Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure for use by Unipol’s Directors/Trustees


Unipol’s Board is committed to the highest standards of probity and integrity and to promoting good corporate governance. The Board has ensured that all of Unipol’s staff have access to the University of Leeds’s Code of Practice on Whistleblowing. This Policy and Procedure has been adopted in order to provide a process for use by individual Unipol Directors/Trustees.


Unipol recognises that a Director/Trustee suspecting malpractice or impropriety might be reluctant to take steps which might lead to action being taken against fellow Directors/Trustees or members of Unipol’s staff. Nevertheless, if Unipol is to maintain the highest standards of conduct, it must be given the opportunity to investigate any suspected instance of malpractice or impropriety. Unipol therefore affirms that, unless s/he is acting maliciously, any Director/Trustee raising concerns about malpractice or impropriety is acting responsibly and properly; this is true even if the concern turns out to be a misunderstanding or otherwise groundless.

Good Faith

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 defines ‘good faith’ in the context of Whistleblowing as the reasonable belief that the allegation is substantially true and that it is not made for personal gain. That definition provides the framework for this Policy and Procedure, i.e. disclosures made under this process must be made with good reason and must not be trivial, vexatious or malicious.

Applicability: Unipol Staff

This Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure is intended for use by Unipol’s Directors/Trustees.

Any member of Unipol’s staff wishing to initiate a Whistleblowing complaint should make use of the University of Leeds’s Code of Practice. Although not obligatory, that member of staff is encouraged to copy their complaint, in confidence, to the Chair of Unipol’s Board.

Coverage of the Policy and Procedure

The following matters, although not exhaustive, may be the subject of a Whistleblowing disclosure:-

  • a crime
  • failure to comply with a legal obligation or Unipol’s Articles of Association
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • financial or other administrative malpractice
  • professional malpractice
  • danger to health, safety and the environment
  • improper conduct or unethical behaviour
  • harassment or bullying
  • abuse or misuse of Unipol’s property
  • suppression or concealment relating to any of the above.

Confidentiality and Anonymity

A Director/Trustee invoking this Policy and Procedure will be required to retain confidentiality during Unipol’s investigation and consideration of any further action. If the Director/Trustee seeks professional advice, this confidentiality requirement will also apply to the professional advisor(s).

If the complainant requests that their identity be kept confidential, that request will be met, always providing that is compatible with an effective investigation.

If an anonymous disclosure is made, it will be for the ‘designated person’ (see below) to determine whether or not to pursue the matter. In making that decision, the designated person will consider whether the disclosure can be properly investigated; fairness to any individual(s) mentioned in the complaint; and whether the good faith of the complainant can be adequately assessed.

Designated Person

The designated person in respect of a Director’s/Trustee’s disclosure under this Policy and Procedure will be the Chair of Unipol’s Board. If a disclosure relates to the Chair, the designated person will be the Deputy Chair of the Board. If the disclosure relates to both the Chair and Deputy Chair, the designated person will be an independent person as chosen by Unipol’s Board.

Making Disclosures and their Investigation

A Unipol Director/Trustee wishing to make a disclosure should contact the designated person.

On receiving a disclosure, the designated person will decide whether the matter raised should be investigated, and who by. Unless the matter is considered to be made without good reason and/or to be trivial, vexatious or malicious, it will be investigated.

Some disclosures may require immediate referral to an outside body such as the Police, Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency, etc. More usually an internal investigation will be necessary.

In determining who will conduct the investigation, the designated person may select a person outside of Unipol. The investigator will take no part in any subsequent decisions.

Reporting and Subsequent Action

The investigator will provide a written report for the designated person. On receipt of the report, the designated person may at her/his discretion consult as deemed appropriate. Whether or not after consultation, the designated person will then determine what, if any, action to take. The outcome will be reported to the complainant and to Unipol’s Board.

An outcome may include referral to an outside body.

On receipt of the report on the outcome, the Board may order further investigation. Such further investigation may result in a further outcome; and will itself be reported to the Board.

All cases where the designated person has determined that no investigation be undertaken will be reported to the Board and to the complainant. In such cases the Board may order an investigation. The outcome of such investigation will be reported to the Board.

The Board will receive an annual report, if appropriate a ‘nil’ report, on Unipol’s receipt of Whistleblowing disclosures, including any submitted by staff under the University of Leeds’ Code of Practice.