OG 407 Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

Last reviewed:
23 September 2010
Last updated:
29 October 2014

Policy Statement/Overview

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (the Act) provides protection to 'workers' making disclosures in the public interest. A 'worker', to be provided with protection under the Act, must make a 'protected disclosure' in 'good faith' to an employer, legal adviser, prescribed person (which includes the Charity Commission) or other appropriate person. You can find more background information about the Act in section E of this guidance under the Legal/Policy/Accountancy Framework tab.

Matters which a worker may properly disclose to us under the protection of the legislation and fall within the area of our operation are matters which we would normally expect to be contacted about in the usual course of our work. In practice, unless we are told that the disclosure is being made under the Act, we would have no way of knowing that the worker making the disclosure is seeking its protection. Staff who receive disclosures that fall within the Commission's remit of consideration should deal with them in the normal way. For example, if the case would normally be referred to IME for consideration, then that course of action should be followed as usual.

Summary of the guidance

This guidance gives a brief overview of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 and its relevance to the Commission staff in terms of:

  • receiving disclosures;
  • how we should treat such disclosures made to us, including our role as a 'prescribed person'; and
  • making disclosures.

OG Contents (Site map)

Casework Guidance

B1 Some important references

This OG deals with the protection for workers making disclosures introduced by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Act mainly takes the form of amendments to the Employment Rights Act 1996 so the relevant provisions are actually in the 1996 Act. Throughout this guidance the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 is referred to as:

  • 'the Act'; or
  • 'this Act'; or
  • 'PIDA 1998',

and the Employment Rights Act 1996 is referred to as:

  • 'the 1996 Act'.

 

 

B2 What is the Act about?

B2.1 What's the purpose of the Act?

This Act is designed to protect workers from detrimental treatment or victimisation from their employer if, in the public interest, they 'blow the whistle' on wrongdoing. It makes provisions about:

  • the types of disclosure that may be 'qualified disclosures';
  • the circumstances in which such disclosures are 'protected disclosures';
  • the people who may benefit from the protection afforded by the Act; and
  • how such a disclosure may be made.

 

B2.2 Disclosures required by statute

PIDA 1998 extends to disclosures required by statute. Whilst the Act is not likely to be relevant to the statutory whistleblowing duties of charity auditors and independent examiners (because they are not likely to be 'workers'), people who supply information to us in accordance with our other statutory information gathering powers may be protected.

look_elsewhereYou can read about the requirements on auditors to disclose certain information to us, should they find irregularities during the course of the external scrutiny of accounts, in our guidance to auditors/examiners - CC 32 Independent Examination of Charity Accounts: Examiner's Guide.

 

  

B2.3 How does the Act give protection?

Provisions in the Act protect workers from action taken or which may be taken by their employer - for example, unfair dismissal or detriment - for more information on this see section E1.3 under the Legal/Policy/Accountancy Framework tab.

You can find more background information to the legislation and definitions of various terms in the Legal/Policy/Accountancy Framework tab.

 

 

B2.4 Witnesses (Public Inquiries) Protection Act 1892  

Whistleblowers who are not protected by PIDA 1998 may be protected by the Witnesses (Public Inquiries) Protection Act 1892. This only applies to information supplied to us in a section 8 inquiry but, subject to that, its protection extends to people whether they are 'workers' or not, and the only condition is that the information should have been supplied to us in good faith.

The 1892 Act makes it a criminal offence to victimise any person who has in good faith supplied inquiry information to us, but anyone convicted of the offence can also be ordered to pay compensation to the victim for the loss which he or she has suffered.

 

 

B3 How does this apply to the Charity Commission?

B3.1 The Charity Commission as a prescribed person

  • The Charity Commission is a prescribed person and charity employees may make disclosures to us in respect of:
    • the proper administration of charities and of funds given or held for charitable purposes.

We should be prepared to receive disclosures from workers employed by charities or those not employed but still working under a contract.

  • An alternative route by which we may receive disclosures is where a claimant has lodged a claim with the employment tribunal and has given consent for the claim to be referred to a relevant regulator/prescribed person.
    • The claimant can do this by ticking the appropriate box on form ET1 - the form that initiates a claim at the employment tribunal - and stating the relevant regulator.
    • This allows the substance of allegations giving rise to PIDA claims to be forwarded so that they can be investigated as the prescribed person thinks appropriate. It may be appropriate for the Tribunals Service to send extracts rather than the whole ET1 where there are sensitive issues in the entire claim.
    • There is no overriding obligation on us to take particular actions just because the allegations have been brought to our attention by this route.
    • Even if the claimant does not tick the box on their claim form, he or she can still approach us at any time - not 'ticking the box' does not mean the claimant loses their right to make a whistleblowing claim.

 

 

B3.2 When is a disclosure to us a protected disclosure?

When making a qualifying disclosure to us as a prescribed person, the worker will be protected if he or she:

  • makes the disclosure in good faith;
  • reasonably believes that the information and any allegations it contains are substantially true;
  • reasonably believes that the matters fall within the description of matters for which the Commission is prescribed.

 

B4 Our response to disclosures

B4.1 What should our response be to a worker proposing to make a disclosure?

It is in our interests as a regulatory body to encourage people to tell us of genuine concerns about the administration of charities.

  • If we are approached by a worker who wishes to make a disclosure but is concerned whether he or she will be protected by the Act if he or she does so, we can explain that:
    • we are, under The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014, a prescribed person for matters relating to the proper administration of charities and of funds given or held for charitable purposes; and
    • misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities involves the breach of a legal obligation as mentioned in section 43B(1)(b) of the 1996 Act.
  • This means that the worker will, in making the disclosure, be protected from detriment by the Act if:
    • he or she reasonably believes that the information is true and that it shows that there has been some misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of a charity; and
    • the disclosure is made in good faith, ie the worker should be genuinely concerned to protect the interests of the charity, and not have some selfish purpose of his or her own, such as a desire to protect himself/herself from the consequences of his or her own misconduct.
  • We should not assure the worker that he or she will in fact be protected under the Act. This is because we will not be in a position to judge whether or not the conditions for protection, which are set out in the Act, are satisfied.

 

 

B4.2 Treatment of disclosures

In the normal course of our work we receive disclosures or information from the public. These include disclosures from workers. All disclosures should be treated alike, whether from a worker or from a member of the public.

The Act does provide a greater degree of protection than under previous legislation and this may encourage more workers with information about wrongdoing to come forward. It is important that we handle all disclosers and charities alike.

See section B6.1 below for more detail.

 

B5 What if Commission staff want to make a disclosure about the Commission?

look_elsewhereThe protection afforded by the Act applies to employees of the Charity Commission. We have in place a 'whistleblowing' procedure. 

(This is not to be confused with the Commission's internal grievance procedure.)

 

B6 Our response as a prescribed person and how we deal with disclosures

B6.1 How should we deal with disclosures?

Matters which a worker may properly disclose to us fall within the area of our operation and are matters which we would normally expect to be contacted about in the usual course of our work. Disclosures may be a potential source of cases for either Operations Teams or IME.

  • The Act's protection is automatically invoked when a qualifying disclosure is made in the way the Act describes. This is the case whether or not the worker making the disclosure tells us of his or her intention to seek to claim the protection of the Act. The Act does not require us to consider or judge whether a disclosure qualifies for the protection of the Act. Our role is to consider the matters disclosed to us.
  • In practice, unless we are told that the disclosure is being made under the Act, we would have no way of knowing that the worker making the disclosure is seeking its protection. Staff who receive disclosures that fall within the Commission's remit of consideration should deal with them in the normal way. For example, if the case would normally be referred to staff who would investigate the case, then that course of action should be followed as usual.
  • Staff should also consider, as a matter of routine, whether the case calls for some input from a different agency. We should deal with matters which a worker may properly disclose to us as a prescribed person under the Act. However, in cases which fall outside our remit, staff should consider whether there is another agency to which it would be better to refer the worker making the disclosure. Even if we do deal with matters properly disclosed to us and falling within our remit, staff should also consider whether another agency should be advised or consulted with a view to working collaboratively on a particular disclosure.
    • If caseworkers feel that a referral to us from the employment tribunal after a claimant has ticked the relevant box on form ET1 has been made incorrectly and ought to have been referred to a different prescribed person, the caseworker should refer back to the employment tribunal.
  • consultThe Head of First Contact has responsibility for acting as the reporting officer for cases of whistleblowing under the Act. All disclosures received by case workers should be reported to him/her so we can keep statistics of how many disclosures are made to us.

 

 

B6.2 When should we consider using section 47 or 52 powers compulsorily to gather information?

We may become aware, as a result of discussions with the whistleblower, that a worker has information which is relevant to our regulatory functions but which he or she is not prepared to disclose. We may already know enough about the issue to enable us, in these circumstances, to give a direction under section 47 or, if an inquiry has not been opened, to make an order under section 52 to require disclosure. Nevertheless, this is a sensitive point on which we need to balance the likely importance of the information being withheld against the adverse impact on whistleblowing generally in this sort of response.

lawyer_referYou must refer for legal advice if you are contemplating action under section 47 or section 52 in these circumstances.

 

 

 

B7 What other scenarios might present themselves in the event of a worker making a disclosure to us?

We have put together a series of questions and answers for situations that might arise. Go to the Q & A tab for more information.

Case Studies

D1 Azmi v Orbis Charitable Trust (2000)

D1.1 Background

Orbis was the UK fundraising part of a US based international charity.

D1.2 The disclosures

Shortly after joining as the resource director, Azmi raised concerns internally about breaches of charity law and circular funding. Azmi also knew that her predecessor had recently sent similar concerns to the Charity Commission.

D1.3 Detriment

On the day the Charity Commission made a formal request for information, Azmi was told she had failed her probation. Orbis claimed the reason was Azmi's poor performance.

D1.4 The outcome

The Employment Tribunal rejected Orbis' claim of Azmi's poor performance as Azmi had only just been appointed company secretary and had recently been taken to the US to meet the parent body. Azmi won and was granted an award.

Legal/Policy/Accountancy Framework 

E1 What do the different terms mean? Some definitions

E1.1 The definition of a worker, as set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996

This means an individual who works or worked under:

  • a contract of employment; or
  • any other contract, either express (orally or in writing) or implied, whereby the individual undertakes work or services personally for another party to the contract whose status is not that of a client or customer to the business or profession carried on by the individual. (That is those who undertake to perform work or services personally, those who are not entitled to use sub-contractors to do it for them and are not providing work or services in the course of a profession or business.) 

This meaning is now extended to include:

  • quasi-employees (those who are not genuinely self-employed such as construction workers on a building site);
  • agency contract staff;
  • prison officers;
  • Crown servants;
  • mariners;
  • homeworkers;
  • trainees and those on work experience other than under a contract or on a course run by an educational establishment; and
  • NHS doctors, dentists, opthalmists and pharmacists providing services in accordance with arrangements made by a Health Authority under section 29, 35, 38 or 41 of the National Health Service Act 1997 or the equivalent sections under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978.

The Act does not apply to:

  • self-employed professionals (such as accountants, non-executive directors or those in business genuinely on their own account);
  • voluntary workers (this would include unpaid charity trustees and also charity volunteers); and
  • members of the armed forces.

 

Paid charity trustees may not be 'workers'. A trustee whose right to payment derives directly from the charity's governing document would not be a worker, because his/her rights do not derive from a contract.

  • For example, a charging clause which gives the trustee a right to charge and be paid for all professional and other services would not make this trustee a worker for the purposes of the Act.

There is nothing in the Act which would bring this sort of non-contractual relationship within the scope of the legislation.

 

But where a contract has been arranged with someone, where that contract is authorised by the governing document or by us or by sections of the Charities Act, that may have the effect of making the person a 'worker'. So, for example:

  • a stockbroker trustee who is engaged to sell some shares on behalf of the charity would not be a 'worker'; but
  • a trustee who is employed full-time on the business of the charity would be.

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E1.2 Qualifying disclosure

In relation to any organisation workers can make disclosures about certain kinds of matter which it is in the public interest to have disclosed in the knowledge that the law protects them from unfair treatment by their employer.

A qualifying disclosure is a disclosure of information which the worker reasonably believes tends to show one or more of the following is either happening now, took place in the past or is likely to happen in the future:

  • a criminal offence;
  • a breach of legal obligation;
  • a miscarriage of justice;
  • a danger to the health or safety of an individual;
  • damage to the environment;
  • deliberate concealment of information tending to show any of the above five matters.

In making the disclosure the worker must have a reasonable belief that the information he or she is disclosing shows one or more of the matters listed above (a 'relative failure'). The worker must show that;

  • he or she held that belief; and
  • it was reasonable to do so in the circumstances at the time of the disclosure;

even though it may be that the belief was unfounded and it might be discovered subsequently that the worker was wrong.

Under section 43B(2) protection can be sought even if the relevant failure took place overseas or where the law applying to the relevant failure was not that of the United Kingdom 

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E1.3 Protection - from what?

Provisions in the Act protect workers from:

  • Detriment - this may include, for example:
    • denial of promotion or facilities;
    • withdrawal or denial of training opportunities which would otherwise have been offered by the employer.
  • Dismissal:
    • If an employee has been unfairly dismissed as a result of making a protected disclosure, he or she may present a complaint to an employment tribunal. If the case is upheld the employee may:
      • be reinstated or re-engaged; or
      • receive compensation; or
      • both.
    • Workers who are not employees may not make a claim for unfair dismissal. However, in the circumstance where a worker's contract has been terminated by the employer as a result of the disclosure, they may instead make a complaint that they have been subjected to a detriment. Compensation may be awarded in such a case.
  • Non-disclosure clause in contracts
    • The Act makes void any clause in any agreement between a worker and an employer which is designed to restrain the worker from making a protected disclosure.

 

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E1.4 Disclosures not protected by the Act

A worker would not be protected if:

  • in making the disclosure the worker commits a criminal offence - under section 43B(3), if, in making the disclosure of information, the worker commits an offence, for example he or she breaks the Official Secrets Act 1989, the disclosure does not qualify for protection;
  • the disclosure is made by a legal adviser when the information is subject to legal professional privilege.
    • The situation may arise where a worker makes a qualifying disclosure which is protected by virtue of the person to whom the disclosure is made and circumstances in which it is made. In a rare case the person to whom the disclosure was made might subsequently reveal the same information to another body. It is up to that third party to take legal advice as to whether this second disclosure is protected under the provisions of the Act or not.
    • For example, a worker may make a disclosure to a legal adviser in the course of seeking advice about the disclosure. If all the conditions for it to be a qualifying disclosure are satisfied then that disclosure will stand as a qualifying disclosure. However, if the legal adviser, or even one of the staff in the legal adviser's office, discloses this information then they would not be protected.
    • This is dealt with under section 43B(4) that states, 'A disclosure of information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege (or, in Scotland, to confidentiality as between client and professional legal adviser) could be maintained in legal proceedings is not a qualifying disclosure if it is made by a person to whom the information had been disclosed in the course of obtaining legal advice.'

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E1.5 Amendments since the inception of the Act

On 6 April 2010 the new employment tribunal rules were introduced - Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure (Amendment))Regulations 2010 ('Regulations'). Under these Regulations, employment tribunals have the power to forward the whole or extracts of the tribunal claim form (ET1) to the relevant regulator if they contain allegations of whistleblowing. Regulators include the Charity Commission, amongst other agencies. It will therefore be for the regulator to determine whether the allegations merit further investigation. The ET1 has been amended so that the claimant can tick a box to give consent to the tribunal to pass details of the claim to the regulator. Where the claimant does not consent and has not ticked the box, the details of the claim will not be forwarded. See also section B3.1 under the Casework Guidance tab.

 

E2 To whom can the employee or worker make the disclosure?

There are various persons to whom an employee or worker can make a disclosure including. 

  • the employer or other responsible person;
  • a 'prescribed person';
  • other persons - including a legal adviser, a Government Minister or even the media.

However there are certain requirements and specifications regarding to whom and how the disclosure should be made.

 

E2.1 The employer or responsible person

  • A qualifying disclosure will be protected under the provisions introduced through PIDA 1998 where it is made:
    • to the worker's employer, either directly to the employer or through procedures set up be the employer for that purpose; or
    • to another person where the worker reasonably believes the relevant failure to relate solely or mainly to the conduct of that person or to any other matter for which that person has legal responsibility.
    • The worker must make the disclosure in good faith.
  • Making the disclosure to his or her employer or to another person within the organisation where the worker believes the failure relates solely to that person or to any matter for which that person has legal responsibility may often ensure the matter is dealt with quickly and by the person who is well placed to resolve the problem.
    • However, this may not always be possible if the worker reasonably believes that as a result of raising the issue he or she may be subject to detriment.
    • There is no requirement in the Act for the worker to make the disclosure in the first instance to their employer although the question whether the disclosure was first made to the employer may be relevant when deciding whether a disclosure to another party, such as the media or another non-prescribed regulator, qualifies for protection.
  • The worker is not confined to disclosing information to his or her employer or employer's authorised person about relevant failures in which the employer is implicated. But if the worker discloses information to anyone else, and only the good faith condition is satisfied in relation to the qualifying disclosure, then that other person must be implicated in the relevant failure.

For the Commission's part, as an employer, there is already an internal policy in place to deal with such situations.  

 

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E2.2 Specially appointed bodies - 'prescribed persons'

Disclosure may be made to one of the 'prescribed persons'. This is a person or body prescribed by the Secretary of State under The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 for the purpose of receiving such disclosures. Attached as a schedule to the Statutory Instrument is a list of the prescribed bodies and the matters which can properly be brought to the attention of these bodies.

look_elsewhereYou can find this list on the Legislation.gov.uk website

 

  • Disclosures to prescribed persons generally will be protected provided the worker:
    • makes the disclosure in good faith;
    • reasonably believes the information and any allegation it contains are substantially true; and
    • reasonably believes the matter falls within the matters for which the person or body has been prescribed. (For example, health and safety matters can be brought to the attention of the Health and Safety Executive or appropriate local authority.)
  • The Charity Commission is a prescribed person and in our case disclosures may be made in respect of:

'The proper administration of charities and of funds given or held for charitable purposes'

To find out what this means for the Commission, follow this link to section B6 under the Casework Guidance tab

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E2.3 Other persons

Under section 43D a qualifying disclosure will be a protected disclosure if it is made by a worker in the course of seeking legal advice, eg to his or her solicitor. This term includes:

  • a legal adviser in the course of obtaining legal advice;
  • a Government Minister (either directly or through department officials), when made in good faith by a worker employed by an individual or body who is, or any of whose members are, appointed under an enactment by a Minister.

 

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E2.4 Disclosures in other cases

A qualifying disclosure will be a protected disclosure, even if it is not made to any of the people listed in the categories above, if the following conditions are met. 

  • Firstly the worker must:
    • make the disclosure in good faith;
    • reasonably believe that the information, and any allegations contained in it, are substantially true;
    • not act for personal gain.
  • In addition, one of more of the following conditions must be met:
    • the worker reasonably believed that he or she would be subjected to a detriment by his or her employer if disclosure were made to the employer or to a prescribed person;
    • in the absence of an appropriate prescribed person, the worker reasonably believed that disclosure to the employer would result in the destruction or concealment of information about the wrongdoing;
    • the worker had previously disclosed substantially the same information to his employer or to a prescribed person (this includes the situation where the information also now extends to include information about action taken or not taken by that person as a result of the previous disclosure).
  • Finally, it must be reasonable for the worker to make the disclosure. The employment tribunal will decide whether the worker acted reasonably, in all circumstances, but in particular will take into account:
    • the identity of the person to whom the disclosure was made (for example, it may be more likely considered reasonable if the disclosure were made to a professional body that has responsibility for standards and conduct in a particular field, such as accountancy, medicine or health and safety, than to the media);
    • the seriousness of the relevant failure;
    • whether the relevant failure is continuing or is likely to occur in the future;
    • whether the disclosure is made in breach of a duty of confidentiality owed by an employer to any other person (for example, the information made available by the worker in his or her disclosure may contain personal details about a client);
    • where disclosure was made previously to the employer or prescribed person, what action has or might reasonably be expected to have been taken; and
    • where a disclosure was made previously to the employer, whether the worker complied with any internal procedures for disclosure.

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E3 What if it is an exceptionally serious failure?

Different rules apply to protect qualifying disclosures where the relevant failure is of an exceptionally serious nature. The failure has to be, as a matter of fact, an exceptionally serious failure if the disclosure is to qualify for protection for people who are workers for the purpose of PIDA 1998 (that is Part IVA lf the 1996 Act).

A worker may believe a situation to be so serious that they are justified in making the disclosure directly to either the media or another body not in the list of prescribed person. They need to consider carefully to whom they make their disclosure as it will be taken into consideration whether it was reasonable for the worker to make the disclosure in this way.

  • A qualifying disclosure made about an exceptionally serious failure will be a protected disclosure if the worker:
    • makes the disclosure in good faith;
    • reasonably believes that the information disclosed, and any allegations contained in it. are substantially true;
    • does not make the disclosure for personal gain;
    and:
    • the relevant failure is of an exceptionally serious nature; and
    • in all circumstances of the case it is reasonable for the worker to make the disclosure. (In this last point, the identity of the person to whom the disclosure is made will, in particular, be taken into account when considering whether the disclosure is reasonable.)

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Q & A

F1 What action should we take if the worker makes the disclosure and then approaches us expressing some concern as regards the risk of victimisation? 

Answer: We should send out a letter/email along the lines set out in the model letter

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F2 What action should be taken if a worker who has made a disclosure to us, and who is threatened as a result by the charity trustees with a disadvantage prohibited by the Act, invites us to exert pressure on the trustees to withdraw the threat?

Answer: Whilst we cannot ourselves determine whether the disclosure is protected, we are likely in practice to have been able to form some sort of view on this from the nature of the information supplied and the circumstances in which it was supplied. We would need to consider the circumstances and what would be a proportionate and reasonable response in each case. If the charity trustees are threatening a worker who has made a protected disclosure with a prohibited disadvantage, there may be a possibility that there has been maladministration, even if any allegation, explicit or implicit, in the disclosure is subsequently shown to have been unfounded. Unless information disclosed was clearly scurrilous, it may be right for us at least to put the worker's complaint to the trustees.

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F3 What action should we take if the worker wants to enforce his or her rights under the Act, and seeks advice from us?

Answer: We cannot state whether the disclosure which is or is to be made is protected by the Act because we are not in a position to judge whether all the conditions for protection are satisfied. We should say that this is a matter for the worker's own legal advisers, though, of course, our own evidence about the relevance and value of the disclosure may be material to the outcome of the dispute.

For assistance in how a worker may pursue a possible claim, we should direct him or her to the Public Concern At Work website - www.pcaw.co.uk.

look_elsewhereAlternatively they may contact PCAW at:

 

3rd Floor, Bank Chambers 
6 - 10 Borough High Street 
London 
SE1 9QQ 

or by telephoning on 020 7404 6609 

or for enquiries by email at whistle@pcaw.co.uk

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F4 What action should we take if the worker is successful in obtaining a payment under the 1996 Act, whether as the result of an Order of the tribunal or on a compromise? What enquiries should we make? What action should be taken against the trustees who are responsible for applying the prohibited disadvantage?

Answer: If charity trustees really have victimised a worker who has made a protected disclosure, then we will need to consider the circumstances of the case and decide what would be a proportionate and reasonable response to see whether or not there has been misconduct or mismanagement. If this did prove to be the case, they could hardly claim to be indemnified out of the charity's assets for any financial liability which results. No doubt there will be some cases where a dubious claim is made by a worker which the charity trustees compromise simply as the best practical way out of a difficulty. In the same way as other successful claims, we would wish to consider the circumstances of the case and the extent to which any personal liability of the trustees might arise.

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F5 What if an employer asks about the source of disclosures?

Answer: One of the main purposes of PIDA 1998 is to protect employees/workers from suffering any detriment following their making a protected disclosure. It follows then that if an employer asks about the source of a disclosure, this may be a very sensitive issue.

If we were to reveal our sources then the charity employee who had 'blown the whistle' may then be subject to the very detriment from which the Act is seeking to protect him or her.

Witness identity information is exempt both under the open government code of practice and under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It is unlikely in practice that we would be willing, in response to a specific request from the trustees, to disclose the identity of a worker except with his or her consent, or under an Order of the Court.

lawyer_referIf in any other circumstances you are proposing to disclose the identity of the worker to the trustees, then you should obtain legal advice.

 

Our position with regard to the confidentiality of a complainant is set out in CC47 Complaints about charities, and further information is available in OG117.

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Model Letters and Orders

G1 Worker expressing concern regarding risk of victimisation

You expressed concern about the possible repercussions from those for whom you work as a result of disclosing this information to us. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 is designed to protect workers from suffering detriment by their employer and it is possible you may wish to explore whether this Act applies in your case.

In general terms, the Act's provisions are designed to protect workers from action taken or which may be taken by their employer if the worker has 'blown the whistle' on some wrongdoing.

If a worker is dismissed because he or she has made a disclosure which is protected under the Act, that may be treated as unfair dismissal and the worker could apply to an employment tribunal and seek reinstatement or compensation.

Also, if the worker is denied promotion or access to training, for example, as a result of making a disclosure protected under the Act, they too may seek compensation.

We cannot state whether the disclosure which you have made is protected by the Act because we are not in a position to judge whether all the conditions for protection are satisfied. We would suggest that you take legal advice if you are put in a position where you have to consider taking proceedings under the Act.

For further information on the Act or for assistance in how you may pursue a possible claim, you may wish to contact Public Concern At Work. Their website is:

www.pcaw.co.uk

email: whistle@pcaw.co.uk

Alternatively you may contact them at:

CAN Mezzanine 
7-14 Great Dover Street 
London 
SE1 4YR

Telephone 0207 404 6609

 

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