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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

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Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Whistleblowing Policy

Introduction and Purpose

It is important that any fraud, misconduct or wrongdoing by staff or others working on behalf of FRG is reported and properly dealt with. We therefore require all individuals to raise any concerns that they may have about the conduct of others in FRG or the way in which the organisation is run. This policy sets out the way in which individuals may raise any concerns that they have and how those concerns will be dealt with.

The term whistleblowing can be defined as raising a concern about a wrong doing within an organisation. The concern must be a genuine concern about a crime, criminal offence, miscarriage of justice, dangers to health and safety and of the environment – and the cover up of any of these. If you see something within FRG’s work that you believe is negligent, improper or illegal, then you should report this.

Background

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 interest. These are called ‘qualifying disclosures’. A qualifying disclosure is one made by an employee who has a reasonable belief that any of the following is being, has been or is likely to be, committed:

  • A criminal offence
  • A miscarriage of justice
  • An act creating risk to health and safety
  • An act causing damage to the environment
  • A breach of any other legal obligation
  • Concealment of any of the above.

It is not necessary for you to have proof that such an act is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed – a reasonable belief is sufficient. You have no responsibility for investigating the matter – it is the charity’s responsibility to ensure that an investigation takes place.

If you make a protected disclosure you have the right not to be dismissed, subjected to any other detriment or victimised because you have made a disclosure. We encourage you to raise your concerns under this procedure in the first instance.  For more information see https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing.

Principles

  • Everyone should be aware of the importance of preventing and eliminating wrongdoing at work. Staff and others working on behalf of FRG should be watchful for illegal or unethical conduct and report anything of that nature that they become aware of.
  • Any matter raised under this procedure will be investigated thoroughly, promptly and confidentially, and the outcome of the investigation reported back to the person who raised the issue.
  • No employee or other person working on behalf of FRG will be victimised for raising a matter under this procedure. This means that the 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 a disciplinary offence.
  • 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. Maliciously making a false allegation is a disciplinary offence.
  • An instruction to cover up wrongdoing is itself a disciplinary offence. If told not to raise or pursue any concern, even by a person in authority such as a manager, you should not agree to remain silent. You should report the matter to the Chief Executive or the chair of the board of trustees.

Procedure

This procedure is for disclosures about matters other than a breach of your own contract of employment, which should be raised via the grievance procedure.

Stage 1
In the first instance, any concern should be reported confidentially to the Chief Executive in writing. This is done by writing to the email account whistleblowing@frg.org.uk, which is only accessed by the Chief Executive. If telephone contact is preferred, the person reporting can request a call in their initial notification via email. This will then lead to an investigation of the matter. The investigation may involve you and other individuals involved giving a written statement. Any investigation will be carried out in accordance with the principles set out above. Your statement will be taken into account and you will be asked to comment on any additional evidence obtained. The Chief Executive will take any necessary action, including reporting the matter to the Chair of the Board of Trustees and any appropriate government department or regulatory agency. The Chief Executive will also invoke any disciplinary action required. On conclusion of any investigation, you will be told the outcome and what FRG has done, or proposes to do, about it. If no action is to be taken, the reason for this will be explained.

Stage 2
If you are concerned that the Chief Executive is involved in the wrongdoing, has failed to make a proper investigation or has failed to report the outcome of the investigations to the relevant person, you should escalate the matter to the Chair of the Board of Trustees. This should be done by writing a confidential email to chair@frg.org.uk. The Chair will arrange for a review of the investigation to be carried out, make any necessary enquiries and make their own report to the Board.

Stage 3
If on conclusion of stages 1 and 2 you reasonably believe that the appropriate action has not been taken, you should report the matter to the relevant body. This includes:

  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • the Health and Safety Executive
  • the Environment Agency
  • the Serious Fraud Office
  •  the Charity Commission
  • the Pensions Regulator
  • the Information Commissioner
  • the Financial Conduct Authority.

You can find the full list in The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014.

Review and Learning

For every incident that is raised under the whistleblowing policy FRG will critically review:

  • Whether the policy and surrounding infrastructure helped or hindered timely and satisfactory resolution.
  • Any other factors which may have prevented more immediate reporting such as culture, poor working relations, lack of trust etc.
  • How learning can be shared more widely (as appropriate) to maximise learning.

Whistleblowing concerns should be reported in writing to the confidential mailbox whistleblowing@frg.org.uk.

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