Advice and Instructions for Staff
The term ‘whistleblowing’ has no legal definition within EC or UK law; however, it has been used to describe incidents where an employee publicly discloses some alleged wrongdoing within an organisation.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 aims to promote greater openness in the workplace and, by amending the Employment Rights Act 1996, protects ‘whistleblowers’ from detrimental treatment, i.e. victimisation or dismissal, for raising concerns about matters in the public interest. In providing this protection, the Act also reinforces the obligations of all persons employed by the University not to disclose to external sources any trade secrets or confidential information acquired during the course of their employment unless they fall within the qualifying for protection disclosures.
This statement, which incorporates advice from the CVCP, sets out the University's Policy and provides in some detail advice and guidance to staff on the scope of the Policy. It explains that any member of staff who has a reasonable belief that there is serious malpractice relating to any of the protected matters specified in the Policy may raise a concern under the procedure agreed by the Council and which is described in this statement. There is also information about the rights of staff to raise the matter externally if they are not satisfied with the University's response and the protection afforded to them if they choose to do this after the internal procedures have been exhausted.
All persons employed by the University are under an obligation implied in their contract of employment to give honest and faithful service to their employer. This includes an obligation not to disclose to external sources any trade secrets or confidential information acquired during the course of employment or act in a manner that will undermine the mutual trust and confidence on which the employment relationship is based. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 complements those obligations by providing protection to employees for disclosure made without malice and in good faith of certain specific confidential information to a third party in defined circumstances. These are outlined below in paragraph 3. The purpose of this policy is to provide a means by which staff are enabled to raise concerns with the appropriate University authorities if they have reasonable grounds for believing there is serious malpractice within the Institution. The University encourages staff to raise matters of concern responsibly through the procedures laid down in this policy statement.