- The Association of British Education Awards (ABEA) is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. ABEA encourages employees, primary and casual staff, centre staff, contingent workers, contractors, consultants, learners/candidates, and members engaged in business with ABEA or an ABEA centre and who may be concerned about issues such as wrong doings/misconduct taking place with any aspect of the ABEA/ABEA centre’s operations, to come forward and voice those concerns.
- If someone knows about wrongdoing and fails to report it, ABEA/ABEA centres lose an opportunity to deal with a potentially damaging situation and gives rise to an even greater risk of financial loss, regulatory breach, and damaged reputation of ABEA and bring the award of its qualifications and units into disrepute.
- ABEA will not tolerate malpractice or wrongdoing and is determined that all instances of malpractice will be fully investigated and the appropriate action taken against all those concerned.
- Any disclosures made by employees which are made to their employer and which are intended to shed light on fraud, corruption or malpractice are in general protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Any employee raising concerns through this policy will be protected from reprisals or victimisation, so long as the employee is not acting maliciously or for personal gain.
- Internal systems and procedures must seek to prevent fraud but also protect individual employees against malicious or unfounded allegations of impropriety. Internal controls are the first line of defence against fraud and malpractice and organisational experience shows it is often the case that where fraud and malpractice does occur the controls were circumvented or ignored.
- ABEA already has in place documented procedures to ensure that there are proper controls in place and staff are made aware, through internal training and workshops, how the various duties should be carried out to ensure that there are efficient and effective controls which include separation of duties.
Aims of the Policy
- This policy aims to:
- Provide avenues for you to raise genuine concerns,
- Allow you to take the matter forward if you are dissatisfied with ABEA’s response,
- Reassure you that you will be protected from reprisals or victimisation for speaking up in good faith.
Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to everyone with a concern about wrong doing in ABEA/ABEA centre activities, whether they are an ABEA employee, centre employee, agency, learner, a contractor or a concerned member of the public.
- There are existing and separate procedures in place to enable staff to lodge a grievance relating to their own employment. Likewise recipients of ABEA’s services can use the complaints procedure about the services they have received.
- This policy is intended to cover concerns that fall outside the scope of the procedures mentioned above. That concern may be about something that:
- is unlawful (for example theft, fraud or corruption); or
- does not adhere to ABEA’s policies and procedures; or
- falls below established standards or practice; or
- amounts to improper conduct or
- anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or that you think is wrong.
- If you are in doubt then raise it, you will not be criticised for raising concerns in good faith.
Harassment or Victimisation
- ABEA recognises that the decision to report a concern can be difficult, not least because of the fear of reprisal from those responsible for the malpractice. ABEA will not tolerate harassment or victimisation and will take action to protect you when you raise a concern in good faith. However, ABEA will take action against anyone who maliciously makes an accusation of malpractice or wrongdoing.
- This does not mean that if, for example, you are already the subject of disciplinary or redundancy procedures, that those procedures will be halted as a result of you reporting a concern.
- ABEA will do its best to protect your identity when you raise a concern and do not want your name to be disclosed. However, it must be appreciated that the investigation and/or disciplinary process may reveal the source of the information and a statement by you may be required as part of the evidence.
Raising concerns anonymously
- You are encouraged to put your name to your allegations so we can take the necessary steps to protect you from victimisation should that be necessary. Anonymous allegations are more difficult to investigate as we cannot know if the allegation is made in good faith or is malicious. When an allegation is made anonymously it is also impossible to come to you for more information, and to keep you informed as to the progress of the investigation where possible. From a practical point of view it is impossible to provide protection if we do not know who you are.
- For these reasons, anonymous allegations will not normally be investigated.
Allegations which are not found to be proven on investigation
- If you provide information in good faith, but it is not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against you. If, however, you make malicious or vexatious allegations, disciplinary, or other appropriate, action will be taken against you.
How to raise a concern
To whom should a concern be raised
- As a first step, employees should normally raise concerns with their immediate manager or the Quality Manager.
- Contractors, leaners, and members of the public, and employees who do not wish to raise a concern as set out in paragraph 18 above, may raise the issue direct to any of the following individuals;
- Pesident 0203 290 9095
- ABEA’s Head of Compliance and Regulation
- Add Name and number or Job position and number relevant personnels
- Add Name and number or Job position and number relevant personnels
Raising a Concern
- Concerns should be confirmed in writing. You should, as far as possible, set out the background and history of the concern, giving names, dates and places where possible, and the reason why you are particularly concerned about the situation. If you do not initially feel able to put your concern in writing, you can telephone or meet the appropriate personnel. Even in this case a record will be made of your discussions for the sake of ensuring an accurate record is held, and you will be asked to confirm this account.
How ABEA will respond
- Wherever you raise your concern the information will be shared with the Board Director, who will be asked to decide on the appropriate level of response to the situation. The action taken will depend on the circumstances of each investigation. The matters raised may:
- be investigated internally
- be referred to the Police
- be referred to the external Auditor
- form the subject of an independent inquiry
- be dealt with under the ethical framework for employees under the direction of ABEA’s Head of Compliance and Regulation
See the ABEA Malpractice And Maladministration Policy item number 4 Dealing with cases of suspected Malpractice and item 6.4
- In order to protect individuals and ABEA, initial enquiries will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and if so, what form it should take. Concerns or allegations that fall within the scope of specific procedures (for example, child protection or discrimination issues) will normally be referred for consideration under those procedures.
- ABEA will write to you within five working days of a concern being received, acknowledging that the concern has been received and initial enquiries are being made.
- Within twenty working days of a concern being received, ABEA will write to you indicating how it proposes to deal with the matter, telling you whether any initial enquiries have been made, and telling you whether further investigations will take place, and if not, why not. We will deal with the matter more promptly if the ABEA Head of Compliance and Regulations determine within their absolute discretion that the matter of concern justifies an urgent response.
- The amount of contact between the officers considering the issues and you will depend on the nature of the matters raised, the potential difficulties involved and the clarity of the information provided. If necessary, further information will be sought from you.
- When any meeting is arranged with you, you have the right, if you so wish, to be accompanied by a professional associate or a friend who is not involved in the area of work to which the concern relates.
- ABEA will take steps to minimise any difficulties that you may experience as a result of raising a concern. ABEA will take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that you receive no disadvantage as a result of your actions. For instance, if you are required to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings, ABEA will advise you about the procedure.
- ABEA accepts that you need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Thus, subject to legal constraints, you will receive information about the outcomes of any investigations.
How the Concern could be taken further
- This policy is intended to provide you with an avenue to raise concerns. ABEA hopes you will be satisfied. If you are not, you may feel it is right to take the matter to a law enforcement agency. If employees take matters outside ABEA they may still be protected, but it is advisable to take advice about this.
- Before doing this you may wish to discuss matters further with any member of the ABEA Board of Directors.
- If you do take the matter outside of ABEA, you need to ensure that you do not disclose confidential information or that disclosure would be privileged. You should consider taking advice about that.
- The Head of Compliance and Regulations has overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy. That officer receives a record of concerns raised and the outcomes and will report as necessary (but in a form which does not endanger your confidentiality) to ABEA.
- The Head of Compliance and Regulations is ( Name ) ( Position ) who can be contacted as follows:
(Give contact details)
ABEA Whistle-blower Report Form
ABEA is a nationally accredited awarding organisation and is intent on protecting the delivery, award and integrity of its regulated qualifications. ABEA will act upon any disclosure received from any individual who feels that any malpractice has taken place within an ABEA recognised centre.
Please refer to para.7 of ABEA’s policy on Malpractice and Maladministration before completing this form. Once complete please email to Info@abea.org.uk.
or post to The Head of Compliance and Regulations, ABEA Awards, 95 Mortimer Street, London, W1W 7GB United Kingdom.