Fraud in Contracts - Whistleblowing
This guidance is about how contractors can report fraud. The Council is committed 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.
When an employee or a contractor raises concerns about the activities of the Council which are ethically or legally questionable, this is known as whistleblowing and is covered by the Council’s ‘Confidential Reporting Policy’. The policy applies to all employees and those contractors working for the Council on Council premises, for example, agency staff. It also covers suppliers and those providing services under a contract with the Council on their own premises, for example, care homes.
There are six types of wrong doing set out in the Public Interest Disclosure Act that a whistleblower can report:
- A criminal offence
- Failure to comply with any legal obligation
- A miscarriage of justice
- Endangering the health and safety of any individual
- Causing environmental damage
- Deliberately concealing information which would be evidence of any of the above
If you have any concerns about the letting or management of a contract you can contact either the:
Chief Executive – Tel: 474300
The Monitoring Officer – Tel: 474460
Director of Financial Services (including Shared Internal Audit Service SIAS) – Tel: 474297
If you would like independent advice, you can contact the independent charity Public Concern at Work. Their lawyers can give you free confidential advice at any stage on how to raise a concern about serious malpractice at work. Their address is:
Suite 306, 16 Baldwins Gardens, London, EC1N 7RJ
Tel: 020 7404 6609
The Council gives you its assurance that you will not suffer any form of retribution or detriment. The Council will treat your concern seriously and act according to its Confidential Reporting Policy. You will not be asked to prove anything. If you ask for a matter to be treated in confidence the Council will respect your request and only make disclosures with your consent, although at the appropriate stage you may be asked to be a witness. You will be given feedback on any investigation and the Council will be sensitive to any concerns you may have as a result of any steps taken under this procedure.
By knowing about malpractice at an early stage the Council stands a good chance of taking the necessary steps to safeguard the interests of all staff and protect the organisation. In short, please, do not hesitate to 'blow the whistle' on malpractice when the Council lets a contract or when it is carried out.
The Council will decide how to respond but this usually involves one of the following steps:
- Investigation by management or SIAS or by disciplinary procedures;
- Referral to the police;
- Referral to the external auditor; or
- Set up an independent inquiry
As far as possible, the Council will keep you informed of the decisions taken but it will not be able to inform you of any matters which would infringe the duty of confidentiality owed to others.
If for whatever reason, you feel you cannot raise your concerns internally and you honestly and reasonably believe the information and any allegations are true, you should consider raising the matter with an appropriate regulator, such as the Audit Commission for England and Wales.