Safeguarding

Do you have concerns about a member of staff or volunteer

Southwark Carers are committed to managing the organisation in the best way possible. This process is in place to reassure staff, service users and professionals working with eh charity that it is safe and acceptable to speak up and enable concerns to be raised at an early stage and in the right way.

Rather than wait for proof, we would prefer you to raise the matter when it is still a concern. It can be difficult to know what to do when these concerns are about unlawful conduct, financial irregularities, abuse, or if you feel these issues are being inappropriately concealed.

This does not replace the Charity’s Complaints Procedure, which should be used by service users or those acting on their behalf to deal with specific incidents relating to individual clients.

Definitions

  • Whistleblowing: The official name for Whistleblowing is ‘making a dis- closure in the public interest’. It means that if you believe there is wrong- doing in your workplace, you can report this by following the correct pro- cesses and your employment rights are protected.
  • Malpractice – could be improper, illegal or negligent behaviour by anyone in the workplace.

 

This process is intended to cover serious public interest concerns that fall outside the scope of other procedures. These, as stated are that in the reasonable belief of the service user, professional working with the organisation or employee, the following matters are either happening now, have happened, or are likely to happen:

  • A criminal offence
  • The breach of a legal obligation
  • A miscarriage of justice
  • A danger to the health and safety of an individual
  • Deliberate covering up of/failing to report information tending to show any of the above 4 matters.

 

How to raise a concern

If you are unsure about raising a concern at any stage you can get independent advice from your trade union representative or Public Concern at Work (see below). However, we do ask that you explain as fully as you can the information or circumstances that gave rise to your concern.

Internal Stages

Once you have reported your concern, we will assess it and consider what action may be appropriate. This may involve an informal review, an internal inquiry or a more formal investigation. We will tell you who will be handling the matter, how you can contact them and what further assistance we may need from you.

When you raise the concern it will be helpful to know how you think the matter might best be resolved. If you have any personal interest in the matter, we do ask that you tell us at the outset. If we think your concern falls more properly within our grievance, harassment and bullying or other relevant procedure, we will inform you accordingly.

The following stages will normally apply:

Stage 1

If you have a concern about a risk, malpractice or wrongdoing , we hope you will feel able to raise it. This may be done verbally or in writing. You may involve a Trade Union Representative, a friend or a colleague at this stage, providing that that person is not involved in the investigation. The concerns should be raised with the designated officer – Rob Danavell the Organisation’s Safeguarding Lead; 020 7708 4497 or rob.danavell@southwarkcarers.org.uk  If your concern surrounds the designated officer you can raise the concerns with the Charity’s Chief Executive Officer Verinder Mander 020 7708 4497 or verinder.mander@southwarkcarers.org.uk

Stage 2

Where concerns are raised with the designated officer, they will arrange an initial interview which will, if requested, be confidential to ascertain the areas of concern. At this stage, you will be asked whether you wish your identity to be disclosed and will be reassured about protection from possible victimisation. You will also be asked if you wish to make a written statement. In either case, the designated officer will write a brief summary of the interview, which will be agreed by both parties.

The designated officer will report to the Chief Executive who will be responsible for the commission of any further investigation within the Charity.

The Formal Investigation

If the concern raised is very serious or complex, a formal investigation may be held. The investigation may need to be carried out under the terms of strict confidentiality i.e. by not informing the subject of the complaint until it becomes necessary to do so. In certain cases, however, such as allegations of ill- treatment of clients, suspension from work may have to be considered immediately. Protection of clients is paramount in all cases.

The designated officer will offer to keep the member of staff informed about the investigation and its outcome.

If the result of the investigation is that there is a case to be answered by any individual, Southwark Carers’ Disciplinary Policy will be used and the details discovered by the formal investigation, transferred to that process.

Where there is no case to answer, but the employee held a genuine concern and was not acting maliciously, the designated officer will ensure that the employee suffers no reprisals.

If there is no case to answer but there is evidence that the allegation was made frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain, disciplinary action will be taken against the complainant.

The matter will be dealt with promptly at each stage. Where appropriate, immediate steps will be taken to remedy the situation as soon as practicably possible. A final outcome may take more time but a final resolution/outcome at each stage should be available within ten working days.

Following the investigation

The Chief Executive will advise the designated officer as to the possible options open to the Charity as a result of the outcome of the investigation. The designated officer will then arrange a meeting with the member of staff (where the identity has been disclosed) to give feedback on any action taken. (This will not include details of any disciplinary action, which will remain confidential to the individual concerned). The feedback will be provided as soon as possible.

If the member of staff is not satisfied with the action taken/not taken, the Charity recognises the lawful rights of employees and ex-employees to make disclosures to prescribed persons (such as The Charities Commission, The Care Quality Commission, funders i.e. Southwark Council).

Complaints about the Chief Executive

In the event that the concern is about the Chief Executive, this concern should be made to the Chair of the Borad, by either the member of staff, their manager or the designated officer, who will decide on how the investigation will proceed.

Raising Concerns with outside bodies

The purpose of this process is to ensure that service users, staff and professionals working with the charity are aware of the way to raise their concerns and to see that action is taken promptly to remedy a particular situation.

However, it is recognised that there may be circumstances where individuals may feel they wish to report matters to outside bodies such as the Police, the Charities Commission, the Care Quality Commission, Carers UK or funders i.e. Southwark Council. A full list of persons/bodies can be obtained from the Designated Officer.

If individuals are contemplating making a wider disclosure they are strongly advised to first seek further specialist guidance from professional or other representative bodies.

Southwark Carers recognises that individuals may, after taking account of advice, wish to continue to raise their concerns using other avenues. These might include MPs or the Media. Please bear in mind that this action, if done unjustifiably could undermine public confidence in the service.

However, disclosure may attract statutory protection from victimisation/other detriment where all of the following apply:

  • They have an honest and reasonable suspicion that the malpractice/wrongdoing has occurred, is occurring, or is likely to occur;
  • They honestly and reasonably believe that the information and any allegation contained in it are substantially true;
  • The disclosure has not been made for personal gain;
  • The concern has been raised with the Trust or a prescribed regulator (unless there was reasonable belief of victimisation, there was no prescribed regulator and there was reasonable belief there would be a cover up);
  • The matter was exceptionally serious.

Find us

Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN
View map and directions

Contact us

020 7708 4497

Find us

Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45