CSCS Whistleblowing Policy
Last updated: January 9th, 2024
We, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), believe that upholding the law, integrity, and ethics, is essential for administering our card scheme in an effective, fair and reliable manner. We recognise that you may become aware of information about illegal or unethical activities.
Whether you are our card holder, partner, customer or a concerned individual in the construction industry or member of the public, we understand that such activities could negatively affect you, your organisation’s trust in our scheme and the public perception of the construction industry.
A ‘whistleblower’ is a person who raises a genuine concern about an illegal or unethical activity. It sometimes takes courage to do the right thing, and this Whistleblowing Policy is established to encourage and facilitate the confidential and secure reporting of such concerns while ensuring protection from retaliation for those who report such concerns.
- Encourage you to report a serious concern about illegal or unethical activities.
- Reassure you that genuine reports will be kept confidential, as explained below.
- Explain what steps we will take upon receipt of your report.
- Discourage people from making unfounded, excessive, or personal reports.
You are encouraged to report any activity that you reasonably believe constitutes a crime, breach of legal duty, danger to health and safety or the environment, miscarriage of justice, or any such activity likely to be deliberately concealed by others. Each report must be made in good faith. It should be based on genuine concerns, referring to true, accurate, and credible information supported by reliable evidence (e.g. your statement about what you witnessed).
In the context of the CSCS scheme, by way of example, this could include situations, such as:
- misrepresenting facts in an application for a CSCS card;
- pretending to be a CSCS card holder to gain a benefit, such as access to a site, offer to carry out work, or higher pay on account of allegedly holding certain qualifications;
- sharing one’s CSCS card with others to facilitate such wrongdoing;
- someone exploiting a security flaw to gain access to, or manipulate, CSCS card holder information;
- discrimination of certain CSCS card holders;
- an organisation keeping a copy of CSCS card holder data without explaining why; or
- an organisation covering up an accident involving a worker who pretended to be a CSCS card holder.
There is a risk that the consequences of such activities could affect you, your co-workers, your organisation, and other stakeholders in the construction industry.
Neither you nor we can fully mitigate all risks faced by whistleblowers. However, as a whistleblower, you are protected from serious harm in two ways:
- Confidentiality – We will take reasonable steps to keep your report confidential and not disclose information that could identify you, except as is necessary for advancing the investigation, remedying the alleged wrongdoing or complying with the law.
- Employment protection – If your report qualifies for protection under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, you will have the right not to suffer detriment or victimisation due to your report in your workplace. Whilst each case will turn on its facts, generally, you will be protected under the Act if your report is based on a reasonable belief supported by facts and evidence, your report relates to the field of employment, and you reasonably believe that making the report is in the public interest. No protection will likely apply to reports described in “What reports should be avoided?” below.
Please refer to our privacy notice for further information about how we process your personal data.
We would encourage everyone to report such activities to us confidentially and securely, by email to [email protected]
You should provide all relevant details in your report, including names, dates, locations, a description of the illegal or unethical activities and copies of relevant evidence.
You should report to us on a confidential basis, without sharing your concerns with any third party. Let us know when and how it is best to contact you about your report so that our conversation does not raise suspicion or otherwise put you at risk. You should not publish your allegations, whether under your name or anonymously, as this could interfere with any investigation or remediation.
If you are concerned about something but you are unsure whether to report it or not, you can always call our customer services team.
You have the option to remain anonymous while reporting concerns. Anonymous reports will be accepted and treated with the same level of confidentiality and seriousness as non-anonymous reports.
However, our ability to investigate any allegation will be limited if we cannot contact the whistleblower to confirm or clarify the alleged facts. As a result of anonymity, we might have to cast the net wider and make more enquiries, which could affect the confidentiality of the report. We will have to drop the investigation altogether if there is no evidence or lead to pursue.
We will take reasonable steps to keep confidential the information related to the whistleblower’s identity and the reported concerns.
However, we will disclose the contents of your report where necessary for advancing our investigation, remedying the alleged wrongdoing and complying with our legal obligations. Such disclosure will be made on a need-to-know basis and always subject to a confidentiality undertaking.
CSCS will implement appropriate measures designed to protect your identity and the contents of your report.
This may include restricted access to information, secure storage of records, using appropriately skilled individuals who are bound by confidentiality, implementing data protection policies and training to reinforce good practice when handling personal data, and using communications, infrastructure, and business tools provided by reputable service providers who are bound to keep your data safe.
We would discourage making a report:
- based on opinion unsupported by any evidence, as it would likely not be possible to investigate such a report;
- about personal grievances or complaints, which should be discussed with our customer services team instead; or
- any reports made in bad faith or for personal gain. If we conclude that a whistleblower has made false allegations maliciously or recklessly, the whistleblower could be subject to appropriate action by us and any aggrieved party who has a legitimate ground for accessing the report and allegations made against him or her.
CSCS will use reasonable endeavours to promptly initiate and conduct an investigation upon receiving your report, which might include:
- an initial assessment which will help us determine the scope of the investigation;
- contacting you to confirm certain facts;
- taking reasonable steps to stop any wrongdoing from happening or reoccurring;
- carrying out the investigation using common investigatory techniques in a thorough, impartial, and confidential manner; and
- where necessary in advancing the investigation, approaching external investigators, law enforcement authorities, affected parties, alleged wrongdoers, and other parties.
Once an investigation is concluded, CSCS will use reasonable endeavours to take appropriate actions to address the concerns raised in the report.
Actions may include corrective measures, such as policy changes, internal actions, new processes or restrictions placed on our partners and other measures to address the concerns.
We will keep you informed about the conclusion of the investigation unless this is not appropriate in the circumstances. You should treat any information about the investigation as confidential.
You are encouraged to report concerns to relevant authorities, such as the police or regulatory bodies if the concerns warrant such reporting.
We will share information with relevant authorities where necessary for advancing the investigation, remedying the alleged wrongdoing, and complying with our legal obligations.
This Whistleblowing Policy will be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure its effectiveness and alignment with best practices.
CSCS Antifraud Investigations Department
The Construction Skills Certification Scheme