By Saleem Chowdhery, Director of Internal Audit 

It goes without saying that we aim to carry out our business in a safe, honest and ethical way at all times, and for the majority of the time most of us do.  There are times though when things do go wrong as a result of deliberate action, for example, policies are breached, colleagues are discriminated against or criminal activity takes place. This isn’t ok.

When you see or suspect some wrong doing we want you to tell us about it – this is often referred to as whistleblowing and is really important. You don’t need to have any proof that these things are happening – as long as you have a reasonable belief, you should report your concerns.

In the first instance, we want you to feel confident in raising any concerns with your line manager or other managers. But we realise sometimes you may not feel comfortable doing this so it’s essential that you’re aware of the “Speak Up” whistleblowing service and the new contact details for this.

When should I “Speak Up”?

You should contact the “Speak Up” service if you see or suspect:

  • Any bribery, fraud or other criminal offence
  • A miscarriage of justice
  • A risk to colleague and/or public health and safety
  • A risk or actual damage to the environment
  • A breach of any other legal or professional obligation
  • Discriminatory behaviour
  • Someone is covering up wrongdoing

The “Speak Up” service is not for grievances. It’s important to understand that whistleblowing is different to a grievance – both are equally important and need to be investigated. A grievance is usually a complaint about something that impacts a colleague as an individual, like how they feel they’re being treated at work. This needs to be dealt with under the Grievance Process. Whistleblowing is usually a concern about a wrongdoing that affects the Co-op more widely.

How do I “Speak Up”?

“Speak up” is a 24/7 anonymous, free and confidential service now operated by Safecall – an independent company that provides this service to other organisations like ours. It has trained operators who will take the details of your concern. Your call won’t be traced or recorded. Safecall will pass all the information you give during the call, apart from your name if you wish, to the Internal Audit team who will make sure your concern is looked into thoroughly and independently. 

You can call our “Speak Up” service for whistleblowing concerns on 0800 915 1571 at any time or via the web

We take whistleblowing very seriously and are committed to independently investigating any allegations raised. If you do see or suspect any malpractice or wrong doing I’d really encourage you to speak up.