British Swimming Whistleblowing Policy

This Policy outlines the process by which any individual involved at any level of the sport of Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Diving, Para–Swimming, Water Polo, Artistic Swimming and High Diving (together “the Sports”) can raise genuine concerns about wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct or about suspected wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct with British Swimming for review/investigation without fear of reprisals, even if they turn out to be mistaken unless the concerns raised are not genuine, portrayed as untrue or are raised maliciously.

Where any concern you raise with British Swimming falls within the remit of the relevant Home Country Association (“HCA”) of England, Scotland or Wales, British Swimming will need to pass the matter to the relevant HCA to be processed under the equivalent policy of the HCA.  British Swimming will only pass the matter to a HCA with your explicit consent.  Unfortunately, British Swimming is unable to process any complaint where the concerns fall under the remit of a HCA.

The Policy applies to all individuals working or participating at all levels within British Swimming and the Sports, including but not limited to, all employees, athletes, contractors, coaches, officials and volunteers. 

This Policy should not be used for complaints relating to your own personal circumstances, such as the way you have been treated as part of a disciplinary process.  In those (and other personal circumstances), you should use the appropriate British Swimming Grievance Procedure or Anti-harassment and Bullying Policy.  If you are unsure as to whether something is within the scope of this Policy then you should seek advice from the HR Manager, whose contact details are at the end of this Policy or email [email protected]

What can I expect?

Any person approaching British Swimming with genuine concerns about wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct or about suspected wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct will not be disadvantaged or discriminated against in any way because of the disclosure.  However, British Swimming will take a serious view and act accordingly, including taking disciplinary action against appropriate parties, should it be found that the allegations are not genuine, have been intentionally portrayed as untrue or have been raised maliciously.  Individuals are therefore encouraged to put their name to any disclosure.  Allegations raised anonymously may be investigated depending on the seriousness of the issues raised, the credibility of the concern, and the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources.

 British Swimming’s Commitment

British Swimming is committed to:- 

  1. encouraging a culture of openness.
  2. protecting its people, including but not limited to, its athletes, coaches, employees, officials and volunteers.
  3. upholding the reputation of the organisation.
  4. maintaining the Sports and the public’s confidence.

Definition

‘Whistle-blower’ is a term commonly used to describe a person who alerts an authority to acts of wrongdoing about wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct or about suspected wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct, usually by someone within the authority’s jurisdiction.  Whistle-blowers are witnesses to a malpractice and must not be penalised for any disclosure of information.  In fact, certain categories of whistle-blowers are protected by law. 

All employees, athletes, contractors, coaches, officials and volunteers within British Swimming in any capacity, at one time or another may have genuine concerns about what is happening.  It is the duty of everyone to speak up about genuine concerns.

Whistleblowing’

Whistleblowing is the disclosure of information about wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct or about suspected wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct when working or participating within British Swimming and the Sports.  When making a disclosure the whistleblower should genuinely believe that the disclosure may fall under one or more of the following headings (the list is not exhaustive):-

  1. Criminal activity e.g. child safeguarding (indecent images), sexual harassment, fraud;
  2. Bullying, breach of a code of conduct or discrimination;
  3. Betting, bribery, corrupt conduct, inside -information and match/event fixing;
  4. Danger to health and safety e.g. coercion of an athlete to train against medical advice or conducting an unsafe-practice;
  5. Damage to the environment;
  6. A miscarriage of justice (for example, if you are aware of a failure of the British Swimming Judicial system where an individual is subject to a sanction but is innocent of the action);
  7. Unauthorised disclosure of confidential information;
  8. Equality incident (for example, if you are aware of an individual not being given the same opportunity as another individual due to their gender);
  9. Conduct likely to damage reputation of British Swimming, an individual and/or the sport; or
  10. Covering up wrong-doing, such as fabricating test results or supporting cheating – a sport rule violation or anti-doping rule violation.

Making a Disclosure

You may be worried about raising such issues or may want to keep the concerns to yourself, perhaps feeling that it is none of your business or that it is only a suspicion.  You may feel that raising the matter would be disloyal to colleagues, managers or to British Swimming.  You may decide to say something but find that you have spoken to the wrong person or raised the issue in the wrong way and are not sure what to do next.

British Swimming takes any form of misconduct seriously and has introduced this Policy to enable genuine concerns to be raised early and in the right way.  We encourage all individuals, where appropriate, to raise the matter as a concern, if genuine, rather than wait for proof.

It is in the interests of the Sports that individuals with genuine concerns are able to raise them in a confidential and effective way.

Given that any disclosure is likely to be sensitive everyone involved in the process should treat the process as confidential.  All public statements and speculation should be avoided whilst there is an ongoing review/investigation to avoid prejudicing the process.

Anyone approaching British Swimming, in good faith, with information regarding matters of wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct or about suspected wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct, will have the matter dealt with in an appropriate manner.

Although British Swimming will handle all disclosures sensitively the daily environment for a British Swimming employee, athlete, contractor, coach, volunteer or official may be challenging following a whistleblowing disclosure, both whilst the disclosure is being reviewed/investigated and following the conclusion of the process.  If the individual making the disclosure feels that his/her environment is not tolerable, discussions should take place with, for example, the HR Manager in respect of an employee or the National Performance Director in respect of an athlete.  British Swimming will seek, where possible, to either redeploy that individual, suitably change their environment, or ensure that they are not disadvantaged as a result of making the disclosure.

Who to Contact

If you suspect or discover any wrongdoing, illegal or unethical conduct, you should report it to any of the following as appropriate in the circumstances:-

  • Line Manager (for example, if you are an employee and your concern is not related to your line manager); or
  • National Performance Director (“NPD”) (for example, if you are an athlete and your concern is not related to the NPD); or
  • Chief Executive Officer or
  • Human Resource Manager; or
  • Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee; or
  • Director of Legal and Governance / Company Secretary.

Using any of the following methods:

  • Via post to: Compliance, British Swimming, Pavilion 3, SportPark, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3QF
  • Via email to: [email protected] ;  CEO ([email protected]); Human Resource Manager ([email protected]), Director of Legal and Governance / Company Secretary ([email protected]).
  • Via telephone (secure, recorded voicemail service) by calling:  0808 1000 323
  • In person as ppropriate.

The Compliance email address and telephone voicemail service will be accessed by the Director of Legal and the HR Manager.

You will receive a written receipt, usually within 48 hours (if disclosure is made in writing and received during business hours).  Should you raise your concerns via telephone message service, you will receive a call back to discuss the complaint, usually with 48 hours of receipt.  As stated above, anonymous disclosures may be investigated depending on the seriousness of the issues raised, the credibility of the concern and the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources.

Initial Assessment

Your concerns will then be subject to an initial assessment by the Director of Legal and Governance or the HR Manager to determine the scope of any review/investigation and whether this will involve an internal or external review/investigation.  You will be informed of the outcome of the assessment including reasons in the event that the initial assessment determines no further action under this Policy.  By way of example, it may be that the concerns raised are suitable to be considered by another organisational policy.  Further information may be required and you may be required to attend a meeting.  If a meeting is required then you can bring a companion or arrange for the Athlete Representative (whose details are at the end of this Policy) (or the Athlete Representative’s nominated person) to be present at the meeting.  Your companion must respect the confidentiality of your disclosure and any subsequent investigation.  British Swimming will aim to keep you informed of the progress of any review/investigation and any timescales.  When raising a genuine concern the individual making the disclosure may be asked how they feel the matter might be best resolved.

Internal Review / Investigation

In some instances the matter will be referred for internal review/investigation by a relevant and experienced staff member with responsibility for that area.  The relevant staff member will review/investigate the matter and take any remedial action to rectify the situation or, where any such action is not in the power of that staff member, they will then make recommendations to a relevant Senior Executive to take appropriate further steps including recommendations for change to enable British Swimming to minimize the risk of any future wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct.

Any review/investigation will not, at any stage, be carried out by any person against whom allegations are made, and details will only be shared with those individuals who are considered vital to the effective functioning of any review/investigation.

Enquiries will be undertaken promptly, although more complex matters may require a longer and more thorough review/investigation.  The relevant staff member will advise you of the outcome of any enquiry and any remedial action taken.

External Review/Investigation

In some instances, particularly those involving child safeguarding, it will be necessary to refer the matter to the Safeguarding Team internally or an external authority, for example, the police.  If this is the case both the complainant and the person against whom the complaint has been made will be notified of this, unless British Swimming is prohibited from doing so by law or at the direction of the external authority.

Where possible confidentiality will be maintained, although it must be stressed that in cases of fraud and in cases of child safeguarding it will not be possible to maintain strict confidentiality.

Failure to Resolve

If the issue is not resolved in a satisfactory manner by the staff member, you may raise the matter directly with the CEO, Director of Legal and Governance or the HR Manager to:

Should you wish to raise the matter directly with the Chair, please send to the following address:

  • British Swimming, Pavilion 3, SportPark, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3QF

The relevant person will make enquiries and, if appropriate, review/investigate the matter and take any remedial action to rectify the situation (which may include passing for independent review/investigation).

Raising a concern externally

Some professions, such as medicine and physiotherapy, have statutory duties to inform certain categories of disclosure externally.  In disclosure cases such as criminal misconduct, child abuse or adults at risk all employees, athletes, contractors, coaches, volunteers or officials must inform the regulatory authorities without undue delay.

The disclosure process when dealt with internally by British Swimming may be duty bound to report this externally to statutory bodies.

Keeping the British Swimming Board informed

The CEO will notify the Chair of British Swimming when a whistleblowing review/investigation has been instigated unless the disclosure is being made against the CEO in which case the most senior executive will notify the Chair.  If a whistleblowing review/investigation is instigated against the Chair the CEO will notify the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee or in the event the review / investigation is against the CEO and Chair the most senior executive will notify the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.  Details of the case(s) will not be discussed at that stage.  The British Swimming Board will be fully informed, in confidence, of any whistleblowing disclosures.

Organisational Responsibility for the Policy

The British Swimming Board has overall responsibility for this Policy, and for reviewing the effectiveness of actions taken in response to concerns raised under this Policy.

The HR Manager has day-to-day operational responsibility for this Policy, and must ensure that all managers and other staff who may deal with concerns or investigations under this Policy receive regular and appropriate training.

The HR Manager, in conjunction with the British Swimming Board and Athlete Representative Body should review this Policy from a legal and operational perspective at least once a year.

All individuals working or participating within British Swimming and the Sports are responsible for the success of this Policy and should ensure that they use it to disclose information about wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct or about suspected wrongdoing or illegal or unethical conduct.  Staff are invited to comment on this Policy and suggest ways in which it might be improved.  Comments, suggestions and queries should be addressed to the HR Manager.

Further Contacts

Athlete Representative Graham Edmunds - [email protected]

Athletes

Athletes who wish to raise any concerns via this policy are advised that the British Athletes Commission (“BAC”) is available to offer additional advice and assistance.  Further details, including contact information can be found at http://www.britishathletes.org

HCA and Partners

Complaints regarding staff employed (or contracted) by the relevant HCA or Home Country Sporting Institute (i.e. English Institute for Sport) with whom British Swimming have a regular working relationship, should consult the separate relevant organisation’s whistleblowing policy.

UK Sport

Complaints regarding staff employed (or contracted) by UK Sport (with whom British Swimming may work) should consult the separate UK Sport whistleblowing policy (available at

http://www.uksport.gov.uk/resources/complaints-appeals-and-whistleblowing)

Public Concern at Work - Independent Whistleblowing Charity

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.pcaw.co.uk

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blowing-the-whistle-list-of-prescribed-people-and-

bodies--2

These Regulatory statutory bodies have individual policies and procedures for handling concerns and complaints.  Many of their websites contain guidance on issues that you may face which may be helpful in your initial deliberations on whether to make a disclosure.

The Information Commissioner

In relation to compliance with the requirement of legislation relating to data protection.  Email:

[email protected] and the website is  https://ico.gov.uk

The Health and Safety Executive

This relates to health or safety of individuals at work or the health and safety of the public that is work-related, in connection with those industries and work activities for which HSE is the enforcing authority.  Online form:  http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/raising-your-concern.htm  and the website is

www.hse.gov.uk

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

Matters relating to child welfare and protection. Email:  [email protected]

Care Quality Commission

Matters relating to the provision of health and social care.  www.cqc.org.uk

General Medical Council

Matters relating to the registration and fitness to practise of a member of the medical profession.

www.gmc-uk.org

Health and Care Professions Council

Matters relating to the registration and fitness to practise of health and care professional (e.g.

physiotherapy).  www.hpc-uk.org


Further contacts in the event a disclosure is made against you

British Swimming Coaches Association

Website: https://www.gbswimcoaches.co.uk

Citizens Advice Bureau

Website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

The Law Society

Website: http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

https://www.csp.org.uk/

False Allegations Support Agency

FASO: Clear information; practical advice; emotional support; here for anyone affected by false allegations of abuse.

Website: http://www.false-allegations.org.uk/

WB Policy