Channel 4 is committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and behaviour in everything we do. That includes not just compliance with applicable laws and regulation but aspiring to work in a manner consistent with the best ethical principles and practices. As well as applying to all Channel 4 staff, this extends to programme-makers, online producers (‘Producers’), and other third parties when carrying out their work for Channel 4.
Channel 4 not only requires the companies it works with to comply with the law but also to adhere to the standards of behaviour set out in Channel 4’s Supplier Code of Conduct. We expect these companies to have in place and to use appropriate systems to implement and enforce compliance. If companies do not comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct, Channel 4 reserves the right to take appropriate action; so if you become aware of inappropriate conduct we want to hear about it.
Our Speak Up facility provides people working at Producers and other third parties with a confidential process whereby they can escalate concerns to senior Channel 4 management. We are committed to dealing with everything that is reported to us promptly, fairly and confidentially, in accordance with this guidance.
Where to get advice
In general, you should first discuss any concerns with your line manager at the company where you are working. However, if you believe this is not appropriate, there may be other sources of help, depending on the circumstances:
- Does the company you are working for have an HR department you can talk to?
- Can you talk to a senior company manager or executive above your line manager?
- Does the company you are working for have their own comparable Speak Up facility you can use?
The Channel 4 Speak Up facility
For situations where you are uncomfortable using the procedures outlined above or where you believe that your company has not adequately addressed your concerns, the Channel 4 Speak Up facility provides you with a further escalation route.
What should Speak Up be used for?
Although not an exhaustive list, Speak Up is intended to be used to raise concerns over:
- Malpractice, fraud, bribery or corruption;
- Other criminal offences or illegal acts;
- Conduct that has endangered, or is likely to endanger the health and safety of an individual;
- Conduct that has damaged, or is likely to damage the environment; or
- Concealment of information relating to any of the above.
This facility is not for reporting personal employment issues; these should be escalated within the company you work for. This includes disputes about pay, hours or conditions in the workplace, which you should raise with your employer through their own internal procedures.
Where the concerns relate to activity taking place wholly within a third-party supplier, where Channel 4 does not have access to information and records, it is unlikely that Channel 4 would able to conduct a proper investigation itself. (For example, this could include bullying, harassment, discrimination, bribery or other illegal acts.) In this case Channel 4 will recommend external organisations specialising in providing guidance on matters relating to your concerns.
Speak Up Principles
If you choose to use Channel 4’s Speak Up facility:
- Your confidentiality will be respected and the information you provide will be shared only with those responsible at Channel 4 for assessing and/or investigating the matter;
- Channel 4 will endeavour to ensure that all concerns raised are investigated appropriately and as thoroughly as possible. However, in some cases it may not be appropriate or possible for Channel 4 to conduct an investigation itself, in which case alternative guidance may be given; and
- While you can choose to remain anonymous, this may in some circumstances limit Channel 4’s ability to investigate your concerns or (in cases where it cannot conduct an investigation) give alternative guidance.
- No-one raising a concern will be disadvantaged as a result of speaking up so long as:
- The issue is raised in good faith; and
- The concern is genuine and not malicious.
Channel 4 will not tolerate any retaliation against an individual for raising a concern, making a report or assisting in an investigation. Anyone who knowingly conceals wrongdoing, attempts to victimise, harass or deter a person raising a concern, or anyone raising a concern that they know to be false or malicious, will face appropriate action by Channel 4. This could result in summary dismissal in the case of Channel 4 staff, termination of the relevant contractual relationship with Channel 4, or the matter being handed over to the appropriate authorities to investigate further.
How do I raise a concern?
First line communication to our Speak Up facility is managed by an external company called Safecall. Safecall pass on the details of matters raised to Channel 4’s internal Evaluation Group (see below). The Evaluation Group will then communicate with you directly.
Please quote ‘Channel 4’ as the company name in your communications with Safecall, so that your concerns can be correctly escalated.
When you contact Safecall, they will ask you to provide your name, contact details, your position and where you work. They will then ask you to talk through your concern. Calls are not recorded; the call handler will take handwritten notes and write up a report after the call. You will be given a user name and password which will allow you to log onto Safecall’s secure website to continue to communicate. You will also be asked to provide a memorable word, which will be used to verify your identity should you call Safecall again in connection with the same concern.
No counselling or advice will be given to you by Safecall, except referral to Channel 4’s Evaluation Group. Safecall does not filter, grade, or verify the content of communications, and makes no value judgement on the content of the communication.
Communications to Safecall are treated on a strictly confidential basis.
When reporting an issue through the Speak Up facility you will have three options regarding anonymity:
- You can provide your name and contact details and give Safecall permission to share these with the C4 Evaluation Group.
- You can choose to remain completely anonymous and not provide your name and contact details to Safecall.
- You can choose to share your name and contact details with Safecall, but request that this information is not provided to the C4 Evaluation Group.
Please note that disclosing your name will make it easier to conduct a thorough investigation, should one be required, or to give alternative guidance. Your name will be kept confidential internally unless we are required to disclose it as a result of legal proceedings or a court order. Your name will be kept confidential internally unless we are required to disclose it as a result of legal proceedings. If you choose to remain anonymous you can continue to communicate with C4 through Safecall.
Channel 4 undertakes never to put undue pressure on an individual to obtain details which may enable them to be identified, if they have chosen to remain anonymous.
How to contact Safecall?
There are two ways in which you can contact Safecall:
Safecall’s phone lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will speak directly with one of Safecall’s call handlers. If you feel more comfortable reporting your concern in a language other than English, an interpreter will join the call to translate between you and the call handler.
UK freephone number: 0800 915 1571
Reports can also be made using Safecall’s secure website, which supports over 60 languages:
What happens next?
Safecall will summarise the matter and pass on details of your communication to the Evaluation Group. The details will then be reviewed by the Evaluation Group, which is made up of the following Channel 4 employees:
- The Chief Operating Officer
- The People Director;
- The Head of Business Assurance;
Based on their initial assessment, the Evaluation Group may be widened to include:
- The Controller of Legal & Compliance; and/ or
- The Deputy Director of Programmes; and/ or
- Other Senior Executives, as appropriate.
A member of the Evaluation Group may wish to talk to you to obtain more details or an understanding of your concerns. The purpose of the discussion will be to obtain as much information as possible in order to assess potential next steps. You may bring a trade union representative or a work colleague of your choice to any meetings conducted under this policy. Your companion must respect the confidentiality of your disclosure and any subsequent steps.
The Evaluation Group will recommend next steps, which may include one or more of the following:
- Internal investigation by Channel 4;
- Investigation by external investigators appointed by Channel 4;
- Referral to the third party supplier in question to conduct an internal investigation, including demonstrating to Channel 4:
- That it has appropriate systems in place to investigate;
- That a proper investigation has been carried out; and
- The outcome of the investigation.
- Referral to external organisations specialising in giving guidance to complainants raising specific types of concerns; and/ or
- Reporting of the matter to the police or an appropriate public authority.
You will receive a response and feedback as soon as is practicable and no later than 28 working days after the Evaluation Group has considered your matter. If you remain anonymous the feedback will be sent to you via Safecall.
If any member of the Evaluation Group believes that they have had any previous involvement, conflict or interest in the matter being reported, they will stand down. In such cases Channel 4 may appoint a designated alternative, provided they are a senior manager.
Resolving an issue
Once a decision has been reached as to which action(s) will be taken, you will be given feedback on this. You will be told, as far as is possible, what action Channel 4 has taken. We may not be able to fully report back in all instances, for example if the matter has been referred to the police.
Results of investigations and/or other steps recommended will be routinely reported up to the Audit Committee of Channel 4’s Board, on a confidential basis.
Every effort will be made to give your call a quick response and to deal with your question or concern promptly, especially when circumstances make it time critical.
Other support lines available
The Film & TV Charity specialises in providing support to everyone working behind the scenes in film and television, covering a wide range of issues, including bullying and harassment, legal advice and debt.
Their helpline number is 0800 054 0000.
Further information on the charity, including other ways to contact them, can be found on their website.
Protect (formerly Public Concern at Work) provide confidential advice to workers who are unsure of whether or how to raise a public interest concern.
For whistleblowing advice you can call them on 020 3117 2520.
Further information about the services they provide can be found on their website.
Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is an independent and impartial organisation providing information, advice, training, conciliation and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems.
Acas can be contacted on their free confidential helpline: 0300 123 1100.
Advice on bullying and harassment can be found on their website.
Other resources available
The Equality & Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body with the responsibility to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and protect and promote the human rights of everyone in Britain. You can find guidance on discrimination and human rights on their website.