ERI Whistleblowing Policy

Approved by ERI Board July 2024

Purpose and principles

ERI seeks to conduct itself honestly, with integrity, and in accordance with its stated values and procedures.  However, all organisations have to face the risk of malpractice or wrongdoing.  Accordingly ERI Directors, staff, interns, and volunteers are encouraged to raise genuine concerns in a responsible and effective manner without fear of reprisals or negative repercussions.  The ERI Board undertakes to protect complainants from detrimental treatment when they raise concerns internally and in good faith.

This policy is intended to assist ERI Board members, staff, interns, advisers, and volunteers who believe they have discovered malpractice or impropriety.

ERI has introduced these procedures to enable personnel to raise or disclose concerns about malpractice at an early stage and in the right way. It is reasonable to expect such concerns to be addressed internally and in accordance with these procedures rather than aired outside ERI.

Scope of the policy

The terms ‘malpractice’ or ‘wrongdoing’ include but are not exhaustive of:

  • Criminal activity, including fraud
  • Other forms of financial malpractice or breach of ERI’s financial procedures
  • Breaches of legal obligations (including negligence, breach of contract, and breach of administrative law)
  • Dangers to Health and Safety
  • Damage to the environment
  • Improper conduct or unethical behaviour
  • The concealment of any of the above.


If an individual raises a genuine concern and is acting in good faith, even if it is later discovered that they are mistaken, under this policy they will not be at risk of losing their role or suffering any form of detriment as a result. This assurance is not extended to an individual who maliciously raises a matter they know to be untrue or who is involved in any way in the malpractice. In extreme cases malicious or wild allegations could give rise to legal action on the part of the persons complained about.

Procedure for Raising a Concern

If you believe that the actions of anyone (or a group of people) working or volunteering for ERI do or could constitute malpractice or wrongdoing you should raise the matter with the Executive Director or the Chairman of the Board, or, if both are involved in the allegation or you have other reasons for doing so, with any member of the Board of Directors.

You may raise your concern verbally or in writing and should include full details and, if possible, supporting evidence. You must state that you are using the Whistleblowing Policy and specify whether you wish your identity to be kept confidential.

If you have any personal interest in the matter you have raised you must disclose this at the outset.


ERI will treat all such disclosures in a sensitive manner. If you request it, every effort will be made to keep your identity confidential, at least until any formal investigation is under way. In order not to jeopardise any investigation into the alleged malpractice, you will also be expected to keep the fact that you have raised a concern, the nature of the concern, and the identity of those involved, confidential.

There may be circumstances in which, because of the nature of the investigation or disclosure, it will be necessary to disclose your identity. In such circumstances, efforts will be made to inform you that your identity is likely to be disclosed. If it is necessary for you to participate in an investigation, the fact that you

made the original disclosure will, so far as is reasonably practicable, be kept confidential and all reasonable steps will be taken to protect you from any detriment as a result of having made a disclosure.

Should an investigation lead to a criminal prosecution, it may become necessary for you to provide evidence or be interviewed by the police. In these circumstances the implications for confidentiality will be discussed with you.

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 according to the judgement of the Executive Director, Chairman, or other Director receiving the complaint. In making this judgement, the factors 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

Support for Whistleblowers

Once a disclosure is made the Executive Director, Chairman or Director to whom the disclosure is made will keep you up to date with the progress of the complaint and seek to provide any specific support you may need.  No Board member, member of staff, intern, adviser or volunteer who raises genuinely held concerns in good faith will be dismissed, removed, or subjected to any detriment as a result of such action, even if the concerns turn out to be unfounded. If you believe that you are being subjected to a detriment as a result of raising concerns under this procedure, you should inform a member of the ERI Board immediately.

How a disclosure will be handled

All disclosures will be taken seriously and the following procedure will be used:

1.  Your disclosure under this policy will be acknowledged in writing confirming that the matter will be investigated and that the ERI Executive Director, Chairman, or Board member will get back to you in due course.

2.  A suitable person or persons will be identified to manage the disclosure and take any necessary action as an outcome.

3.  Within two weeks of the disclosure, a suitable individual will be instructed to conduct an investigation into the allegation. This person will have had no previous involvement in the matter.

4. The person investigating will inform the person against whom the complaint is made as soon as is practically possible. For any interview or hearing as part of this process, the person against whom the complaint is made will be informed of their right to be accompanied by a chosen representative.

6. The length and scope of the investigation will depend on the subject matter of the disclosure. In most instances, there will be an initial assessment of the disclosure to determine whether there are grounds for a more detailed investigation to take place or whether the disclosure is, for example, based on erroneous information.

7. The persons managing and investigating the allegation will consider the involvement of external agencies and authorities, for example, ERI’s auditor or the police.

8.  You may be asked to provide more information during the course of the investigation.

9. The investigation report will be reviewed by the person managing the disclosure and passed to the Executive Director, the Chairman of the ERI Board or Board member as appropriate

10. According to the level and seriousness of any confirmed allegation, appropriate action will be taken by the Executive Director or the ERI Board. This could involve an internal process, or, in the event of suspected criminal action, e.g. fraud or theft, informing external authorities. ERI will inform you if a referral to an external authority is about to or has taken place, although ERI reserves the right to make such a referral without your knowledge or consent if considered appropriate.

11. If it is found that there is not sufficient evidence of malpractice, or the actions of the individual(s) are not serious enough to warrant internal sanctions or external involvement, it may be more appropriate for the person managing the disclosure to adopt a more informal approach in dealing with the matter.

12. You will receive written notification of the outcome of the investigation, though not all the details or a copy of the report.

13.  Possible outcomes of the investigation include:

  • the allegation could not be substantiated
  • action has been taken to ensure that the problem does not arise again
  • the allegation has been referred to external authorities

14.  If you are not satisfied with the response you have received you should raise the matter with the Chairman of the Board, or, if the Chairman is involved, the Chairman or a Member of the Company. 

Corrective Action and Compliance

As part of the investigation into disclosures made under this policy, recommendations for change will be invited from the investigator to enable ERI to minimise the risk of the recurrence of any malpractice or impropriety which has been uncovered.

The Executive Director will be responsible for reviewing and implementing these recommendations in the future and for reporting on any changes required to the Board.

False Disclosures

ERI will treat all disclosures of malpractice seriously and protect persons who raise concerns in good faith. However, appropriate action will be taken in relation to any Board member, member of staff, intern, or volunteer who is found to have made a disclosure maliciously that they know to be untrue, or without reasonable grounds for believing that the information supplied was accurate. This may result in dismissal from ERI or its Board.

The names of the Executive Director, the Chairman of the ERI Board and Board members can be found on the ERI website:-