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What is a Protected Disclosure in Whistle-blowing?

In this article we explain what is a protected disclosure. We also identify the routes you should take to ensure legislation protects you.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) protects a disclosure that you make. The UK enacted this to protect whistleblowers. It is called a protected disclosure.

Protected disclosure - whistleblowing and risk management

A protected disclosure refers to the act of reporting certain types of wrongdoing or misconduct within an organisation. It protects workers, contractors, and people linked to a company who report important issues that affect the public.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act (or similar in other countries) aims to encourage individuals to come forward. You can report wrongdoing, corruption, health and safety risks, and misconduct without fear of retaliation or negative outcomes. People often refer to these disclosures as “whistleblowing.”

Key points of a protected disclosure include:

Is it an Eligible Concern?

The concern must be about a specific type of wrongdoing or misconduct as defined by the legislation. This might include things like criminal activities, dangers to health and safety, environmental violations, financial malpractice, or abuse of authority.

Is it in the Public Interest?

You must make the disclosure in the public interest. The reported wrongdoing must not only be a personal problem, but it also affects society, public safety, and the organisation’s operations.

How can it be reported?

The channels through which a concern can be made are outlined in PIDA. This could include internal reporting systems within the organisation or external avenues.

These include regulatory bodies or law enforcement agencies. Your PIDA protection can be reduced if you do not report properly.

It is very important for this reason you should report through the correct channels. Frequently businesses have policies that you should follow.

What does PIDA protect you from?

It protects you from retaliation. The aim of PIDA is to protect whistleblowers from adverse consequences or retaliation for making a protected disclosure. This includes protections against being dismissed, demoted, harassed, or discriminated against due to raising the concern.

What if I am retaliated against?

If you face retaliation despite the protections PIDA offers, you may be able to file a compliant and ultimately claim compensation through the courts. It is always good advice to get legal help if you are considering raising a concern.

Am I guaranteed confidentiality?

PIDA includes provisions to protect your identity. During the initial stages of investigation this can help. Should you end up going to court it is likely your identity will become known.

Additionally, it helps the investigation if your identity is known to any investigator trying to resolve the concern you raised.

It’s important to note that the specifics of protected disclosures and the protections provided can vary from one jurisdiction to another.

Different countries might have their own laws that cover whistleblowing and public interest disclosures, each with its own criteria, procedures, and safeguards.

You should always consider getting legal advice. This will help you make the decision on whether to raise the concern or not.

Our software, Aranea, can help you to make a protected disclossure. It protects your identity. It encrypts what information you give to protect it from being hacked.