1.1 This policy applies to officers, employees, consultants, contractual workers, contractors, other workers undertaking activity on behalf of MSIF and volunteers or staff in the MSIF movement or affected by MSIF’s work. We refer to those as ‘All Involved’.
2.1 To prevent and/or deal with unethical conduct, malpractice, illegal practices or violations of MSIF policy, by MSIF, its employees, volunteers or partners, by advising staff and All Involved how to raise concerns with MSIF’s management, its governing bodies, or if necessary with appropriate outside bodies.
3.1 Any organisation including MSIF faces the risk of things going wrong. We have a duty to identify and take measures to remedy such behaviour and to ensure we safeguard all individuals, staff, volunteers, people affected by MS and others who may be involved with MSIF’s work in the global MSIF Movement.
3.2 By encouraging a culture of openness within MSIF and the wider movement we believe that we can prevent wrongdoing. We therefore want to encourage All Involved to raise issues which concern them in the work of MSIF. We recognise, however, that All Involved may be worried that by reporting such issues they may put themselves at risk of victimisation, detriment, and loss of job, position or other benefit.
3.3 Such fears are understandable; this policy is therefore designed to provide information about the process by which your concerns can be raised.
3.4 By knowing about concerns at an early stage we stand a good chance of taking the necessary steps to protect and safeguard the interests of All Involved, protect MSIF and stop any wongdoing before it happens.
3.5 In short, do not hesitate to ‘speak up’ or ‘blow the whistle’ on wrongdoing.
3.6 MSIF will make this policy publicly available on its website and ensure its distribution to relevant recipients. It will be part of the induction programmes, for staff, volunteers and trustees.
The list of examples of the types of issues or concerns that can be raised under this policy is not exhaustive but includes actions that may be:
- criminal, illegal, improper, or unethical;
- in breach of a professional code;
- possible maladministration, fraud, bribery or misuse of funds;
- endangering an individual’s health or safety;
- acts which violate MSIF policies, value statements, or codes of conduct as contained in MSIF policies and terms of reference;
- Deliberate concealment of information relating to any of the above.
5.1 This policy is not MSIF’s normal grievance procedure, nor is it a complaints procedure. If somebody has a complaint about their own personal circumstances then they should use the grievance or a complaints procedure. If they have concerns about wrongdoing within MSIF they should use the procedure outlined in this policy.
6. Protection of whistleblowers
6.1 MSIF’s management and Board of Trustees are committed to this policy. If the policy is used to raise a concern in good faith we give our assurance that the whistle blower will not suffer any form of retribution, victimisation or detriment as a result of their actions 
6.2 Concerns will be treated seriously, investigated and actions taken in accordance with this policy. If we are asked to treat the matter in confidence we will do our utmost to respect that request. However, it is not possible to guarantee confidentiality. If we are in a position where we cannot maintain confidentiality and have to make disclosures we will discuss the matter with the whistleblower first. We will give feedback on any investigation and be sensitive to any concerns they may have as a result of any steps taken under this procedure.
6.3 In some circumstances MSIF may decide that we ought to reveal the whistleblower’s identity in order to assist in the investigation. The whistleblower will be advised beforehand if this is the case.
6.4 If the whistleblower does not tell us who they are it will be much more difficult for MSIF to look into the matter, to protect their position or to give feedback. Accordingly, while we will consider anonymous reports, this procedure is not appropriate for concerns raised anonymously.
6.5 MSIF will not tolerate any harassment or victimisation of a ‘whistleblower’ and any such action will be regarded as a serious disciplinary offence to be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure.
7.1 A whistleblower who is concerned about any form of wrongdoing should normally first raise this with the Deputy CEO or CEO. There is no special procedure for doing this. It can be done orally or in writing.
At whatever level the issue is raised, the whistleblower should declare whether they have a personal interest in the issue at the outset. If the concern falls more properly within a grievance or a complaints procedure the Deputy CEO or CEO will inform them.
7.2 If the whistleblower feels they cannot tell the Deputy CEO or CEO, for whatever reason, they should raise the issue with the Director of Finance and Resources or with the Chair or Vice Chair of MSIF’s Board of Trustees.
The Deputy CEO and CEO are entrusted with the duty to investigating staff concerns about illegal, improper or unethical behaviour. If the issue relates to behaviour of either of them, the Chair of the MSIF Board of Trustees will investigate the matter.
7.3 If the whistleblower still has concerns, for example after they have reported a matter as described in the above paragraph and believes that the reaction does not represent a reasonable response to the issues raised, they should report the matter directly to the Chair or Vice Chair of MSIF’s Board of Trustees.
7.4 Responding to whistleblowing
After a concern has been raised MSIF will decide how to respond. Usually this will involve making internal enquiries first but it may be necessary to carry out an investigation at a later stage which may be formal or informal depending on the nature of the concern raised.
MSIF will, as far as possible, keep the whistleblower informed of the decisions taken and the outcome of any enquiries and investigations carried out. However, we will not be able to inform the whistleblower of any matters which would infringe our duty of confidentiality to others.
7.5 Raising concerns externally
We hope that in most circumstances concerns about wrongdoing can be raised internally.
If, however, the whistleblower feels they cannot raise the concerns internally with a member of management or an appropriate trustee, and in good faith believes that the allegations are true they must raise the matter with an appropriate regulator such as the UK Charity Commission, the Health and Safety Executive etc, or the police.
MSIF recommends to take advice (see section 7.6 below) before following this course of action.
7.6 Sources of advice
Text BoxIt is recommended that a whistleblower obtains advice about whistleblowing at an early stage before reporting concerns externally. This is particularly important for staff, so that they know the extent of the protection which will be provided under UK legislation.
If the whistleblower is a member of a trade union they may wish to seek advice about raising an issue from a trade union representative. They may also wish to seek advice from Protect, a charity specialising in whistleblowing or legal or other counsel or advisor of their own choice.
8. Untrue allegations
Of course, any person who lodges a concern maliciously or in bad faith can expect the consequences of such an action. But we at MSIF do not anticipate such behaviour. In fact, we encourage all persons to assert good faith concerns covered by this policy. Rest assured that even if the underlying assertion of a complaint is not subsequently proven, or is later found to be inaccurate, the complaining person will suffer no adverse repercussions whatsoever for good faith complaints.
 In addition, the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) may provide staff with legal protection in relation to disclosures if they are raised in accordance with that Act.
You can use the form below to contact MSIF.
Charity Commission (United Kingdom) Telephone: +44 (0)300 066 9197
Advice webpage from Charity Commission: www.gov.uk/guidance/report-serious-wrongdoing-at-a-charity-as-a-worker-or-volunteer
This policy was approved by the Board in September 2023