Ecoflix Foundation helps protect the rights of its patients by providing a means for its employees to report any suspected malpractice, failure or malfunction within Ecoflix Foundation that could potentially endanger, or put at-risk, service users.
The means for the above procedure is provided through The Public Disclosure Act 1998; often referred to as the ‘Whistleblowing Act’. This Act provides protection for workers from being subjected to any detriment by their employer, and protection against victimisation and dismissal.
Ecoflix Foundation is committed to effectively and promptly dealing with any malpractice, failure or malfunction that occurs and has numerous policies, procedures and systems in-place to help prevent such occurrences.
Ecoflix Foundation follows the guidelines suggested in the revised version of the GMC document “Raising and acting on concerns about patient safety”, effective 12 March 2012, a copy of which can be downloaded here:
In the past, people who have reported colleagues’ actions who they consider have ill-treated, neglected or abused service users, have often been regarded as troublemakers and have been penalised for “doing the right thing”. It is now recognised that staff are the people most likely to observe and be in a position to report on bad practice. It is important for any service therefore to create an atmosphere of open communication and commitment to high standards of work, within which criticisms can be frankly made and thoroughly investigated.
The organisation’s policy should comply with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, which aims in law to protect staff and to ensure they are not victimised, when reporting and seeking to have investigated genuine and reasonable concerns about any form of malpractice that they encounter in their work.
Ecoflix Foundation recognises a detriment as any one of the following:
A restriction or a denial of promotion;
Training opportunities, or;
Opportunities which may have been offered if a disclosure had not been made.
A malpractice, failure or malfunction which is believed to be currently occurring, has previously happened, or is likely to happen in the future will not be tolerated by Ecoflix Foundation, and includes such events as:
Any criminal offence;
Any breach of a legal obligation;
A miscarriage of justice;
Endangering the health or safety of any worker or patient;
Damage to the environment, or;
Any deliberate cover-up of information in relation to any of the above.
Ecoflix Foundation will maintain complete confidentiality when any concerns are raised using the internal ‘Whistleblowing’ procedure.
Obligations on Staff to Report Abuse
Ecoflix Foundation recognises that staff have moral and legal obligations to report abuse and any occasion or incident where they consider vulnerable adults are at risk of being injured or harmed by other people – harm as outlined in Ecoflix Foundation safeguarding vulnerable adult’s policies for all services.
The organisation considers that teamwork and loyalty to colleagues should not be allowed to deter staff from reporting suspected abuse, criminal acts, neglect of service users or bad practice that is against any Code of Conduct, when they observe it.
Any member of staff who witnesses or suspects abuse by another member of staff should report the matter to their supervisor or manager. The manager will accept responsibility for the actions that follow and will assure the “whistle-blower” that they have acted correctly by reporting the matter and will not be victimised.
Despite the assurances Ecoflix Foundation gives to its staff, it accepts that there may be incidents that the staff member does not feel confident or able to report in the first instance to the manager of the service. The organisation has a senior management team whose staff are able to discuss their concerns with. Should this also be difficult, then the organisation accepts the right and obligation of the staff member to report their concerns to an outside authority such as the police, the local authority adult safeguarding unit or the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to initiate an investigation. Ecoflix Foundation will not penalise or victimise any staff member who responsibly reports their concerns in these ways.
Ecoflix Foundation will not tolerate victimisation, harassment or detriment to any worker who has exercised their right and raised a concern under the Act.
Ecoflix Foundation assures its staff that their concerns about any possible mistreatment of its service users will be listened to and investigated.
Staff are encouraged to raise any concerns directly by any means they seem fit and comfortable in doing so. They are also entitled to make their representations accompanied by a friend or colleague or trade union representative as they decide and think fit. They might also wish to obtain witness statements.
Ecoflix Foundation undertakes to assess and investigate any concerns impartially and objectively, so that it can be fair to all parties concerned in seeking to clarify the facts before taking further actions.
Ecoflix Foundation management team (at all levels for all services) will inform any staff members affected by an investigation of the actions being taken and the outcomes of that investigation (where appropriate) However, this taking into account the need to respect the possible confidentiality of some of the information relating to other staff members and service users, which has developed in the process of the investigation.
All information will be treated with the utmost confidence. This might not be possible in all cases, e.g. if the abuse requires reporting to the police and/or the local authority adult safeguarding. Staff should also be aware that all instances of alleged or actual abuse must be notified to the local adult safeguarding authority and to the CQC to comply with the Health and Social Care Act 2008.
The ‘Whistleblowing’ policy and procedure applies to the following groups of workers:
Employees under regular contracts of employment;
Locums and other NHS contracted workers;
Contractors providing services;
Temporary or day workers;
Trainees on vocational and work experience schemes.
The following procedure must be adopted when raising a concern:
If you wish to raise a malpractice, failure or malfunction which you believe to be currently occurring, has previously happened, or is likely to happen in the future, you must inform your line Manager (in writing) of your concern;
If the above person is the subject of the concern, you should inform their immediate superior (in writing) of your concern;
You should fully explain the nature and extent of your concern;
Your concern will be investigated fully and promptly, and you will be advised of the progress
On conclusion you will receive a written response to your concern detailing the outcome of the investigation;
If you are not satisfied with the investigation or the outcome of the investigation, then you have the right to notify the appropriate prescribed person.
If you believe you have been subjected to victimisation, harassment or suffered a detriment (at any time) due to you raising a concern, then this is regarded as a serious disciplinary offence and will be dealt with in-line with normal Practice disciplinary procedure;
In the first instance you must inform line Manager (in writing) of your detriment;
If the above person is the subject of the detrimental behaviour, you should inform their immediate superior (in writing) of your detriment;
A full investigation into the suspected victimisation, harassment or detriment will then be conducted.
Investigating and dealing with allegations
The manager to whom the abuse is reported should take the necessary steps under the organisation’s policy on abuse. In addition, they should, if possible, protect the source of the information. If a manager fails to act promptly, suppresses evidence or is involved in any action to discourage whistleblowing, they may render themselves liable to disciplinary action.
Dealing with interference with or victimisation of staff who have reported abuse
Any member of staff who attempts to prevent a staff member from reporting their concerns to a manager or who bullies, attempts to intimidate or discriminates against a colleague in these circumstances will be dealt with under disciplinary proceedings. A whistle-blower who feels themselves to be subject to hostile action from colleagues should inform their manager, who should, if necessary, take steps to alter the staff member’s duties so as to protect them from the hostile action.
Ecoflix Foundation provides staff with information on how to make contact with the necessary organisation that has been established to protect whistle-blowers from victimisation and bullying.
If we conclude that you have made false allegations, whether in relation to raising a concern maliciously, in bad faith or with a view to personal gain, then you will be subject to disciplinary action.
We have put this policy in place to allow you to raise concerns internally with the assurance that this will be dealt with adequately. We feel that this should mean that you will not need to make a disclosure externally.
Freedom to Speak Up (NHS England only)
The ‘Freedom to speak up’ Guardian for Ecoflix Foundation is The Business Support Manager.
In addition, Ecoflix Foundation adheres to the standards set out by Freedom to Speak Up:
· All staff are encouraged to raise any concern, at the earliest opportunity
· Ecoflix Foundation will be proactive in preventing any inappropriate behaviour, such as bullying or harassment, towards staff who raise a concern
· The Freedom to Speak Up Guardian will ensure that policies are in place and that staff know who to contact if they have a concern
· Ecoflix Foundation will build on the work of Being Open by adopting the good practice published in Freedom to Speak Up.
RAISING A CONCERN WITH A REGULATOR
If the employers are registered with a regulatory body, such as the General Medical Council (GMC) or the Care Quality Commission (CQC), then you may wish to contact them to investigate the issue in circumstances where;
· You feel that the responsible person or local body is part of the problem you wish to report
· Concerns have been raised through local channels but not satisfied that adequate action has been taken by the responsible person/body
· You feel there is an immediate and serious risk to patients and a regulator (or a similar external body) has the responsibility to act or intervene.
The law recognises that in some instances external disclosures, to a regulator for example, will be required. We strongly encourage you to seek advice before reporting a concern to anyone external. The Whistleblowing Charity, public concern at work, operates a confidential helpline (0207 404 6609). They also have a list of prescribed regulators for reporting certain types of concern.