2. Policy Statement
3. Aims & Scope of the Policy
6. Anonymous Allegation
7. Untrue Allegations
8. Procedure for Raising Concerns
9. How MTW will Respond
10. DBS Requirement and Duty to Report
11. The Responsible Body
12. How A Concern Can Be Taken Further
13. Monitoring and Review
MyTutorWeb Ltd (MTW) was founded to offer life-changing tuition for all. Our site was developed with the aim of making sure that high-quality lessons take place in a safe environment and this is reflected in a number of key built-in features.
We are committed to ensuring the highest possible standard of personal safety, wellbeing and safeguarding of each student and tutor using MTW.
Safeguarding is everyone’s business – MyTutorWeb is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all Directors, staff and tutors to share this commitment.
MTW will make sure that good governance and quality standards are maintained within the organisation and establish clear policies and procedures based on legislation and guidance. We will apply robust risk management processes for the identification of situations which may require the organisation to make professional judgements to protect students from harm.
- Policy Statement
This policy makes it clear that staff and tutors can raise concerns without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination or disadvantage. The policy seeks to make it possible all staff and tutors to raise serious concerns within MTW rather than overlooking a concern or raising that concern outside the organisation.
This policy is in addition to the MTW’s complaints procedures and other relevant statutory reporting procedures applying to certain departments. The policy is designed to complement other policies and procedures relating to irregularities or improper behaviour which occurs within the workplace. This policy links with the following MTW policies and guidance:
- Complaints Policy
- Safeguarding Policy and Procedures
- Code of Conduct and Safer Working Practices for Online Tuition Policy
- Aims & Scope of the Policy
The procedures for Whistleblowing are laid out in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. We also take account of the government guidelines as outlined in the documents, Whistleblowing: guidance for employers and code of practice, 2015 and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021.
Any disclosure from someone working at MTW disclosing something about MTW qualifies for protection from the aforementioned law.
A disclosure must be about something that affects the general public, such as, but not limited to:
- a criminal offence has occurred
- a criminal offence may occur imminently
- the breach of a legal obligation
- there has been a miscarriage of justice
- the health or safety of any individual, not just the worked, has been endangered
- environmental damage has occurred
- information about any of the above disclosures that is being or had been concealed
MTW aims to create an open, transparent and safe working environment where staff feel able to speak up. The existence of this policy is evidence of our commitment to listen to concerns of staff and that we welcome information being brought to the attention of the Leadership Team. This commitment is further demonstrated by:
- recognising staff are valuable ears and eyes
- getting the right organisational culture
- training and supporting staff
- being able to respond to a disclosure raised by a member of staff
- embracing whistleblowing as an important source of information to make decisions and control risk; and
- resolving wrongdoing quickly
Whistleblowing should be seen as distinct to a complaint.
A complaint is when an employee or tutor (or someone close to either of these parties) has been treated unfairly and that individual is seeking redress or justice themselves or the person close to them. Complaints of this nature should be dealt with in accordance with MTW’s Complaints Policy which is available on the website.
This policy aims to:
- Make sure staff and tutors feel confident in raising serious concerns about issues relating to MTW practices and procedures
- provide avenues for staff and tutors to raise those concerns and receive feedback on any action taken
- Make sure that staff and tutors receive a response to concerns raised and that staff and tutors are aware of how to pursue those concerns further if necessary
- reassure staff and tutors that they will be protected from possible reprisal or victimisation if they have a reasonable belief that they have made any such disclosure in good faith.
There are existing procedures in place to enable employees to lodge a grievance relating to their own employment, for example bullying, harassment, discrimination.
Concerns from an employee about the handling of their own personal data by MTW would unlikely to form a whistleblowing concern, unless it presented wider issues in the public interest. An employee concerned about the use of their personal data should speak with their line manager and/or the Data Protection Officer (DPO). Further information can also be found on the Information Commissioner’s website.
This policy is intended to cover major concerns that fall outside the scope of the grievance procedures. Such concerns include:
- conduct which breaches MTW’s financial regulations
- conduct which is illegal
- disclosures relating to miscarriages of justice
- health and safety risks, include risks to the public as well as other employees
- damage to the environment
- sexual or physical abuse of clients, or
- other unethical conduct
Thus, any serious concerns that staff and tutors have about any aspect of service provision or the conduct of staff or tutors or others acting on behalf of MTW can be reported under this policy. This may be about something that:
- makes a member of staff or tutor feel uncomfortable in terms of generally acceptable standards, their own experience or the standards they believe MTW subscribes to, or
- is contrary to the organisation's standard operating policies and procedures, or
- falls below accepted standards of practice, or amounts to improper conduct.
This Procedure does not replace MTW’s complaints policy, or any other policy and procedure.
MTW recognises that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make. Thus, MTW will fully support any member of staff or tutor who reports, in good faith, any concerns that they have.
MTW will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation [including informal pressures] of staff and tutors who report concerns and will take appropriate action to protect those who raise a concern in good faith.
Any investigation into allegations made under this policy will not influence or be affected by any Disciplinary or Redundancy Procedures in relation to staff or tutors who raise concerns under this Procedure.
All concerns will be dealt with in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal the identity of a member of staff or tutor who raises a concern. If, however a concern leads to disciplinary action against a member of staff or tutor who is accused of improper conduct, it may be necessary for any member of staff or tutor who raised the concern to give evidence as a witness in disciplinary proceedings, or to provide information to an out body i.e., the Police.
- Anonymous Allegation
Concerns expressed anonymously may be considered at the discretion of MTW. However, staff and tutors are encouraged to put their name to any concerns raised to aid investigation of those concerns.
In exercising discretion in relation to anonymous allegations the factors to be taken into account would include:
- the seriousness of the issues raised
- the credibility of the allegation; and
- the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources
- Untrue Allegations
If a member of staff or tutor makes an allegation in good faith, but it is not substantiated by the investigation, no action will be taken against that staff member or tutor. If, however, a staff member or tutor makes an allegation frivolously, maliciously or for personal gain, disciplinary action may be taken against them.
- Procedure for Raising Concerns
Staff and tutors should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practise and potential failures in MTW’s safeguarding regime.
As a first step, members of staff should normally raise concerns in writing with their immediate Line Manager, and tutors should use the ‘Report a concern' button on the website. This depends, however, on the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved and who is involved.
If employees feel unable to raise concerns with their own Line Manager the concern should be addressed to the DSO.
Employees who wish to make a written report are encouraged to use the following format:
- the background and the nature of the concern [giving relevant dates];
- the reason why they are particularly concerned about the situation.
Although staff and tutors are not expected to prove beyond doubt the truth of an allegation, they will need to demonstrate that there are reasonable grounds for concern. Staff members and tutors may wish to discuss their concerns with a member of staff and may find it easier to raise the matter if there are two [or more] people who have had the same or similar experience or concerns.
To sum up, concerns can be reported to the individual’s line manager, DSO either in person, writing or through the ‘Report a concern’ button who will deal with the complaint in accordance with section 9 below.
Where a staff member or tutor feels unable to raise the issue with their manager, or member of staff or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels are open to them:
- general guidance on whistleblowing can be found via: Advice on Whistleblowing; and
- the NSPCC’s what you can do to report abuse dedicated helpline is available as an alternative route for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally or have concerns about the way a concern is being handled by their school or college. Staff and tutors can call 0800 028 0285 – line is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday and email: email@example.com
In addition, independent advice can be sought from Protect who are an independent whistleblowing charity who offer confidential advice about whistleblowing. They can be contacted on their free helpline 020 3117 2520 or on their website.
- How MTW will Respond
MTW will respond to all concerns raised except those anonymous allegations where discretion is exercised not to do so as outlined in section 6 of this policy.
MTW will deal appropriately and promptly with all allegations or concerns and refer all safeguarding concerns or allegations about its directors, staff or tutors immediately to the appropriate local authority designated officer (LADO).
It is a matter of policy that any director, staff member or tutor, against whom a safeguarding allegation is made, will be suspended without prejudice immediately pending investigation. This will be the case even if the allegation is not linked to their role or activity with MTW. Such instances will be rare occasions and any decision to suspend will not be taken lightly. The decision will be taken after full discussions with the Designated Safeguarding Officer, in consultation with the HR Department.
During any investigation of an allegation against a director, staff member or tutor suspended from the workplace or website, MTW recognises that it has a continuing duty of care. It will make sure a link person is nominated (not connected to the investigation) to provide support and guidance and be able to signpost those suspended to other external support networks. e.g. local trade union reps, Occupational Health, G.P., Samaritans etc.
When a concern is raised, initial enquiries will be made by the person(s) receiving the complaint, to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take. Some concerns may be resolved by agreed action without the need for investigation. The overriding principle is to act in the public interest.
Concerns or allegations which fall within the scope of specific procedures [for example, child protection, discrimination, or disciplinary issues] will normally be referred to the appropriate person(s) for consideration under those procedures.
If urgent action is required this will be taken before any investigation is conducted. If it is decided that an investigation is required, this may be undertaken using MTW’s existing procedures and/or by involving the police.
Within ten working days of a concern being raised, the staff member or tutor will be contacted by the appropriate member of staff:
- to acknowledge that the concern has been received
- to indicate how MTW proposes to deal with the matter
- supplying information on support mechanisms, and
- stating whether further investigation will take place and if not, why not.
The level of contact between the persons investigating the concern and the staff member[s] or tutor[s] who raised the initial concern will depend on the nature of the concern, the potential difficulties involved and the complexity of the information provided. If necessary, further information will be sought from the staff member[s] or tutor[s] who raised the initial concerns.
Where any meeting is arranged, if they so wish, the staff member[s] or tutor[s] who raised the initial concerns can be accompanied by a union or professional association representative or a friend.
This policy seeks to minimise any problems which may arise as a result of raising a concern. For instance, if required to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings, the staff member or tutor will be given advice and guidance on the procedures.
MTW accepts that staff and tutors need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed. Subject to legal constraints, any member of staff or tutor who raises initial concerns will be informed of the outcome of any investigation.
- DBS Requirement and Duty to Report
Under legal duties to make referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service, MTW will report any concerns about unsafe practice by any of its directors, staff or tutors to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
If at any time MTW dismisses a director, member of staff or tutor due to relevant conduct, risk of harm or receiving a caution or conviction for a relevant offence (or the person has resigned or left that post in circumstances where they may have been removed), then a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service will be made by the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
- The Responsible Body
The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy, and will maintain a record of concerns raised and the outcome of any investigation.
- How A Concern Can Be Taken Further
This policy is intended to provide an avenue within MTW to raise concerns. If members of staff or tutors are dissatisfied and feel it is right to take the matter out of MTW, they have the right to do so. This should normally be done after the conclusion of MTW’s investigation into the staff member’s or tutor’s concerns. This policy if properly applied should prevent the need for such action by staff or tutors.
If concerns are raised outside MTW by staff or tutors, they must endeavour to protect the confidentiality of matters relating to MTW’s business, it’s employees and any tutors operating on the website.
MTW accepts that there may be circumstances where employees can properly report matters to outside bodies e.g. The Police, The Health and Safety Executive etc.
Provided that the staff member or tutor has acted honestly and reasonably they will be protected from any Disciplinary Action arising from such disclosures. However, this procedure has been devised to minimise the need for individuals to report matters to outside bodies or agencies. Members of staff and tutors must therefore be able to justify external disclosures.
NSPCC – whistleblowing helpline is available as an alternative route for staff.
They can call 0800 028 0285 – line is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday to Friday and email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Monitoring and Review
MTW is committed to striving for excellence in the provision of all its services. We do this by actively reviewing our policies, procedures and systems in place.
The leadership team will review this policy annually to ensure they continue to reflect legislation and guidance. Any amendments to the policy will be submitted to the Managing Directors for approval.