Policy Documents

"WHISTLEBLOWING" POLICY

(Making a Disclosure in the Public Interest)

Introduction
Cavalier Carpets  is committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability.

An important aspect of accountability and transparency is a mechanism to enable staff and other members of the Company to voice concerns in a responsible and effective manner. It is a fundamental term of every contract of employment that an employee will faithfully serve his or her employer and not disclose confidential information about the employer’s affairs. Nevertheless, where an individual discovers information which they believe shows serious malpractice or wrongdoing within the organisation then this information should be disclosed internally without fear of reprisal, and there should be arrangements to enable this to be done independently of line management (although in relatively minor instances the line manager would be the appropriate person to be told). 

The Public Interest Disclosure Act, gives legal protection to employees against being dismissed or penalised by their employers as a result of publicly disclosing certain serious concerns. The Company has endorsed the provisions set out below to ensure that no members of staff should feel at a disadvantage in raising legitimate concerns.

It should be emphasised that this policy is intended to assist individuals who believe they have discovered malpractice or impropriety. It is not designed to question financial or business decisions taken by the Company nor should it be used to reconsider any matters which have already been addressed under harassment, complaint, disciplinary or other procedures. 

Scope of Policy
This policy is designed to enable employees of the Company to raise concerns internally and at a high level and to disclose information which the individual believes shows malpractice or impropriety. This policy is intended to cover concerns which are in the public interest and may at least initially be investigated separately but might then lead to the invocation of other procedures e.g. disciplinary. These concerns could include:

Financial malpractice or impropriety or fraud 
Failure to comply with a legal obligation or Statutes 
Dangers to Health & Safety or the environment 
Criminal activity 
Improper conduct or unethical behaviour 
Attempts to conceal any of these

Safeguards
Protection - this policy is designed to offer protection to those employees of Cavalier Carpets  who disclose such concerns provided the disclosure is made:

- in good faith 

- in the reasonable belief of the individual making the disclosure that it tends to show malpractice or impropriety and if they make the disclosure to an appropriate person (see below). It is important to note that no protection from internal disciplinary procedures is offered to those who choose not to use the procedure. In an extreme case, malicious or wild allegations could give rise to legal action on the part of the persons complained about. 

Confidentiality - Cavalier Carpets  will treat all such disclosures in a confidential and sensitive manner. The identity of the individual making the allegation may be kept confidential so long as it does not hinder or frustrate any investigation. However, the investigation process may reveal the source of the information and the individual making the disclosure may need to provide a statement as part of the evidence required.

Anonymous Allegations - this policy encourages individuals to put their name to any disclosures they make. Concerns expressed anonymously are much less credible, but they may be considered at the discretion of the Company. In exercising this discretion, the factors to be taken into account will include:

The seriousness of the issues raised 
The credibility of the concern 
The likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources 
Untrue Allegations - If an individual makes an allegation in good faith, which is not confirmed by subsequent investigation, no action will be taken against that individual. In making a disclosure the individual should exercise due care to ensure the accuracy of the information. If, however, an individual makes malicious or vexatious allegations, and particularly if he or she persists with making them, disciplinary action may be taken against that individual.

Procedures for Making a Disclosure
On receipt of a complaint of malpractice, the member of staff who receives and takes note of the complaint, must pass this information as soon as is reasonably possible, to the appropriate designated investigating officer as follows:

Complaints of malpractice will be investigated by the appropriate Director unless the complaint is against the Director or is in any way related to the actions of the Director. In such cases, the complaint should be passed to the Managing Director / Business Owner for referral. 

In the case of a complaint, which is any way connected with but not against the Director, the Chief Executive / Business Owner will nominate a Senior Manager or external party to act as the alternative investigating officer. 

Complaints against the Managing Director / Business Owner should be passed to the Chairman who will nominate an appropriate internal / external investigating officer. 
The complainant has the right to bypass the line management structure and take their complaint direct to the Chairman (or Business Owner). The Chairman (or Business Owner) has the right to refer the complaint back to management if he/she feels that the management without any conflict of interest can more appropriately investigate the complaint. 

Should none of the above routes be suitable or acceptable to the complainant, then the complainant may approach one of the following individuals who have been designated and trained as independent points of contact under this procedure. They can advise the complainant on the implications of the legislation and the possible internal and external avenues of complaint open to them:

1 __HR Administrator_______________________
2___Site Manager___________________________

If there is evidence of criminal activity then the investigating officer should inform the police. The Company will ensure that any internal investigation does not hinder a formal police investigation.

Timescales
Due to the varied nature of these sorts of complaints, which may involve internal / external investigators and / or the police, it is not possible to lay down precise timescales for such investigations. The investigating officer should ensure that the investigations are undertaken as quickly as possible without affecting the quality and depth of those investigations.

The investigating officer, should as soon as practically possible, send a written acknowledgement of the concern to the complainant and thereafter report back to them in writing the outcome of the investigation and on the action that is proposed. If the investigation is a prolonged one, the investigating officer should keep the complainant informed, in writing, as to the progress of the investigation and as to when it is likely to be concluded.

All responses to the complainant should be in writing and sent to their home address marked “confidential”.

Investigating Procedure 
The investigating officer should follow these steps:

Full details and clarifications of the complaint should be obtained. 

The investigating officer should inform the member of staff against whom the complaint is made as soon as is practically possible. The member of staff will be informed of their right to be accompanied by a trade union or work colleague at any future interview or hearing held under the provision of these procedures. At the discretion of the investigating officer and dependant on the circumstances of the complaint an alternative representative may be allowed e.g. the individual’s legal representative.

The investigating officer should consider the involvement of the Company auditors and the Police at this stage and should consult with the Chairman / Chief Executive / Business Owner if appropriate.

The allegations should be fully investigated by the investigating officer with the assistance where appropriate, of other individuals / bodies. 

A judgement concerning the complaint and validity of the complaint will be made by the investigating officer. This judgement will be detailed in a written report containing the findings of the investigations and reasons for the judgement. The report will be passed to the Chief Executive, Chairman or Business Owner as appropriate. 

The Chief Executive / Chairman / Business Owner will decide what action to take. If the complaint is shown to be justified, then they will invoke the disciplinary or other appropriate Company procedures. 

The complainant should be kept informed of the progress of the investigations and, if appropriate, of the final outcome. 

If appropriate, a copy of the outcomes will be used to enable a review of Company procedures. 

If the complainant is not satisfied that their concern is being properly dealt with by the investigating officer, they have the right to raise it in confidence with the Chief Executive / Business Owner / Chairman, or one of the designated persons described above.

If the investigation finds the allegations unsubstantiated and all internal procedures have been exhausted, but the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, Cavalier Carpets  recognises the lawful rights of employees and ex-employees to make disclosures to prescribed persons or body (e.g. the Health and Safety Executive). A full list of prescribed people and bodies can be found on the Government Website (www.gov.uk).

ANTI-BRIBERY POLICY

Introduction
This Company is committed to implementing and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery. Therefore, it is the Company’s policy to conduct all aspects of its business in an honest and ethical manner at all times.

This policy applies to all individuals working for the Company, including anyone providing services to the Company such as consultants, or contractors.

Policy Aim
The aim of this policy is to help the Company act in accordance with the Bribery Act 2010, maintain the highest possible standards of business practice, and advise individuals of the Company’s 'zero-tolerance' to bribery.

The Law
Under UK law (UK Bribery Act 2010), bribery and corruption is punishable for individuals by up to ten years imprisonment. If the Company is found to have taken part in the corruption or lacks adequate procedures to prevent Bribery, it could face an unlimited fine and be excluded from tendering for Government contracts.

Policy Statement
This policy applies to all permanent and fixed-term staff employed by the Company, and any contractors, consultants or other persons acting under or on behalf of the Company.
The company will not:

Make contributions of any kind with the purpose of gaining any commercial advantage.

Provide gifts or hospitality with the intention of persuading anyone to act improperly, or to influence a public official in the performance of their duties.

Make, or accept, “kickbacks” of any kind.

The Company will:
Keep appropriate internal records that will evidence the business reason for making any payments to third parties.

Encourage employees to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of malpractice at the earliest possible stage.

See that anyone raising a concern about bribery will not suffer any detriment as a result, even if they turn out to be mistaken.

Employee Responsibility
Employees must not:
Accept any financial or other reward from any person in return for providing some favour.

Request a financial or other reward from any person in return for providing some favour.

Offer any financial or other reward from any person in return for providing some favour.

Gifts and Hospitality
This policy does not prohibit giving and receiving promotional gifts of low value, or normal and appropriate hospitality.

Receiving Business gifts:
Receiving promotional gifts of low value is normal and appropriate; however, gifts with a value exceeding £25.00 may not be accepted without approval. Any gift offered and then refused because of its value, must be reported to The Company. 

Offering Business gifts:
Business gifts are primarily aimed at thanking customers and suppliers for their custom and loyalty, only authorised gifts may be given.

Receiving Hospitality:
The acceptance of corporate hospitality must be transparent; all invitations must be reported to the company before an employee accepts any invitation. The following areas are exempt while attending conferences, seminars, sponsored by third parties.

business and travel expenses incurred

normal business lunches and meals

Offering gifts and hospitality:
Company hospitality is primarily aimed at thanking customers and suppliers for their custom and loyalty. All hospitality events must have approval.

Donations to organisations:
No donations should be made to charities, political parties or other organisations without approval.

Non Compliance
Staff - Failing to observe Company policy may lead to disciplinary action in accordance with the Company’s Disciplinary Policy. 

Visitors - In the event of a breach of the policy by other organisations, or individuals, the Company will take appropriate action.

Monitoring Policy
The policy will be monitored on an on-going basis to ensure that it addresses issues effectively.

The following will be monitored:
- That all individuals working for the Company are advised of the policy.

- Assessment of any reported incident or related occurrence.

Monitoring of the policy is essential to assess how effective the Company has been to establish control of its obligations.

Definitions 
Bribe is a financial or other advantage offered or given to anyone to persuade them to or reward them for performing their duties improperly, or, with the intention of influencing them in the performance of their duties. 

Hospitality is the practice of being hospitable, this includes the reception and entertainment of guests / visitors. 

Kickbacks or facilitation payments are typically small payments made in return for a business favour or advantage.  

Reviewing Policy
This policy will be reviewed and, if necessary, revised in the light of legislative or organisational changes. Improvements will be made by learning from experience and the use of an established annual review.

Policy Amendments

Should any amendments, revisions, or updates be made to this policy it is the responsibility of the Company senior management to see that all relevant employees receive notice. Written notice and/or training should be considered.

Policy Implementation Notice
This is the policy statement of: 
Cavalier Carpets Ltd   
Policy review date:    (June 2015)

Terms and Conditions of Use
The Company (client) clearly understands the information provided is only a guide to good practice; it is up to each client to see that it meets the need of their particular circumstances or industry. In no way whatsoever should the information provided be taken as an interpretation of the law. Such an interpretation can only be given by the employment tribunals and by the courts. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this document; it may include inaccuracies or typographical errors and will be changed or updated without notice.