Willowglen MSC Berhad is committed to the highest standards of openness, integrity, honesty and accountability.
An important aspect of accountability and transparency is a mechanism to enable staff and other members of the Company to voice concerns in a responsible and effective manner.
It is a fundamental term of every contract of employment that an employee will faithfully serve his or her employer and not disclose confidential information about the employer’s affairs.
Nevertheless, where an individual discovers information which they believe shows serious malpractice or wrongdoing within the organisation then this information should be disclosed internally without fear of reprisal, and there should be arrangements to enable this to be done independently of line management.
The Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 gives legal protection to employees against being dismissed or penalised by their employers as a result of publicly disclosing certain serious concerns. The Company has endorsed the provisions as set out below so as to ensure that no members of staff should feel at a disadvantage in raising legitimate concerns.
It should be emphasised that this policy is intended to assist individuals who believe they have discovered malpractice or impropriety.
It is not designed to question financial or business decisions taken by the Company nor should it be used to reconsider any matters which have already been addressed under harassment, complaint, disciplinary or other procedures.
Once the "whistleblowing” procedures are in place, it is reasonable to expect staff to use them rather than air their complaints outside the Company.
Scope of Policy
This policy is designed to enable employees of the Company to raise concerns internally and at a high level and to disclose information which the individual believes shows malpractice or impropriety.
This policy is intended to cover concerns which are in the public interest and may at least initially be investigated separately but might then lead to the invocation of other procedures e.g. disciplinary.
These concerns could include:
- Financial malpractice or fraud
- Failure to comply with a legal obligation
- Dangers to Health & Safety or the environment
- Criminal activity
- Improper conduct or unethical behaviour
- Attempts to conceal any of these
This policy is designed to offer protection to those employees of the Company who disclose such concerns provided the disclosure is made:
- in good faith
- in the reasonable belief of the individual making the disclosure that it tends to show malpractice or impropriety and if they make the disclosure to an appropriate person (see below). It is important to note that no protection from internal disciplinary procedures is offered to those who choose not to use the procedure. In an extreme case malicious or wild allegations could give rise to legal action on the part of the persons complained about.
The Company will treat all such disclosures in a confidential and sensitive manner. The identity of the individual making the allegation may be kept confidential so long as it does not hinder or frustrate any investigation. However, the investigation process may reveal the source of the information and the individual making the disclosure may need to provide a statement as part of the evidence required.
iii. Anonymous Allegations
This policy encourages individuals to put their name to any disclosures they make. Concerns expressed anonymously are much less credible, but they may be considered at the discretion of the Company.
In exercising this discretion, the factors to be taken into account will include:
- The seriousness of the issues raised
- The credibility of the concern
- The likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources
iv. Untrue Allegations
If an individual makes an allegation in good faith, which is not confirmed by subsequent investigation, no action will be taken against that individual. In making a disclosure the individual should exercise due care to ensure the accuracy of the information. If, however, an individual makes malicious allegations, and particularly if he or she persists with making them, disciplinary action may be taken against that individual.
Procedures for Making a Disclosure
On receipt of a complaint of malpractice, the HR Manager who receives and takes note of the complaint, must pass this information as soon as is reasonably possible, to the appropriate designated investigating officer as follows:
- Complaints of malpractice will be investigated by the Executive Director or an investigating officer nominated by the Executive Director, unless the complaint is against the Executive Director or is in any way related to the actions of the Executive Director. In such cases, the complaint should be passed to the Managing Director.
- Complaints against the Managing Director should be passed to the Chairman who will nominate an appropriate investigating officer.
- The complainant has the right to bypass the line management structure and take their complaint direct to the Chairman. The Chairman has the right to refer the complaint back to management if he feels that the management without any conflict of interest can more appropriately investigate the complaint.
Due to the varied nature of these sorts of complaints, it is not possible to lay down precise timescales for such investigations. The investigating officer should ensure that the investigations are undertaken as quickly as possible without affecting the quality and depth of those investigations.
The investigating officer, should as soon as practically possible, send a written acknowledgement of the concern to the complainant and thereafter report back to them in writing the outcome of the investigation and on the action that is proposed. If the investigation is a prolonged one, the investigating officer should keep the complainant informed, in writing, as to the progress of the investigation and as to when it is likely to be concluded.
All responses to the complainant should be in writing.
The investigating officer should follow these steps:
- Full details and clarifications of the complaint should be obtained.
- The investigating officer should inform the member of staff against whom the complaint is made as soon as is practically possible.
- The allegations should be fully investigated by the investigating officer with the assistance where appropriate, of other individuals.
- A judgement concerning the complaint and validity of the complaint will be made by the investigating officer. This judgement will be detailed in a written report containing the findings of the investigations and reasons for the judgement. The report will be passed to the Managing Director or Chairman as appropriate.
- The Managing Director or Chairman will decide what action to take. If the complaint is shown to be justified, then they will invoke the disciplinary or other appropriate Company procedures.
- The complainant should be kept informed of the progress of the investigations and, if appropriate, of the final outcome.
If the complainant is not satisfied that their concern is being properly dealt with by the investigating officer, they have the right to raise it in confidence with the Managing Director or Chairman.