps which could be taken.
  • advise the Representor of the appropriate route if the matter does not fall under the NIoT Whistleblowing Procedure

4.4 At the interview with the Assessor, the Representor may be accompanied by a work colleague or recognised trade union representative where applicable. The Assessor may be accompanied by a member of the NIoT staff to take notes.

4.5 If reasonably practicable within four weeks of the interview, the Assessor will communicate in writing to the Representor one or more of the following decisions:

  • decide not to proceed with the matter;
  • authorise an internal investigation under this procedure;
  • refer the matter to be dealt with under a different NIoT procedure or
  • refer the matter to the police or other appropriate authority.

If the decision is likely to take longer, the Assessor shall inform in writing both the Representor and, if appropriate, any person who may be the subject of the disclosure of the reasons for the delay.

4.6 The grounds on which the Assessor can decide not to proceed with the matter include:

  • The Assessor is satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, there is no evidence that malpractice within the meaning of the procedure has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur.
  • The matter is already (or has been) the subject of proceeding under one of the NIoT’s other procedures or policies.
  • The matter concerned is already the subject of legal proceedings or has already been referred to the Police, the external auditors, the Department for Education or other public authority.

4.7 The Assessor shall determine whether it is necessary to inform the subject(s) of an information disclosure about the disclosure and whether to share any of the supporting evidence with them. It may be appropriate to withhold information from the subject(s) of the disclosure in order to preserve evidence or prevent the investigation from being compromised. This shall be done by the Assessor as soon as is practicable after receiving the disclosure.

4.8 The Assessor shall inform in writing both the Representor and, as appropriate, any person who is the subject of the disclosure of the outcome of their consideration and the reasons for their decision.

4.9 The conclusion on any further investigation will be reported by the Assessor to the Representor as soon as reasonably practicable and where possible within twenty-eight working days.

4.10 All responses to the Representor will be made in writing.

4.11 If the Representor has not had a response within the above time limits, or if they are dissatisfied with the outcome, they may appeal to the CEO of the NIoT setting out the grounds for their appeal. If the concern is about the CEO, the Representor may appeal to the Chair of the NIoT Turstee Board setting out the grounds for their appeal.

4.12 The NIoT will ensure the Representor is protected from any form of victimisation or discrimination.

5. Malicious Accusations

5.1 Deliberately false or malicious accusations made by a Representor will be reported to the organisation who employs them. If it is a Participant who has made the false or malicious accusation, then their place on an NIoT programme will be considered.

6. External Sources

6.1 The aim of this policy is to provide an internal mechanism for reporting, investigating and remedying any wrongdoing in the workplace, whether physical or remote, where NIoT-related work is delivered.

6.2 In certain circumstances if you believe that the information you are disclosing is substantially true (and it falls within their remit) it may be appropriate to refer certain matters to a relevant outside body including such as:

  • the Local Authority's Designated Officer.
  • Children's Social Care.
  • the NSPCC.
  • the Health and Safety Executive.
  • the Environment Agency.
  • the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • the Department for Education.
  • the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
  • the Police.
  • the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted); or • the Channel Police Practitioner.

7. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Review

7.1 All matters raised under the procedure, together with the outcome, will be reported to the NIoT CEO and Trustee Board on a confidential basis. They will have ultimate oversight in ensuring that any recommendations have been implemented.

7.2 Where a Whistleblowing concern may affect the contractual obligations of the NIoT the DfE will be informed of the concern and the outcome of any recommendations/actions required.

7.3 The NIoT Board of Trustees will review the policy at least every two years and assess its implementation and effectiveness. This review will seek to obtain comments and experiences of those who may have had reasons to invoke the procedure. The policy will be promoted and implemented across the NIoT.

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