Disclosures in the Public Interest (Whistleblowing) Policy.
Robert Gordon University is committed to operating in a responsible, honest and transparent manner. This policy and procedure provides a process through which employees, students and members of the public can report concerns of malpractice as a matter of public interest, without fear of reprisal.

Policy & Procedure

Key points of the policy and procedure are:

  • All disclosures will be acted upon promptly, sensitively, fairly and properly.
  • The university will ensure that no-one is at risk of suffering penalty or disadvantage as a result of raising a concern in good faith.
  • Disciplinary action may be taken if malicious unfounded allegations are made.
  • All disclosures will be considered by an Investigation panel who will investigate disclosures, seek expert advice where appropriate, and produce a report on their findings.


Staff members to whom a disclosure can be made:


Senior Management Group Members

University Solicitor

Chair of the Board of Governors

Convenor of the Audit Committee

Review & Monitoring

The Policy and Procedure on Disclosures in the Public Interest (Whistleblowing) is reviewed on an annual basis as a standing item on the Board of Governor’s Audit Committee agenda.

The Audit Committee receive an annual report on Ethics, Whistleblowing, Fraud and Gifts and Hospitality which details any specific instances of breaches of the university’s policies and provides a record of the enquiries and investigations undertaken by the university in each of these areas.

The findings and outcomes of any investigations are also monitored and reviewed by the Audit Committee.

Public Interest Disclosure and Joint RGU/ SFC Lessons Learned Review 2018

In May 2018 the university received an anonymous Public Interest Disclosure regarding an alleged conflict of interest in the appointment the Vice Principal for Commercial and Regional Innovation.

A panel of the university’s Board of Governors, which comprised the Convener of the Audit Committee, two independent governors and an external member, carried out a full and thorough investigation into this matter.

The investigation panel followed the university’s policy and procedures on disclosures in the public interest and produced a report on its findings. There then followed a chain of events which culminated in the resignation of the University’s Principal and the appointment of his successor.

Throughout these events there was much comment both in the media and from various stakeholders amidst concerns about the governance aspects of decisions being taken. The University and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) separately concluded that a “Lessons Learned” review was necessary; agreed that a joint exercise would be the most effective way to undertake this; and agreed that the exercise should identify:

  • Where internal processes might be improved at RGU.
  • Where improvements might be made to the Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance.

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