The importance of an open and honest reporting culture remains central to organisations in all sectors in delivering their commercial objectives, within a supportive working environment. At the same time, employers must be alive to the need to actively manage attempts to abuse the additional protections afforded to those who raise concerns.
This is a balancing act in relation to which Bevan Brittan LLP has a wealth of experience. Not only do we have the expertise to ensure that your organisation is in the best possible shape in terms of its reporting culture, but we also have a proven track record on robustly defending organisations when things go wrong.
We can assist you with the following:
- Successful implementation whistleblowing policies, beyond mere reliance on the policy itself, ensuring its principles are embedded across your organisation to foster a culture of safety and transparency.
- Specialised support on the management of investigations to ensure they are conducted fairly and robustly, particularly where the outcome of the investigation may be published.
- Advising your Board on their obligations. In the health sector, for example, supporting your Chief Executive in the successful appointment of the organisation’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian (FTSU) and, once in post, supporting your FTSU Guardian to help create the right environment for staff to speak up safely and to share this best practice across both your organisation and the broader NHS.
- Dedicated training for Board members, senior management and staff on the importance of engendering a positive response to concerns, equalities, anti-bullying and harassment and running investigations. We can also offer bespoke training workshops.
- Supporting your HR and management teams in maintaining working relationships following a concern being raised.
- Assisting with the defence of any Employment Tribunal claims in which whistleblowing allegations have been raised. We are alive to the potentially sensitive background to such claims and the need to deal with the attendant publicity and political attention that such claims can bring. We have a successful track record of dealing with such claims effectively.
- Ensuring that your organisation is up to date with ongoing developments and government guidance on the whistleblowing framework. This is currently a dynamic area of law and practice, with the scope of the ‘public interest’ test being developed by the appellate courts.
Justice has been done. The expertise, decency and diligence of many colleagues have brought us to this point and I couldn't be more delighted!
Working with clients
With our support, your organisation can:
- ensure compliance with the latest Government requirements;
- adopt a culture of raising concerns and deal with these effectively;
- develop organisational awareness of the importance of raising concerns;
- make informed decisions on the basis of concerns raised and ultimately control risk;
- minimise the risk of Employment Tribunal claims.
Our service is built on clear, focused, strategic support. We don’t sit on the fence. We’ll talk through the options and explain the risks. Then we’ll go one step further by telling you what we would do if we were in your shoes. It’s an approach that our clients tell us adds real value to what we do.
We advised an acute NHS Trust in respect of multiple internal proceedings triggered by a whistle-blower, including investigation of malpractice allegations and the mediation of a resultant breakdown in working relationships which was ultimately resolved by a negotiated contractual settlement.