SEAI Disclosures Policy
This SEAI Disclosures Policy is published on www.seai.ie and is distinct from SEAI’s Protected Disclosures (Whistle-Blowing) Policy and Procedure.
About this policy
The aim of this policy is to encourage individuals who may have concerns about possible improprieties (such as those outlined below), in connection with programmes administered by SEAI or other functions performed by SEAI, to contact SEAI. This invitation applies equally to members of the public, homeowners, beneficiaries, applicants, grantees, nominated project contacts or applicant representatives, project co-ordinators, contractors or any other competent person, BER assessors, special advisors or independent consultants, stakeholders, or anyone otherwise involved in or familiar with a programme delivered by SEAI.
The successful delivery of all programmes managed and administered by SEAI relies upon the honest and reasonable participation of all parties involved.
All registered contractors, installers, BER assessors or any other competent persons, special advisors or independent consultants and any other parties involved in a programme should undertake their duties in a competent, professional and honest manner.
What is a concern / disclosure?
Examples of concerns that may warrant disclosure include, but are not limited to, suspected instances of:
- Unlawful or improper use of funds, and/or resources of a public body or any other financial malpractice, impropriety or suspected fraud;
- Improper conduct or unethical behaviour;
- Failure to comply with or breach of the operating rules and/or guidelines of a programme or any attempt to encourage a breach of same or a breach of the terms of contractor/assessor registration;
- Failure to comply with any legal obligations or statutes;
- Danger to the health and safety of an individual;
- Damage to the environment;
- Criminal activity or the commission or committing of an offence; and
- Attempts to deliberately conceal any of the above matters or attempts to induce others to facilitate such actions.
What happens when a disclosure is made?
Our actions may include:
- Consideration of all disclosures which fall within our remit;
- If SEAI deems it to be appropriate, a thorough investigation of the disclosure, to the extent that the information provided/available allows;
- Fully or partially withholding grant payments;
- Imposing sanctions in accordance with our programme rules; and
- Referring a matter to An Garda Síochána in appropriate circumstances.
You will be asked to provide as much detail as possible including the details of names and addresses of all persons and/or properties involved and specifics of the allegations of malpractice or impropriety.
SEAI will consider what steps may be appropriate to take in the circumstances, including whether it is appropriate to investigate any suspected improper conduct. For example, concerns about the quality of work carried out by a contractor may be investigated by the Inspections Unit. SEAI will provide appropriate training to staff to ensure disclosures of relevant concerns are addressed in accordance with this policy.
The person making the disclosure is not generally a party to the process of reviewing the disclosure. As such, the person making such a disclosure will not generally be briefed on the outcome of SEAI’s review, other than in circumstances where it is considered that there is a particular reason to do so.
Note: Where an SEAI worker raises a concern or discloses information regarding potential relevant wrongdoing within SEAI that has come to their attention through their work, they may refer to the SEAI Protected Disclosures (Whistle-blowing) Policy and associated Procedure for further guidance. For the purposes of the SEAI Protected Disclosures (Whistle-blowing) Policy and associated Procedure, “workers” include employees, officers, consultants, contractors, interns, trainees, casual workers, agency workers, members of administrative, management or supervisory bodies of SEAI, shareholders, job applicants, individuals who acquire information during pre-contractual negotiations (other than those associated with recruitment) and volunteers.
This Disclosures Policy does not apply to SEAI investigations of complaints or appeals. A complaint is regarded as a written expression of dissatisfaction about SEAI or any third party acting on SEAI’s behalf. An appeal is regarded as a request for review of a decision under any SEAI grant programme. If you have a complaint or appeal, please refer to the SEAI Customer Charter for the SEAI Feedback, Complaints and Appeals Policy (published on www.seai.ie).
Raising a concern
If you wish to raise a concern relevant to this Policy, please contact SEAI directly by:
- Writing to us at Disclosures, SEAI, 3 Park Place, Hatch Street Upper, Dublin 2;
- Calling us at 018082100 or
- Emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A concern may be received as a disclosure under this Disclosures Policy or in another way, for example, a relevant concern about possible improprieties (such as those outlined above) may be raised by an individual by contacting their usual contact within SEAI. If appropriate, this will be dealt with as a disclosure under this Disclosures Policy.
SEAI recognises that the decision to report a concern about suspected instances of impropriety (such as those outlined above) may be difficult. SEAI will make all reasonable efforts to treat concerns raised as confidentially as possible, including to keep the identity of a disclosing individual confidential, commensurate with a fair investigation (should SEAI deem it appropriate to investigate the disclosure).
- To facilitate tracking, when a relevant concern is received outside of the channels outlined in this Disclosures Policy, staff members are requested to forward such correspondence or send details of a concern raised with them to email@example.com;
- Details of the disclosure or concern are reviewed by the Information Compliance Officer and assigned to the appropriate team within SEAI for investigation, if SEAI deems it to be appropriate, in accordance with their normal procedures;
- The actions taken by SEAI will be appropriate to the circumstances. However, SEAI will endeavour to ensure that the following steps are followed and documented in a file in any investigation by SEAI:
- Establish credibility of the concern;
- Identify specifically the conduct that is allegedly or actually contrary to law, SEAI’s rules or terms and conditions or any applicable code of practice or regulation or any other binding rules;
- If the concern is credible and improper conduct is identified, consider whether it is appropriate to seek a response on same from the third party in question; and
- SEAI will consider the third party’s response, if any, together with the file of information collated, and determine the appropriateness of imposing sanctions or penalties on the third party or reporting the matter to the appropriate enforcement agency.
SEAI Register of Disclosures
Disclosures and concerns are tracked on the SEAI Register of Disclosures, which will be maintained by the Information Compliance Officer.
SEAI Records relating to Disclosures
The Information Compliance team will create a folder and provide access to the appropriate team within SEAI if such team is assigned to investigate the disclosure. The investigating team will keep a copy of all records relevant to their investigation in this folder.
Internal Access to SEAI Records relating to Disclosures
Access to disclosure folder(s) will be managed by the Information Compliance Officer. Except for as outlined above, access shall only be provided upon receipt of a written access request from a member of SEAI’s Senior Management Team. Members of SEAI’s Senior Management Team will only request access where there are justifiable grounds for that request.
SEAI reserves the right to withdraw or amend this Disclosures Policy at any time.
 In circumstances of suspected criminal activity or where obliged by law or otherwise to do so, SEAI may decide that it is not appropriate to seek a response from the third party in question and report the matter directly to An Garda Síochána and/or other regulatory bodies.