Raising concerns with a regulator. Section 43F of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

Section 43F ERA Disclosure to prescribed person

43F. – (1) A qualifying disclosure is made in accordance with this section if the worker-

(a) makes the disclosure to a person prescribed by an order made by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this section, and

(b) reasonably believes-

  • that the relevant failure falls within any description of matters in respect of which that person is so prescribed, and
  • that the information disclosed, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true.

 (2)  An order prescribing persons for the purposes of this section may specify persons or descriptions of persons, and shall specify the descriptions of matters in respect of which each person, or persons of each description, is or are prescribed.

Explanatory Note

Section 43F protects a worker who makes a qualifying disclosure to a person prescribed by any relevant order made by the Secretary of State.

A list of the prescribed persons for England, Scotland and Wales and for Northern Ireland is available .  In addition anyone can blow the whistle to their MP

Where a regulator has been prescribed, the worker must satisfy two conditions in order for a disclosure (to them) to be protected: first, the worker must reasonably believe that the subject matter of the disclosure properly falls within the remit of that authority; and secondly, the worker must reasonably believe that the information disclosed, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true.  Provided such belief is reasonably held, the worker will not lose protection if he was in fact mistaken.

However, as not all regulators are prescribed for the purpose of s.43F ERA, disclosures to other (non-prescribed) regulators will need to satisfy the provisions in ss.43G or 43H if they are to be protected (as to which, see further below).

If it is not clear whether the matter should be raised internally first, or with a prescribed person, a worker or his adviser may contact the particular regulator informally first.  They may then discuss the nature of the concern and explore what action the regulator considers appropriate, without initially identifying the employer.  If the matter is to be pursued internally, the worker may wish to point out that he has spoken to the regulator.