FOI Request - Whistleblowing

Request 101002425686

I write seeking information about your Local Authority’s role as a prescribed body under the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 1999.
I would be grateful if you would provide responses to me by email to the below questions please:
The context is that an external whistleblower is making a disclosure to your Authority about a matter in respect of which you are a prescribed body or person as per the above:
Q1Does your organisation take action to protect external whistleblowers from unjustified treatment by their employers or others?
Please select one of the below answers if possible –
i.Yes (please explain what action is taken) / ii. No /iii.  Not known
Q2 Does any protection against unjustified treatment provided by your organisation extend to persons reporting on behalf of external whistleblowers?
i. Yes (please explain what action is taken) / ii. No / iii.  Not known
Q3 Does any protection extend to proposed or intended unjustified action against an external whistleblower contemplated by his/her employer or another in respect of the disclosure?
i. Yes (please explain what action is taken) /ii. No / iii. Not known
Q4 Does your organisation offer any reward or bounty for information received from an external whistleblower in respect of information about which you are the prescribed body or person?
i.  Yes / ii. No / iii. Not known
Q5 Does your organisation publish for the public a step by step guide on how it follows up on external whistleblower information?
i. Yes / ii. No / iii. Not known
Q6 Where your organisation does not feel itself to be legally competent to engage with a disclosure made by an external whistleblower, do you have a policy and process to refer that disclosure to another prescribed body/person/regulator or other agency better placed to deal with it?
i. Yes (please provide a copy of the policy, where written) / ii. No / iii. Not known
Q7 Where in the circumstances described in Q6 above, your organisation passes information to another prescribed body etc., do you have a policy and process to advise the external whistleblower that the disclosure has been passed to another body etc?
i. Yes (please provide a copy of the policy, where written) / ii. No / iii. Not known
Q8 Where an external whistleblower may be dissatisfied with his/her dealings with your organisation, is there an appeals policy and process which engage someone who is independent of the investigating department?
i. Yes (please provide a copy of the policy, where written) / ii. No / iii. Not known
Q9 Does your organisation publish FAQ to advise and assist external whistleblowers considering making a disclosure to you?
i.Yes (please provide the FAQ or direct me to it) / ii. No / iii. Not known
Q10 Does all your staff which communicates with or otherwise manages external whistleblowers receive specialist and on-going training for that purpose?
i. Yes / ii.  No / iii.  Not known
Q11 Where, following a disclosure to your organisation by an external whistleblower about a matter for which you are prescribed, an alleged act of retaliation occurs against the external whistleblower by the employer or another person, does your organisation investigate the alleged act of retaliation?
i. Yes / ii.  No / iii. It would depend on the facts/ iv. Not known
Q12 Please describe what criteria you consider in deciding whether to investigate information received from an external whistleblower about a matter in respect of which you are prescribed?
Q13 Does your organisation distinguish between public complaints and external whistleblowers?
i.Yes (please describe the essential differences in your approach between managing public complaints and external whistleblower disclosures) / ii. No / iii. Not known
Q14 Apart from any information on your website, does your organisation undertake any public awareness programme(s) regarding whistleblowing?
i.  Yes (if so please provide details) / ii. No / iii. Not known

Response 01-09-2020

1. No. Whilst we have a Complaints procedure and Community Council Complaints procedure whereby members of public can raise any complaints these to not provide provision for external whistleblowers

2. No. Not applicable

3. No.

4. No.

5. It is important to highlight that there are some provisions for ‘external’ whistle-blowers to have recourse via our own Employee Whistleblowing Policy and these would include those employees of contractors working for the Council on Council premises, for example, agency staff, builders, and drivers. It also covers suppliers and those providing services under a contract with the Council in their own premises, for example, care services, pre-school providers and other similar activities. In these cases the whistle-blower would follow the steps as detailed in our internal employee Whistleblowing (Confidential Reporting) Policy. This document is published on our Interchange website.

6.. No. However for those using the Employee Whistleblowing policy, This policy is intended to provide employees with an avenue within the Council to raise concerns. The Council hopes employees will be satisfied with any action taken. If not, and if it is felt right to take the matter outside the Council, the following are possible contact points made known to those in scope for our internal policy:

a) The external auditor (Audit Scotland)
b) Trade Union (The Certification Officer)
c) The Police
d) Relevant professional bodies or regulatory organisations
e) HM Revenue and Customs
f) Scottish Environmental Protection Agency
g) Food Standards Agency
h) Scottish Social Services Council
i) Health & Safety Executive
j) Pensions Regulator
k) Care inspectorate

The above list has been extracted from the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) (Amendment) Order 2014, and whilst it is not exhaustive it does comprise the persons most likely to be of relevance to the work of a Local Authority.

7. No.

8. Complaints Policy does not cover Whistleblowing, with the exception of those groups covered by Q5 who can follow our internal Whistleblowing policy. Where employees or those in scope for our internal policy are dissatisfied they can take their concerns to those bodies listed in Q6.

9. No.

10. No.

11. No. 

12. n/a

13. No – our complaints process does not include external whistleblowing

i. Non applicable as no policy/process for external whistleblowers in place.

14. No.

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