“Speak Up” Policy


In order to maintain transparency and honesty in our practices, the RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk Branch has created a whistleblowing policy in order to make it clear the principles, scope and the process for raising concerns about the staff of, individuals working on behalf of, and the practices of, our Branch.

It is important that any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing by staff or others working on behalf of the Branch is reported and properly dealt with. We therefore encourage individuals to raise any concerns they may have about the conduct of others in the charity or the way in which the charity is run. As a commitment to ensuring transparency in our practices as a Branch and in order to encourage people to have confidence in their rights to raise these concerns – all concerns will be treated in the utmost confidence and those that whistle blow will be protected by the law.



This policy applies to all of those working for the Branch whether within a volunteering or employed capacity. The precedents set out in the following policy can also be applied to and followed by members of the public who come into contact with the Branch and also contractors and partners of the RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk Branch.

Everyone should be aware of the importance in preventing and eliminating wrongdoing in charity practices and should an individual become aware of illegal or unethical conduct – they are strongly encouraged to raise concerns by following the procedure as set out in these guidelines.



This policy and procedure has been written using the following definitions:

  • Whistle Blower – the member of staff, volunteer, Trustee or contractor reporting the concern.
  • Investigator – the staff member or Trustee who receives and then investigates the claim.
  • Contractor or Partner – a business that the Branch has received a service from/provides services to on a regular or contractual basis.
  • Disciplinary Procedure – if a member of staff is involved, the disciplinary procedure will follow the same guidelines as set within the Employee Handbook.
  • Prescribed bodies – a Government list of recommended bodies to conduct an investigation should a whistleblower be dissatisfied with the outcome of an internal investigation. You can find a list of these contacts in Appendix A.



The Public Interest Disclosure Act (1998) amended the Employment Rights Act (1996) to provide protection for workers who raise legitimate concerns about specified matters in the public domain. The Employment Rights Act (1996) provides protection for workers who ‘blow the whistle’ where they reasonably believe that some form of illegality, injustice or breach of Health & Safety has occurred or is likely to occur.

These concerns are prescribed by law as “qualifying disclosures”. A “qualifying disclosure” means a disclosure of information that the employee genuinely and reasonably believes is in the public interest and shows that the Branch has committed a “relevant failure” by:

  • committing a criminal offence;
  • failing to comply with a legal obligation;
  • a miscarriage of justice;
  • endangering the health & safety of an individual;
  • environmental damage; or
  • concealing any information relating to the above.

These acts can be in the past, present or future, so that, for example, a disclosure qualifies if it relates to environmental damage that has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen. The Branch will take any concerns that are raised relating to the above matters very seriously.

It is not necessary for a whistle blower to have proof that such an act is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed – a reasonable belief is sufficient. The whistle blower has no responsibility for investigating the matter – it is the charities responsibility to ensure that an investigation takes place. Likewise, if after an investigation the submitted concern is deemed to be inaccurate, the whistle blower will not receive any negative ramifications for the submission of the claim unless there is evidence for it being done so for unscrupulous reasons or personal gain.

If a concern (by a worker) is raised in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest and procedures have been followed correctly, the discloser raising the concern will be protected by the terms of this policy and, where applicable, by whistleblowing legislation. Where a discloser has been victimised for raising a concern, the Branch will take appropriate action against those responsible, in line with the Branch’s disciplinary policy and procedures.



This policy and procedure is underlined by the following principles:

  • Confidentiality and Anonymity:
    • Any matter raised under this procedure will be investigated thoroughly, promptly and confidentially and the outcome of the investigation reported directly back to the person who raised the issue. It should be noted that dependent on the nature of the claim, confidentiality may not always be able to be maintained if an investigation is to take place. Should this be the case, the investigator will discuss this with the whistle blower beforehand and put relevant protections in place to ensure they receive no negative ramifications for making a claim.
    • Whistle blowers have the right to remain anonymous when making a claim however, it should be noted that this may hinder the investigation if more information on the claim is needed from the relevant person investigating.
    • It should also be noted that if a claim is made anonymously, the original whistle blower may not then be able to receive an update once the investigation has been concluded.
    • All conversations and communications in regard to the claim will be done so in private and documentary evidence will be kept in a secure location


  • Protection for Whistle Blowers:
    • No employee or other person working on behalf of the Branch will be victimised for raising a matter under this procedure. This means continued employment and opportunities for future promotion or training of the worker will not be prejudiced because they have raised a legitimate concern.
    • Victimisation of an individual for raising a qualified disclosure will be taken seriously and will result in a disciplinary procedure.


  • Misconduct and Disciplinary Action:
    • If misconduct is discovered as a result of any investigation under this procedure, our disciplinary procedure will be used, in addition to any appropriate external measures.
    • An instruction to cover up wrong doing is in itself a disciplinary offence. If told not to raise or pursue any concern, even by a person in authority such as a manager or Trustee the whistle blower should not agree to remain silent. They should report the matter to the Chief Executive Officer or to the Chair of Trustees.
    • If it is found to be that a claim has been falsely made in order to deliberately cause disrepute to the accused or has been done so maliciously such as for personal gain, this is will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.