12:32 15 February 2012
By Terry Byfield
Crystal Palace FC Whistleblowing Policy
To encourage individuals to feel confident in raising concerns about the safety and welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in football.
To provide a method of raising concerns and to receive feedback on any action taken.
To ensure that individuals receive a response to their concerns and that they are aware of how to pursue them if they are not satisfied.
To reassure individuals that they will be protected from reprisals or victimisation for whistle blowing in good faith.
The following important principles are contained within this policy:
The code is complementary to Crystal Palace Academy's Child Protection Policy & Procedures and its Code of Conduct;
The Club Welfare Officer has overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy;
If a matter raised results in any disciplinary action, the Crystal Palace Academy's disciplinary procedures will apply.
Players, coaches, officials, parents or team followers are often the first to realise that a child’s safety and welfare are under threat. However, they may not express their concerns because they feel that speaking up would be too difficult to handle. It may also be that they fear harassment or victimisation.
In these circumstances it may be easier for them to ignore the concern rather than report what may just be a suspicion of poor practice. Crystal Palace Academy is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, honesty and accountability. In line with that commitment, individuals are encouraged, if they have serious concerns about any aspect of a child’s safety and welfare, to come forward and voice those concerns.
This policy makes it clear that individuals can raise a matter of concern without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination or disadvantage. The policy is intended to encourage and enable individuals to raise serious concerns within Crystal Palace Academy rather than overlooking a problem or blowing the whistle outside. It is in the interest of all concerned that disclosure of potential abuse or irregularities are dealt with properly, quickly and discreetly. This includes the interests of the Crystal Palace Academy, all persons registered to Crystal Palace Academy and any persons who are the subject of any complaint, as well as the person making the complaint.
Crystal Palace Academy is committed to good practice and high standards and wants to be supportive of everyone within the club.
Crystal Palace Academy recognises that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make, not least because of the fear of reprisal from those responsible for the alleged poor practice. If an individual believes what they are saying to be true, they should have nothing to fear because in reporting their concern they will be doing their duty to the child, young person or vulnerable adult concerned.
Crystal Palace Academy will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation (including informal pressures) and will take appropriate action to protect individuals when they raise a concern in good faith.
Any investigation into allegations of alleged poor practice will not influence or be influenced by any disciplinary procedures that already affect individuals.
Crystal Palace Academy will do its best to protect the identity of the whistle blower when they raise a concern and do not want their name to be disclosed. It must be appreciated that the investigation process may reveal the source of the information and a statement by the whistle blower may be required as part of the evidence. They will be given prior notice of this and a chance to discuss the consequences. Support is available from the club’s Child Welfare Officer.
This policy encourages the whistle blower to put their name to their allegation. Concerns expressed anonymously are much less powerful, but they will be considered (at the discretion of the club’s CWO).
In exercising the discretion, the factors to be taken into account would include:
the seriousness of the issues raised;
the credibility of the concern; and
the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources or factual records.
If an individual makes an allegation in good faith, but it is not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against them. If, however, it is established that they have made malicious or frivolous allegations, or for personal gain, disciplinary action may be taken against them. In such cases, Crystal Palace Academy disciplinary procedure will apply.
The ‘Whistle Blowing’ Policy
The whistle blowing policy should only be followed if the person raising the concern feels unable to follow the standard reporting procedures as set out in the club’s Child Protection Policy .
How to raise a concern
Concerns may be made verbally or in writing to the club’s child welfare officer. The individual should set out the background and history of the concern, giving names, dates and places where possible and the reason why they are particularly concerned about the situation. The earlier the individual expresses concern, the easier it is for someone to take action. Although the whistle blower is not expected to prove the truth of an allegation, they will need to demonstrate to the club’s CWO that there are sufficient grounds for their concern.
Individuals should raise the concern in the first instance with the club’s Welfare Officer
Ben Smith (Tel: 07507 477577 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
CPFC, Copers Cope Road, Beckenham, BR3 1RJ (you should mark the envelope ‘private & confidential’).