The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Other Relevant Documents
Risk Management Policy (PDF)
Allegations relating to the running of the University or the activities of colleagues within the University ("whistleblowing")
In the light of advice from Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals* and the Committee for University Chairmen, the following general guidance on "whistleblowing" has been endorsed by Council at its meeting on 3 July 1998 for adoption with immediate effect.
- The University of Kent, like other public bodies, has a duty to conduct its affairs in a responsible and transparent way and to take into account both the requirements of funding bodies and the standards in public life enunciated in Lord Nolan's Reports. In addition it is committed to the principles of academic freedom embodied in its own charter, statutes and articles of government, and enshrined in the Education Reform Act 1988.
- It is recognised that members of staff are often the first to know when things are going wrong in an institution whether these concern questions of financial malpractice, the abrogation of appropriate and agreed procedures or departures from the statutory or other requirements for good governance. In the normal course of events concerns should be raised via heads of departments or through staff representatives. However in some cases members of staff may feel, rightly or wrongly, that their own position in the institution could be jeopardised if they raise a particular concern in this way or may regard official channels as otherwise inappropriate. In such cases the following should apply:
- Allegations of injustice or discrimination against individuals should be dealt with under established grievance procedures or, if it is a student grievance, through the machinery established by the University for this purpose.
- Allegations about an individual's financial conduct should normally be made to the Head of Internal Audit Services who has a direct reporting relationship with the Vice-Chancellor as the Officer within the University who is designated by Council and by the Funding Council to be accountable for the control of the University's funds, and to the Audit Committee established by Council. The Audit Office will normally investigate the allegation or report to higher authority as appropriate. Where, for whatever reason, the person making the allegation considers it inappropriate to notify the Internal Audit Office, the provisions of paragraph (iii) apply.
- Allegations about other issues, for example the behaviour of a senior university officer, or a lay/independent member of the Council, or about the propriety of committee or other collective decisions should be made, as the person making the allegation deems appropriate, to the Vice-Chancellor, the Secretary of the Council, or to the Chair of Council. If for any reason none of these individuals is deemed to be appropriate the allegation should be made to the Chair of the Audit Committee.
- In any case where an allegation has been made under paragraphs (ii) or (iii) the person to whom the allegation is made should make a record of its receipt and of what subsequent action was taken. Any allegation made under this procedure shall normally be the subject of a preliminary investigation either by the person to whom the allegation is made or more usually by a person or persons appointed by him/her. Such investigations will not normally be carried out by the person who may ultimately have to reach a decision on the matter. Where no investigation is carried out, and the allegation is effectively dismissed, the person making the allegation shall be informed and given one further opportunity to remake the allegation to some other person or authority within the University. Where an allegation is made the person or persons against whom the allegation is made will be told of the allegation, the evidence supporting it and will be allowed to comment before the investigation is concluded and a report made. The results of the investigation shall be reported to the Audit Committee.
- Any person making an allegation under paragraphs (ii) or (iii) should be guaranteed that the allegation shall be regarded as confidential to the receiver until a formal investigation is launched. Thereafter the identity of the person making the allegation may be kept confidential, if requested, unless this is incompatible with a fair investigation, or if there is an overriding reason for disclosure.
- Provided an allegation has been made lawfully, without malice and in good faith, the employment position of the person will not be disadvantaged for reasons of making the allegation. However, the provisions in paragraph 4 and 5 above are not intended to afford protection to those making allegations anonymously, frivolously or maliciously, or which are insubstantial or unsupported by a sufficient level of evidence.
*Now UUK (Universities UK)
Secretary of the Council
26 September 2006