Our Whistle Blowing Policy

Definitions

Whistle Blowing or Protected Disclosure are terms used to describe the act of raising a concern and exposing information about a danger or illegality on a significant matter for the Company, in the public interest.

Public Interest means the matter effects other people e.g. the general public.

Good Faith refers to a sincere attempt and a demonstrated willingness to provide all information an individual may have about a particular situation in an accurate and honest form.

Confidentiality is a term which describes a set of rules that limit access or place restrictions on the distribution of information or data.

Purpose

The Company recognise that we must embed integrity and transparency into our daily practices if our ethical climate is to be preserved. We accept that both management and employees have a central role to play in achieving this goal.

Whistle blowing occurs when an employee raises a concern about a danger or illegality that affects others. Noncompliance with standards, fraud and corrupt practices undermine our culture and affect its overall health. To safeguard our integrity and support our ethical work environment, the Company must address concerns or observations of wrong-doing. Our employees are assured that speaking up if they have a genuine concern, is the right action and no negative repercussions will be experienced, as a result.

The purpose of this procedure is to encourage employees to make a disclosure in respect of matters of significance to the Company or general public and to provide protection for the person making the disclosure.

Scope

In the context of this procedure, ‘relevant persons’ are any individuals who are working or have worked for the company in any capacity.

The Company policies, line management structures and internal controls are the normal and correct mechanisms to detect and/or report any irregularity. However, in accordance with legislation the Company has created this procedure as an alternative reporting line and mechanism of last resort.

A Matter of Public Interest

A relevant person can raise a concern and speak up at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now or he or she believe it will happen in the near future.

This is not a channel to raise personal grievances, but concerns regarding matters of significance to the Company or general public. While the following list is not exhaustive, it will provide guidance on what matters should be managed under this procedure;

  • Criminal offences
  • Act or omission by the Company which is grossly negligent
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • Endangering the health and safety of an individual or persons
  • Damage to the environment
  • The concealment of any of the above

Important: Personal grievances, claims of bullying and harassment or discrimination are not to be addressed under this procedure. Please refer to the appropriate procedure for guidance;

  • Grievance Procedure
  • Bullying and Harassment Procedure

Support for those who speak up

Speaking up, in good faith, in the interests of our Company and our team is by no means viewed as disloyal. In fact, any such act is viewed as a positive action taken to protect our future. In accordance with the Protected Disclosure legislation, the Company has established this internal reporting channel and procedure document to support individuals through this process.

The whistle blower will not be disadvantaged; if they have acted in good faith and the company commit’s that their employment status will not be affected, even if their concerns are proven unfounded, at a later date.

Confidentiality

The Company hopes that relevant individuals will feel able to voice concerns openly under this procedure. Every reasonable step will be taken to protect the identity of the individual.

All contacts will be treated confidentially; however an individual must consider that due to the nature of the investigation or disclosure, it may be necessary to disclose the individual’s identity. This may be in connection with any associated disciplinary or legal investigations or proceedings.

Anonymous disclosures are very difficult to act upon as there may be little or no corroborative evidence to substantiate the allegation. Proper and effective investigations may prove difficult if the investigator cannot obtain further information. The Company does not encourage anonymous reporting and asks individuals to come forward with their concerns, if and when they arise.

 

The expectation for confidentiality is two sided. It is imperative that the relevant person also adheres to the expectation of confidentiality at all times during this process.

Whistle Blowing Process

First Point of Contact:

Where a question or concern arises, the relevant person is encouraged to seek guidance on the right course of action. We encourage individuals to raise the issue in the first instance with their supervisor or manager and seek resolution to the concern and corrective action, as appropriate.

However if this is not found to be a feasible option to address the matter, an alternative formal route which involves direct contact with the Core team, is available.

Formal Process:

The Core team is a group of senior colleagues from an EHS, HR and Operations background who address any matters raised formally through the Whistle Blowing procedure. This blend of disciplines ensure the team hold the correct skill set to manage and address any disclosure raised.

  1. Submit the disclosure in writing, by email, fax or post:

 

 

 

Bidvest Noonan Core

EMAIL

 

core@bidvestnoonan.com

FAX

 

+353 (0)1 8839894

POST

Unit 3, Swords Business Park, Sword Co Dublin

 

  1. The details submitted should include;
  • an overview of the issue or concern
  • confirmation that the individual is using the Whistle Blowing Procedure
  • confirmation whether the identity is to be kept confidential
  1. An initial assessment will be conducted to determine whether the disclosure falls within the scope of this procedure.
  2. The relevant person will receive written acknowledgement confirming receipt of the disclosure and advising how the matter will be investigated.
  3. A ‘prescribed person’ will be delegated to investigate, explore the concern and make recommendations for actions, as appropriate.
  4. While the length and scope of the investigation will be dependent on the allegation present, the investigation should be completed in good time without delay.
  5. The individual may be required to give further information, as necessary.
  6. The individual will receive written notification of the outcome of the investigation and a time line for implementation of corrective actions, if applicable
  7. If the relevant person is not satisfied by the response, he or she may raise their concern to the Group HR Director, within 7 days of receipt of written outcome.
  8. The HR Director will investigate the matter and review the initial investigation and outcome. The HR Director will issue a final outcome and make recommendations for action, as appropriate. This is the end of the internal process.

 

*The Company reserves the right to assign an external party to investigate a disclosure where deemed appropriate.

Important: The procedure is not intended to replace the Grievance Procedure; the grievance procedure should be used to raise personal issues which are specific to your job or employment.

Corrective Action or Change

The Company take all reports of this nature very seriously and will investigate any information provided and take action appropriately. Any proven violations of this standard will be managed in line with the Company disciplinary procedure.  Illegal acts or activities which contravene regulation will be reported to the suitable authorities.

False Disclosures

The Company views false complaints very seriously. We will take disciplinary action against an individual who deliberately or maliciously raises a false concern to bring the business or individuals into disrepute. If proven, actions of this nature will be deemed to constitute gross misconduct which can result in dismissal.

Commitment to Action

Our Compliance Team audit the activity of the Core Team each quarter (every three months) to ensure any matters raised through the formal Whistle Blowing Procedure have been addressed, investigated and closed appropriately.

The Compliance Team report to the Group Risk Manager and adhere to the confidentiality standards set out in this procedure.