For further information contact Paul Greaves, tel 0117 931 7378, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal
The HEFCE and its Audit Service receive, from time to time, a range of allegations of financial irregularity or impropriety, mismanagement, waste and fraud in higher education institutions, from a variety of sources. The attached annex sets out our procedure for dealing with allegations.
We welcome these allegations insofar as they are brought to our attention in good faith and relate to our statutory functions. Our public interest disclosure, or whistleblowing, procedure has been in existence for a number of years and it has guided the Audit Service in dealing with allegations received. The volume of cases is increasing, and the interaction with those making a public interest disclosure is becoming more complex. Therefore, the policy and procedure have been reviewed and redrafted, informed by legal advice.
If you require any further information, please contact Paul Greaves, tel 0117 931 7378, e-mail email@example.com.
Howard Newby, Chief Executive
Download: Annex A - Allegations concerning higher education institutions: HEFCE policy and procedure. Appendix - Form for submitting allegations about higher education institutions
From the above download(ed) file:
'...The identity of a discloser and the source of his or her information can be kept confidential on the request of the discloser. However, the Chief Executive and other employees of the HEFCE may need to be given these details to determine the action to be taken in relation to a complaint, to enable enquiries to be made of the institution, and to enable any investigation to be carried out. Confidentiality will be respected if it is still possible for the case to be properly investigated. If it is not possible to protect confidentiality, the discloser will be given the choice of withdrawing or being identified...'
Chances are slim that academics are likely to raise complaints with HEFCE about financial irregularity or impropriety, mismanagement, waste and fraud in higher education institutions, when this is likely to end in 'early retirement', 'garden leave', or even straight forward disciplinary and sacking. However, consider the following:
'...1. Where an individual wishes to make an allegation to the HEFCE about matters in a higher education institution, then he or she should:
a. Read carefully this document and, if necessary, the Financial Memorandum that governs the relationship between the HEFCE and institutions. The Financial Memorandum is available on the HEFCE web-site (reference HEFCE 00/25).
b. Seek further clarification from the Clerk to the HEFCE Board (Simon Cannell, tel 0117 931 7405, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) or the HEFCE Chief Auditor (Paul Greaves, tel 0117 931 7378, e-mail email@example.com).
c. Satisfy him or herself that:
i. The allegation relates to the HEFCE’s functions and its relationship with the institution as set out in the Financial Memorandum.
ii. The institution’s internal public interest disclosure procedure has been exhausted.
iii. The matter does not relate to an individual or collective personnel dispute for which there are established routes of complaint and remedies.
iv. The matter does not relate to an academic dispute between a student and the institution. Guidance on complaints of this nature can be found in the Code of Practice on Student Complaints to be found on the web-site of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (www.qaa.ac.uk).
d. Complete the form at the Appendix and submit it to the Clerk of the HEFCE Board. An acknowledgement will be sent within five working days.
So one needs to exhaust all internal procedures before reporting to HEFCE. The chances are that by the time an academic has exhausted all internal procedures, they are not likely to have a job, their health will not be the best due to the huge trauma, and other priorities become more important... HEFCE is showing ignorance of the effects of workplace bullying on the targets (victims). Chances are that the target(s) are likely to suffer some degree of PTSD and the last thing they will want is another painful investigation. We know that in some cases 'negotiations' result in a financial payment and a confidentiality clause, and the story of the target never sees the light of day...
An FOI request to HEFCE can perhaps request answers to some interesting questions:
- How many academic/staff complaints regarding allegations of financial irregularity or impropriety, mismanagement, waste and fraud in higher education institutions have you received in 2006?
- In how many cases did HEFCE 'penalise' or 'report' a university for financial irregularity or impropriety, mismanagement, waste and fraud?
- How many of the academics/staff who reported such irregularities are still working with the same university?
- How do you define 'mismanagement'? Does it include not following university regulations concerning disciplinary procedures for academics?