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Internal Disclosures


Where you decide to raise your concerns will have an impact on whether you obtain whistleblowing protection under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). Where you go with your concerns will determine the legal tests that you need to satisfy. As a blanket rule, the further away from your organisation you go, the harder it is to qualify for protection.

Broadly, there are three places where you can raise your concerns and be protected:

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    Your employer or a relevant responsible person
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    A regulator on the “Prescribed Persons” list
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    Any one else i.e. a wider disclosure

On this page, we will look at disclosures to your employer or a relevant responsible person i.e. an internal disclosure. To learn about making an external disclosure (i.e. a disclosure to anyone who is not your employer or a responsible person), please click on the button to find out more.

I want to raise my concerns to my employer

The easiest way to qualify for protection is to raise your concerns internally to your employer.

If you do decide to raise your concerns to your employer, to qualify for protection under PIDA you must demonstrate that you made a ‘qualifying disclosure’. This means that, when you raised your concern, you:

  1. Provided information of a wrongdoing
  2. In your reasonable belief, that wrongdoing falls in a category or wrongdoing set
    out in the law
  3. You have a reasonable belief that the concern is in the public interest

You can find out more about these requirements on our PIDA page by clicking on the button to the right.

But what does it mean to disclose your concern to an employer or responsible person?
Expand the boxes below to find out more.

What does this mean?  

This means that you can make a disclosure to any person that is senior to you within the workplace; who has been expressly or implicitly authorised by your employer as having management responsibilities over you. For example, your line manager or a senior manager.

What does this mean?

If you reasonably believe that someone other than your employer bears sole or primary responsibility for the malpractice in question, then a disclosure to that other person may also qualify for protection. For example, if you are:

  • A nurse employed by an agency who, in the care home where you work, raise a concern about malpractice with the management of that care home.
  • A worker in an auditing firm who raises a concern with a client.
  • Someone who works for a highway contractor, who raises a concern with the local authority that the performance of the contract exposes the authority to negligence claims from injured pedestrians.

What does this mean?

A disclosure to a non-employer can include:

  • health and safety representative
  • a retired non-executive director
  • its lawyers or external auditors
  • a commercial reporting hotline

These disclosures are deemed to be made to your employer in circumstances where you follow a procedure that has been authorised by your employer, e.g., the relevant contact is listed in the whistleblowing policy.

If you want advice on how or whether to raise your whistleblowing concerns internally, how to escalate your concerns internally or whether it is likely to be protected under UK whistleblowing law, please contact our Advice Line for help.