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To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting on 4 September 2017 (Circulated separately).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) which presents a revised WHBC Whistleblowing Policy. The Policy was last reviewed in June 2015 and has recently been reviewed to ensure that the Policy is up to date.
Pursuant to the decision taken by the Committee at the meeting on 5 June 2017 (Minute 12 refers to the Work Programme) the report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) presented at Appendix ‘A’ a revised Whistleblowing Police for discussion.
The Appendix set out suggested tracked changes to the Policy arising from feedback and comments received from Heads of Services representing their respective service areas.
It was noted that the whistleblowing legislation was governed by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 further amends Section 43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 by introducing a ‘public interest test’. This legislation provided that certain individuals (employees, workers, agency workers) were protected from suffering any detriment i.e. any disadvantage because he/she had made a protected disclosure.
The report noted that no major legislative changes had been made in the past two and half years. Members considered the proposed changes which reflect changes in personnel. The Committee were advised that since the last Policy review there had only been one whistleblowing complaint and this had been determined by the Head of Service and resolved informally.
A Member was concerned about relying just on managers to follow the procedure and questioned whether there was a process for going outside the internal management structures where it may be more appropriate. Officers explained that managers were expected to follow the correct procedures and there was also a process outlined in the Policy to report incidents of certain seriousness directly to the Head of Law & Administration and Monitoring Officer if reporting them to a manager was not appropriate. It was also clarified that investigating officers would be responsible for deciding if complaints were malicious. It was agreed that an external regulator was not required, as an investigation could be carried out under the Council’s relevant HR policies and procedures.
The draft Policy was reviewed and some minor changes were suggested and it was agreed that the updated Policy be agreed with the Chairman before circulation.
The approved Whistleblowing Policy would be available on the Council’s internet and also placed on Team Talk.
That the draft Whistleblowing Policy be amended as suggested and the revised version be agreed with the Chairman and be approved for adoption.
REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT 2000
A verbal update on the use of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Members received a verbal report and noted that there were currently no investigations on-going involving covert surveillance in accordance with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 and this power has not been used for two years.
Members gave consideration to why the need for surveillance in its current form as there was now a rise in social media and other technology, whereby more people were aware of what others were doing.
Meeting ended at 7pm