How the Executive can provide assurance to the Board

The following list of questions have been developed to support the Executive in preparing for board meetings. It provides questions which a Board member might ask of the organisation and its Executive team. It supplements the reporting requirements set out in the National Whistleblowing Standards (the Standards). Consideration should be given to inclusion of this information in quarterly and annual reporting, to provide the Board with appropriate assurance in relation to speak up arrangements.

1.  What is the organisation’s training plan in relation to the Standards for:

  • Confidential contacts
  • Line managers
  • Senior managers
  • Front line staff?

2.  Explain how the organisation demonstrates that the training has been taken up?

3.  Explain how the organisation demonstrates that the training has been effective?

4.  Explain how the manager responsible for implementation was selected for the role, why they are appropriate and what training they have been given.

5.  What is the organisation’s approach/plan/strategy for raising awareness of the Standards, the role and access to the confidential contact and how to raise concerns/access the Standards. For:

  • Front line staff
  • Line managers
  • Senior managers?

6.  Can the Executive demonstrate that staff are aware of the Standards and how to access them?

7.  Not all staff have access to computers during their normal working day, and some may need to find out about whistleblowing out of work time/from home. What does the organisation do to ensure staff can access confidential contacts when they do not have access to the intranet?

8.  Explain what involvement communications colleagues and staff side reps have had in ensuring consistent and clear messaging around the local implementation of the Standards.

9.  Explain the organisation’s approach for getting feedback from the whistleblower and others involved in the process about the process, their experience, what went well and what did not go so well?

10.  To what extent does the organisation benchmark against other Boards, and what does that tell us?

11.  What assurance does senior management get that whistleblowing procedures are in place and are effective?

12.  What training and awareness does the Executive recommend the Board receive in relation to the Standards, including all non-executive directors?

13.  How does the Executive gain assurance that learning and recommendations from whistleblowing investigations has been shared and actioned, and how are the Board informed?

14.  Hearing of service improvements that have resulted from raising concerns will give staff confidence in speaking up. How are staff across the organisation informed of the outcomes from whistleblowing concerns

15.  Please describe what the organisation’s business contingency/business continuity plans are to ensure whistleblowing concerns are handled under, and in line with the Standards during disruptions to service?

16.  How does the organisation ensure that there is always access to a confidential contact, for example during short and long term periods of absence and during times of disruption to services?

17.  Explain how the organisation ensures whistleblowers and others involved in the process are supported and protected from detriment; during an investigation and ongoing once an investigation is completed?

Updated: March 1, 2022