Whistleblowing procedure

Girlguiding's whistleblowing procedure

As an adult volunteer, you must understand and follow this procedure when you use the whistleblowing policy

How do I whistleblow? What’s the procedure?

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.

As a member or volunteer, if you abuse this policy you will be subject to suspension, dismissal or withdrawal of membership under the managing concerns about adult volunteer behaviour policy.

Contact Girlguiding HQ

You can call us on 0207 834 6242, or use our contact 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.

Your message should include, where possible, all the key facts, dates and names of the people involved. This could include:

  • The name of the Girlguiding person/team/unit that your concern relates to.
  • Your own name and role.
  • Your concern.
  • Does anyone else know about this issue?
  • What impact does your concern have on Girlguiding?
  • Have you previously followed Girlguiding’s complaints procedure? If so what was the outcome?
  • Have you contacted any other organisations, like the police or Health and Safety Executive?
  • Do you give us permission to reveal your identity to Girlguiding’s chief executive and directors?

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 director of operations on 0207 834 6242.

If you need to whistleblow about a staff member, please contact the head of HR on 0207 592 1892 or by email [email protected]

Girlguiding HQ responds

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

Girlguiding seeks more information if necessary. We determine if the whistleblowing policy applies

HQ will review your concerns and may ask you for more information. If we think that the whistleblowing policy does not apply we will tell you, and explain if we feel it should be dealt with in line with other policies, for example complaints or safeguarding.

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.

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

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

Your concern is investigated

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

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

You can bring a friend, carer or colleague with you to any meeting if you like. The companion must respect the confidentiality of the disclosure and any 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. We understand this may be frustrating and give you concerns about whether we have actually done anything, and if this happens we will do our best to explain why we are acting in this way. You should treat any information about the investigation as confidential.

Where there is no case to answer, but you or 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. If you make a false allegation maliciously or with a view to personal gain, we will take action against you under the managing concerns about adult volunteer behaviour.

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

We will address your concerns fairly, but we cannot guarantee the outcome of our investigations will be the one you want. If you are not happy with how your concern has been handled you should inform the chief executive or chief guide who will review whether appropriate steps have been actioned. If you remain unhappy that your concerns have not been investigated appropriately, you may also raise your concerns with the Charity Commission.

Date last published: July 2019

Girlguiding policies and procedures are reviewed and updated from time to time as part of a review cycle.