Whistleblowing procedure

Girlguiding's whistleblowing procedure

These procedures should be read in conjunction with the whistleblowing policy

These procedures relate to adult volunteers only.

How do I whistleblow? What’s the procedure?

1) Good faith

Firstly, and for the Girlguiding whistleblowing policy to apply, you must be giving your information to us in good faith.

This means that you must believe it to be substantially true and you must not act maliciously or make false allegations, or seek any personal gain.

Anyone who abuses this policy will be subject to suspension, dismissal or withdrawal of membership under the managing concerns about adult volunteer behaviour policy if they are a member or volunteer.

2) Contact Girlguiding HQ

You can do this verbally by phone on 0207 834 6242, or through our online form. You don’t have to give your name, but we encourage you to if possible. You will need to give a contact telephone number or email address so we can contact you.

You should state clearly that you believe you are making a protected disclosure under the Girlguiding whistleblowing policy.

If you are a young member (under 18) speak to your parent, carer or a trusted adult friend to support you with letting us know about your concern.

If you need to whistleblow about the Safeguarding team, please contact the chief executive on 0207 834 6242.

If you need to whistleblow about a staff member, please contact the Head of HR on 0207 592 1804 or by email [email protected] 

3) Girlguiding HQ responds

HQ will acknowledge your message within two working days. They will give you a reference number which you should use when contacting us about the matter. This will help keep matters confidential.

4) Girlguiding HQ sends the report to the chief executive and directors

We will restrict access to the report and the information will be treated sensitively.  If you are concerned that the chief executive or a director may be involved in the issues, you should let us know when you first contact us.

5) A person not involved in the issue will be chosen to investigate

An appropriate person will be chosen to carry an investigation out. For example, this could be a local commissioner, an experienced member from a different region or a HQ member of staff. Whoever investigates, the directors and chief executive will first confirm that person is impartial.

6) Your concern is investigated

This person will meet with you, talk to you, asking you to explain your concerns in your own words.

They will ask you for the history of your concerns in chronological order, with details of any acts (or omissions) and the names of who was involved, and investigate.

You can bring a friend, carer or colleague with you to these meetings if you like. The companion must respect the confidentiality of the disclosure and any subsequent investigation.

The investigator may use the help of people outside Girlguiding if appropriate (for example, in cases where there is a suspicion of criminal activity). The investigator will keep you informed of progress as much as possible depending on levels of confidentiality required. 

In certain cases, consideration will be given to suspend the person who is alleged to have done wrong doing. If at any stage your concern suggests harm to a child or vulnerable adult, the safeguarding team will be advised. At this stage the investigation may be conducted by the safeguarding team and will be treated as a safeguarding investigation in accordance with the safeguarding policy.

We will aim to keep you informed of the progress of the investigation and its likely timescale. However, sometimes the need for confidentiality may prevent us giving you specific details of the investigation or any disciplinary action taken as a result. You should treat any information about the investigation as confidential.

Where there is no case to answer, but the person who brought the concern to the attention of the organisation, had a genuine concern and was not acting maliciously, no action will be taken against them and the organisation will ensure that the person suffers no reprisals. Where false allegations are made maliciously or with a view to personal gain, action will be taken against them under the managing concerns about adult volunteer behaviour.

What if I’m not satisfied with the process or outcome?

If you are not happy with how your concern has been handled you should inform the chief executive or chief guide.

Date first published: 16 June 2017

Date for review: February 2018