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Office Memorandum 4/07 To: All staff in DRD WHISTLEBLOWING (PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE) AND CODE OF ETHICS Introduction 1. The purpose of this Memorandum is to highlight, to all staff, the rules and Departmental procedures for reporting and considering concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace. The guidance does not apply to grievances about personal situations (see paragraph 13 below), but relates to the disclosure, whether internally or externally, of issues such as malpractice, unlawful activity or serious omissions of duty at work. If you are aware of an issue which is causing you concern, but are not sure whether it falls within the scope of Whistleblowing, advice should be sought from Core Personnel Division (see paragraph 23). Code of Ethics Background 2. The current, new version of the NI Civil Service Code of Ethics was launched in November 2006, with a personal copy having been sent to all civil servants. It is also accessible through the Personnel Intranet site. The Code outlines the framework within which NI civil servants work, details the core values and standards of behaviour which they are expected to uphold and provides broad guidance for situations in which a member of staff is required to act in a way which conflicts with the principles of the Code or becomes aware of breaches of the Code by others. Now incorporated at Annex 1 of the Conduct Chapter of the NICS Staff Handbook, the Code of Ethics also stipulates that a civil servant must report evidence of criminal or unlawful activity to the police or other appropriate authorities. Reporting/Investigating complaints 3. If you become aware of actions by others which you believe conflict with the NICS Code of Ethics, you should not approach/accuse individuals

directly or attempt to investigate the matter yourself. Instead, you should raise your concern through the management line (not below DP/SPTO or equivalent grade level), where most cases are likely to be satisfactorily resolved. 4. If, however, you have a valid reason for considering that it would be inappropriate to approach line management, or if, having raised the matter with a senior line manager, you wish to take the matter further, you may refer the matter to the Department’s Nominated Officer (ie DRD’s Director of Personnel, Room 5-22, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8GB (Tel: 02890 541070)). Any such reports should be made in writing, give the fullest possible details, be marked “Protect – Personal” and transmitted in an envelope marked “Addressee Only”. 5. In the case of complaints/concerns referred to the Department’s Nominated Officer, the facts and grounds must be agreed between you and the Nominated Officer before the matter is formally investigated. The investigation will be carried out as quickly as a thorough investigation of the matter allows, and, following completion, the Nominated Officer will notify the outcome, in writing, to you. 6. Reports/complaints, either to line management or the Department’s Nominated Officer, should, where possible, be made within one month from the date on which you consider a breach of the Code to have occurred. Code of Ethics: General 7. Where you have reported concerns but the process of internal review is not complete before action is required, you should carry out instructions (other than in cases where a clear breach of the law would occur) pending a response from the Department. You may, however, formally record your dissent with the action and will not be subject to disciplinary action in such circumstances. 8. The introduction of these procedures does not prevent an individual from appealing to the Head of Department on a personal matter under the provisions of paragraph 1.8.1 of the Conduct and Discipline Part of the NICS Staff Handbook. 9. In raising and/or pursuing a matter through the Code of Ethics route, you are free to seek advice from, and to be represented by, your Trade Union representative. Public Interest Disclosure Background 10. The provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure (NI) Order 1998, as summarised in Annex 3 of the Conduct Chapter of the NICS Staff

Handbook, enable workers who report wrongdoing (often referred to as “whistleblowers”) to complain to an Industrial Tribunal if they are dismissed or suffer any form of detriment for having made such a report. Protection 11. Malpractice is taken very seriously, and the Department is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with that commitment, staff who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Department’s work are encouraged and expected to come forward and voice those concerns, and may do so without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination or disadvantage. 12. Protection for whistleblowers applies if an individual raises a concern which, in his/her reasonable belief, suggests that one or more of the following situations has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur: • a criminal offence; • failure to comply with a legal obligation; • a miscarriage of justice; • the endangering of an individual’s health and safety; • damage to the environment; and/or • deliberate concealment of information tending to show any of the above. 13. The protection does not extend to private/personal grievances, including complaints about individual employment matters. Within the NI Civil Service, concerns of this nature may be taken forward through other routes, eg the established Grievance Procedure. 14. A disclosure will be protected under the Order if it is made: a. in good faith through internal procedures, or to another person whom the individual believes to be solely or mainly responsible for the failure/offence in question; b. to a legal adviser in the course of obtaining legal advice; c. in good faith to a Government Minister; or d. to a person or body prescribed in Statutory Rule 1999 No 401, eg the Health & Safety Executive for NI or the Comptroller & Auditor General for NI.

15. A disclosure will also be protected if it is made through other means, provided that the individual makes it in good faith, reasonably believes the information and the allegation contained in it to be substantially true and is not acting for personal gain. One or more of the following conditions must apply: • the individual reasonably believed that he/she would be victimised if he/she had raised the matter internally or to a prescribed person; • the individual reasonably believed that the disclosure related to a criminal offence and was thus a “qualifying disclosure”; • there was no “prescribed person”, and the individual reasonably believed that disclosure to the employer would result in the destruction/concealment of evidence; or • the individual had already disclosed substantially the same information to his/her employer or an appropriate prescribed person. 16. In deciding whether a disclosure is “reasonable”, an Industrial Tribunal will consider all of the relevant circumstances, including the identity of the person to whom the disclosure had been made, the seriousness of the matter concerned, whether the failure/offence is continuing or is likely to occur and whether the individual has complied with approved internal procedures. Reporting/investigating complaints 17. If you wish to raise, internally, a concern about an actual or perceived wrongdoing which is inconsistent with the provisions of the NICS Code of Ethics, it is recommended that you follow the procedures detailed at paragraphs 3 and 4 above. If, for whatever reason, you wish to raise the matter internally but do not wish to make a formal report under the Code of Ethics, the following steps are applicable within DRD: a. You should, in the first instance, raise your concern either orally or in writing with a senior manager (not below DP/SPTO or equivalent grade level). Managers should handle any such concern in accordance with the broad guidance set out at Annex A and should provide you with a written response within 10 working days. b. If you have a valid reason for not approaching a senior manager, or if, having had your complaint considered by a senior manager, you wish to take the matter further, you should raise it, either orally or in writing, with the Department’s Nominated Officer (ie DRD’s Director of Personnel (Room 5-22, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8GB (Tel: 02890 541070)). The Director of Personnel will either investigate the matter personally or appoint another officer to do this on his/her behalf, and will make every effort to respond to you within 10 working days of receipt of your complaint.

c. If, having followed steps (a) and (b), your concern remains, or if you feel that the matter is so serious that it cannot be referred to (or discussed with) a senior manager or the Director of Personnel, you may report your concern direct to the Department’s Permanent Secretary (Room 7-02, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8GB (Tel: 02890 541175)). Once he/she has assessed the matter, the Permanent Secretary will decide what action should be taken and will arrange for you to be contacted about this within 10 working days of his/her receipt of your complaint. 18. In raising and/or pursuing a matter through one of the above routes, you are free to seek advice from, and to be represented by, your trade union representative. General 19. If you feel that your concern relates to an issue which falls into the specific category of internal or external fraud, you may seek initial advice from one of the key Contact Officers listed at Section 1, Appendix 4 of the Department’s Anti-Fraud Policy and Fraud Response Plan (accessible under “Corporate Documents” on the DRD Today homepage) . 20. It should be noted that: a. a civil servant will not be penalised for raising genuine concerns in accordance with the stipulated procedures; b. harassment or victimisation of individuals who have raised genuine concerns will not be tolerated. Any such action, including the application of informal pressure, will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence and dealt with under the NICS disciplinary procedures; c. for Roads Service staff, the process of attempting to resolve complaints or concerns internally will normally involve the Chief Executive; d. if an allegation is found to have been made maliciously or solely for personal gain (ie as opposed to representing a genuine concern), disciplinary action may be taken against the complainant; and e. complaints/concerns will be treated in confidence wherever possible. However, in the interests of justice to any party complained of, it will probably not be possible in the long term to protect confidentiality, especially if criminal or disciplinary proceedings ensue. 21. Guidance may be sought from the independent charity Public Concern at Work (Tel: 020 7404 6609 or e-mail helpline@pcaw.co.uk), whose lawyers can give free confidential advice at any stage regarding a concern about serious malpractice at work.

22. If you have reported a matter internally (through the Code of Ethics route) and believe that the outcome or reply does not represent a reasonable response, you may write to the Civil Service Commissioners. The Commissioners will also consider taking a complaint or appeal direct, ie without the internal processes having first been exhausted. The Commissioners’ address is: Office of the Civil Service Commissioners for Northern Ireland 5th Floor Windsor House 9-15 Bedford Street Belfast BT2 7SR (Tel: 02890 549151) 23. If required, clarification of any aspect of these procedures may be obtained from the DRD Establishment Officer, Core Personnel Division, Clarence Court, 10-18 Adelaide Street, Belfast BT2 8GB. 24. Within DRD, this Memorandum supersedes and replaces DOE Office Memorandum 12/97. 25. The terms of this Memorandum have been agreed with Trade Union Side.

[Signed]

WENDY JOHNSTON Director of Personnel 31 August 2007

ANNEX A

DEALING WITH WHISTLEBLOWING CONCERNS: SENIOR MANAGERS

GUIDANCE FOR

All reports about actual or perceived wrongdoing in the workplace, whether raised orally or in writing, must be treated seriously. The manager with whom the concern is raised should:
• • •

agree the facts and grounds on which the concern rests; establish the evidence; identify any personal interest which the whistleblower might have in the issue concerned; take immediate action if the alleged wrongdoing involves a risk or danger to others (eg on health and safety grounds); carry out investigations promptly, sensitively and as discreetly as possible; ascertain whether any other staff had raised similar concerns in the past; obtain reports from witnesses (if any); ensure that, other than in the case of formal reports under the Code of Ethics, a written response is provided to the whistleblower within 10 working days; and advise the whistleblower of any proposed remedial action resulting from his/her concern.

• • • •

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Office Memorandum 4/09 WHISTLEBLOWING ARRANGEMENTS Introduction 1. Concerns at work can sometimes arise as we go about our day to day business. Normally these can be discussed with our colleagues and line managers and are easily resolved. However, when they involve matters such as possible unlawful conduct, financial malpractice, danger to the public or the environment, serious safety/security issues or breaches of confidence, it can be difficult to know what to do. 2. You may be worried about raising such a concern and may think it best to keep it to yourself, perhaps feeling it is none of your business or that it is only a suspicion. You may feel that raising the matter would be disloyal to colleagues, managers or to the Department. You may decide to say something but find that you have spoken to the wrong person or raised the issue in the wrong way and are not sure what to do next. 3. The purpose of these Departmental arrangements on ‘whistleblowing’ is to reassure you that it is safe and acceptable to speak up. The procedures also enable you to raise your concern about potential wrongdoing at an early stage and in the right way. 4. If something is troubling you which you think we should know about or look into, please let us know. If, however, you wish to make a complaint about your employment or how you have been treated, please use the NICS Grievance Procedure. We have implemented these whistleblowing arrangements for you to raise any concern where the interests of others or the organisation itself are at risk. 5. If your concern is about possible fraud, you may also wish to refer to our Anti-Fraud Policy and Fraud Response Plan, available from Finance Division and accessible under “Corporate Documents” on the DRD Today Homepage or by clicking on the following link http://drdtoday.intranet.nics.gov.uk/afpfrp_jan_2008.pdf 6. If in doubt, raise it!

Our Assurances to you Your safety 7. We are committed to making ‘whistleblowing’ work. If you raise a genuine concern under these arrangements, you will not be at risk of losing your job or suffering any form of retribution as a result. Provided you are acting in good faith, it does not matter if you are mistaken. Of course, this assurance does not extend to someone who maliciously raises a matter they know to be untrue. Confidentiality 8. We will not tolerate the harassment or victimisation of anyone who raises a genuine concern, and, given these assurances, we hope you will raise your concern openly. However, we recognise that there may be circumstances when you would prefer to speak to someone in confidence first. If this is the case, please say so at the outset. If you ask us not to disclose your identity, we will not do so without your consent unless required by law. You should understand that there may be times when we are unable to resolve a concern without revealing your identity, for example where your personal evidence is essential. In such cases, we will discuss with you whether and how the matter can best proceed. Anonymity 9. Remember that if you do not tell us who you are, it will be much more difficult for us to look into the matter, to protect your position, or to give you feedback. Accordingly, while we will consider anonymous reports, these arrangements are not well suited to deal with concerns raised anonymously. 10. If you are unsure about raising a concern, you can get independent advice from the organisation Public Concern at Work (see paragraph 19 below), whose lawyers can give free independent advice at any stage regarding a concern about serious malpractice at work. How to raise a concern internally 11. Please remember that you do not need to have firm evidence of malpractice before raising a concern. However, we do ask that you explain, as fully as you can, the information or circumstances that gave rise to your concern. Step One 12. If you have a concern about malpractice, we hope you will feel able to raise it first with your line manager or with their immediate manager. This can be done orally or in writing. Managers should handle any concern in accordance with the broad guidance set out at Appendix 1.

Step Two 13. If, for whatever reason, you feel that raising it with your line manager or their immediate manager is not appropriate or has not worked, please raise the matter with your Head of Branch/Division or with one of the following:

Nigel McCormick, Director of Finance (Tel: 02890 540848; E-mail: nigel.mccormick@drdni.gov.uk) Brendan Devlin, Head of Corporate Services Unit (Tel: 02890 540180; E-mail: brendan.devlin@drdni.gov.uk) Ronnie Balfour, Head of Internal Audit (Tel: 02890 547880; E-mail: ronnie.balfour@drdni.gov.uk) Pat Delaney, Acting Director of Personnel (Tel: 02890 541070; E-mail: pat.delaney@drdni.gov.uk)

14. If you want to raise the matter in confidence, please say so at the outset so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Step Three 15. If these channels have been followed and you believe there is an ongoing risk, or you feel the matter is so serious that you cannot discuss it with any of the above, you can raise your concern directly with:

Lian Patterson, Senior Finance Director, Resources and Management Services (Tel: 02890 541180; E-mail: lian.patterson@drdni.gov.uk) or

Paul Priestly, Permanent Secretary (Tel: 02890 541175; E-mail: paul.priestly@drdni.gov.uk)

How we will handle the matter 16. Once you have told us of your concern, we will look into it to assess initially what action should be taken. This may involve an informal review, an internal inquiry or a more formal investigation. Where it is decided that a formal investigation is necessary, the overall responsibility for the investigation will lie with a nominated Investigating Officer. In any event, we will tell you who is dealing with the matter, how you can contact him/her, and whether your further assistance may be needed. If you specifically request it, we will write to you summarising your concern and setting out how we propose to handle the investigation of it.

17. When you raise the concern, you may be asked how you think the matter might best be resolved. If you have any personal interest in the matter, we would ask that you tell us at the outset. If your concern falls more properly within the NICS Grievance Procedure, we will tell you. 18. We will give you as much feedback as we properly can, and, if requested, we will confirm it in writing. However, we may not be able to tell you the precise action we take where this would infringe a duty of confidence owed by us to someone else. Independent advice 19. If you are unsure whether or how to raise a concern, or if you want confidential advice at any stage, you may contact your union. You may also contact the independent charity Public Concern at Work (Tel: 020 7404 6609 or email helpline@pcaw.co.uk). Their lawyers can talk you through your options and help you raise a concern about malpractice at work. For more information, you can visit their website at www.pcaw.co.uk. External disclosures 20. While we hope we have given you the reassurance you need to raise your concern internally with us, we recognise that there may be circumstances where you can properly report a concern to an outside body. In fact, we would rather you raise a matter with the appropriate regulator – such as the Northern Ireland Audit Office or the Health & Safety Executive of Northern Ireland - than not at all. Public Concern at Work (or your union) will be able to advise you on such an option and on the circumstances in which you may be able to contact an outside body safely. NI Civil Service Code of Ethics 21. The NI Civil Service Code of Ethics was launched in November 2006 and is now incorporated at Annex 1 of the Standards of Conduct section of the NICS HR Handbook. The Code outlines the framework within which NI civil servants work and details the core values and standards of behaviour which they are expected to uphold. 22. If, as a civil servant, you believe that you are being required to act in a way which conflicts with the core values and standards set out in the Code, or if you have become aware of the actions of others which you believe conflict with the Code, you should raise the matter with the Department’s Nominated Officer, ie:

Pat Delaney, Acting Director of Personnel (Tel: 02890 541070; E-mail: pat.delaney@drdni.gov.uk)

Alternatively, the matter may be raised with:

Lian Patterson, Senior Finance Director, Resources and Management Services (Tel: 02890 541180; E-mail: lian.patterson@drdni.gov.uk)

23. As an alternative, and if your concern is about a breach of the Code of Ethics, you may instead raise your concern directly with the Civil Service Commissioners for Northern Ireland. While it is the Commissioners’ preference that issues under the Code of Ethics are raised internally within the relevant Department in the first instance, there may be circumstances when Commissioners would accept a complaint or appeal without this having occurred. Commissioners will examine each case on its merits. The Commissioners’ address is: Office of the Civil Service Commissioners for Northern Ireland 5th Floor Windsor House 9-15 Bedford Street Belfast BT2 7SR (Tel: 02890 549151) Complaints from third parties 24. Strictly speaking, complaints or concerns which a member of staff receives from a third party (eg an external source), whether about the Department or any of its individual employees, do not fall within the scope of these internal arrangements. Staff are nevertheless reminded that they have a duty of care to ensure that any such complaint is investigated, particularly if it involves a security or safety issue, and to bring it, in confidence, to the attention of an appropriate senior officer. Conclusion 25. While we cannot guarantee that we will respond to all matters in the way that you might wish, we will strive to handle the matter fairly and properly. By using these whistleblowing arrangements you will help us to achieve this. 26. These arrangements apply to DRD staff only, given that the Department’s Arm’s Length Bodies have separate procedures in place for their respective employees. 27. This Memorandum supersedes and replaces DRD Office Memorandum 4/07. [Signed] PAT DELANEY Acting Director of Personnel 9 April 2009

APPENDIX 1 (to Office Memorandum 4/09)

DEALING WITH WHISTLEBLOWING CONCERNS: SENIOR MANAGERS

GUIDANCE FOR

All reports about actual or perceived wrongdoing in the workplace, whether raised orally or in writing, must be treated seriously. The manager with whom the concern is raised should:

consider the nature of the concern raised. Is it, for example, an allegation of suspected fraud which would be handled more appropriately under the Department’s Anti-Fraud Policy and Fraud Response Plan? agree the facts and grounds on which the concern rests; establish the evidence; identify any personal interest which the whistleblower might have in the issue concerned; take immediate action if the alleged wrongdoing involves a risk or danger to others (eg on health and safety grounds); carry out investigations promptly, sensitively and as discreetly as possible; honour the whistleblower’s request not to disclose his/her identity without their consent unless required to do so by law; ascertain whether any other staff had raised similar concerns in the past; obtain reports from witnesses (if any); ensure that feedback is provided to the whistleblower; and advise the whistleblower of any proposed remedial action resulting from his/her concern.

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• • • •

In the case of anonymous reports (to which the Department will obviously be unable to respond), the manager should consider whether the whistleblower’s decision to remain anonymous has any significance in terms of the nature of the concern raised, the potential impact on colleagues and the means by which it is to be investigated.