Whistleblower - Policy

BACKGROUND

London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) believes that good and meaningful communication at all levels of the organization promotes best practice and success. The Foundation is committed to conducting itself with honesty and integrity at all times. If, at any time, this commitment is not followed or appears in doubt, the Foundation will seek to identify and remedy such situations. With this in mind, staff and volunteers are encouraged to raise genuine concerns without fear of reprisals or consequences.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this Whistleblower Policy is to provide direction to all current and former directors, employees, contractors, subcontractors, agents, volunteers, vendors, donors, and partners of LHSF regarding the communication of concerns with respect to issues of honesty and integrity, and, in particular, of questionable financial or operational matters.

POLICY

1.0 Definitions

The Foundation - "Foundation" is meant to be London Health Sciences Foundation.

The Whistleblower - "Whistleblower" is meant to be any current or former director, employee, contractor, subcontractor, agent, volunteer, or vendor, and any donor, member of the general public or partner of the Foundation who has reported a whistleblower incident.

Whistleblower Incident - "Whistleblower Incident" is defined as a concern related to issues of honesty and integrity within the Foundation and, in particular, issues relating to financial or operational matters.

For greater clarity, Whistleblower Incidents are intended to include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Breach of legal obligations, rules, regulations or policy;
  • Endangerment of health and safety;
  • Gross mismanagement or omission or neglect of duty;
  • Abuse of authority;
  • Mismanagement in the use or failure to use funds, including, inappropriate recording or reporting of revenues, or lack thereof;
  • Inappropriate classification or presentation of assets and/or liabilities;
  • Breach of fiduciary duty and/or abuse of trust;
  • Inappropriate occurrences at a Foundation event; and
  • Concealment of any of the above or any other breach of this policy.

2.1 Authority

Overall authority for this policy rests with the Foundation's Chief Operating Officer ("COO"). The COO shall have specific responsibility to facilitate the communication and operation of this policy, including appropriate training and review. All staff and volunteers are responsible for the success of the policy and should ensure that they take the actions required to make the policy effective and of optimal value to the Foundation.

PROCESS

3.0 Whistleblower Incident reporting

3.1 The Whistleblower must immediately communicate Whistleblower Incidents as soon as the Whistleblower becomes aware of such situations.

3.2 Whistleblower Incidents shall be communicated using the Foundation's prescribed procedures for the submission of a Whistleblower Incident, as the case may be from time to time.

3.3 A Whistleblower Incident may be received verbally (by phone or in person) or in writing (by mail, fax, email).

3.4 The Whistleblower will not be discharged, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed, or in any other manner discriminated against as a result of communicating a genuine Whistleblower Incident. Any LHSF employee found to be in violation of this policy (i.e. continued harassment of the Whistleblower) may be subject to termination of employment.

3.5 The Foundation will not protect a Whistleblower who intentionally makes false accusations in reporting of a Whistleblower Incident.

3.6 All reported Whistleblower Incidents shall be treated in a confidential and sensitive manner. In addition, the Whistleblower shall be provided the opportunity to remain anonymous, save and except in those circumstances where the nature of the disclosure and/or the resultant investigation make it necessary to disclose identity (for example, legal investigations or proceedings). In such cases, all reasonable steps shall be taken to protect the Whistleblower from detriment as a result of having made a disclosure.

3.7 The Foundation does not encourage anonymous reporting as proper investigation may prove impossible without the opportunity to substantiate allegations by obtaining further facts and information and confirming good faith.  It also allows the Foundation to provide appropriate reporting and follow up.

4.0 PROCEDURES

4.1 All Whistleblower Incidents shall be reported to the Foundation's COO or, if otherwise received, shall be forwarded immediately and confidentially to the Foundation's COO. The COO shall immediately advise the Foundation's President & CEO and the Board Chair, and shall be otherwise responsible for compliance with this policy.

4.2 Once received, the submission is assessed by the COO and a recommendation on investigation protocol is sent to the President & CEO and the Chair of the Board. Consensus is reached and then the appropriate action and investigation commences, involving appropriate  levels of management and the Board dependent on the scope and severity of the incident reported. The COO, in consultation with the President & CEO and Board Chair may, in the sole discretion of the COO, refer any Whistleblower Incident for review by an independent third party previously approved by the Foundation Board. Any Whistleblower Incident involving the President & CEO, the COO, the Board Chair or any member of the Board shall be immediately referred to an independent third party as noted above.

4.3 A report is prepared for the Executive Committee and the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Directors, and any recommended actions shall be approved by them.

4.4 All Whistleblower Incidents shall be communicated and resolved using the Foundation's prescribed procedures. Each Whistleblower Incident will be treated with confidentiality and due care.

5.0 Applicability

5.1 This policy applies to all current and former directors, employees, contractors, subcontractors, agents, volunteers, vendors, donors and partners of the Foundation.

6.0 Documentation

6.1 Documents shall be held in confidence by all parties and participants under this policy. Official reports for the COO or other designated parties shall be kept confidential by any recipient unless otherwise authorized by the report or the COO. All relevant documentation including reports, discussions and supporting information shall remain in the control and custody of the COO unless otherwise authorized pursuant to a report of decision issued in accordance with this policy.