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Whistleblowing

Our approach to whistleblowing enables employees (through the Staff Whistleblowing Policy), councillors and members of the public to express any concerns they have about illegal or illegitimate practices involving the council. The whistleblower can raise their concerns without fear of victimisation, discrimination or disadvantage.

Concerns can be raised anonymously and the matter will still be considered for investigation depending on the information provided. However it would assist the investigation if the whistleblower gives their details and is prepared to give a statement or evidence.

All concerns will be treated sensitively and in the strictest confidence. Concerns will be investigated through the most appropriate officer within the authority. Not all concerns will warrant a full investigation - it may be a matter that can be resolved informally and that the information may have been misinterpreted.

Fraud, corruption and theft against the Council costs all of us money, money that could be better spent on improving services that we provide.

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Should I raise a concern?

If you have any concerns about illegal or illegitimate practices involving the council, you will need to identify the issue carefully. You must be clear about the standards against which you are judging practice. Before raising a concern, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it legal?
  • Does it contravene professional codes of practice?
  • Is it against Government guidelines?
  • Is it a breach of the members code of conduct?
  • Is it about one individual's behaviour or general working practices?
  • Have you witnessed the incident?
  • Did anyone else witness the incident at the same time?

Please note, if you have any comments or complaints about how we provide services, then you should read our complaints page, or report them directly to the relevant department. 

How do I raise a concern?

Once you are happy that the concern should be raised, you can report the matter to us by calling 0800 043 0699, emailing Whistleblowing@reading.gov.uk or by writing to Corporate Investigations Team, Civic Offices, Reading RG1 2LU. 

If you work for the Council, you should normally raise concerns through your immediate line manager or head of service in accordance with the staff whistleblowing policy. 

Your concerns will be treated as strictly private and confidential. 

How will the Council respond?

The action taken by us will depend on the nature of the concern.  The concern may:

  • Be investigated internally
  • Be referred to the police
  • Be referred to the External Auditor
  • Form the subject of an independent enquiry.

Receipt of your concern will be acknowledged immediately, and within five working days of the concern being raised we will write to you and:

  • Indicate how the matter will be dealt with
  • Give an estimate of how long it will take to provide a final response
  • Tell you whether any initial enquiries have been made
  • Supply you with information on staff support mechanisms
  • Tell you whether further investigations will take place and if not, why not.

How can I find out the results of an investigation?

We accept that you need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Subject to legal constraints, you will receive information about the outcome of any investigations, and the action that is to be taken against those whose actions caused your concern.

How can I take the matter further?

Our whistleblowing policy is intended to provide you with a way in which you can raise concerns within the Council. We hope that you will be satisfied that any matter you raise is considered properly. However, if you are not satisfied by our efforts, and feel it is right to take the matter outside the Council, the following are possible contact points available to you:

  • Your local council member or MP
  • The Local Government Ombudsman
  • The External Auditor
  • Relevant professional bodies or regulatory organisations
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau
  • The police

If you would like to take this matter outside the council, you need to ensure that you do not disclose prohibited confidential information. 

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