Whistleblowing for employees

Where there is no threat of immediate danger, whistleblowers should protect themselves. Potential whistleblowers should prepare carefully to make a disclosure, making a note of any relevant evidence (for example, record dates, times and the names of any witnesses), seek support and take external advice, possibly from Public Concern at Work (PCaW),  the Whistleblowing Helpline, a voluntary advice service or trade union.

Consider the following whistleblowing do’s and don’ts:

Do:

Don’t:

(Van Den Hende, 2001)

Public Concern at Work (PCaW) is an independent charity that offers support to whistleblowers. The organisation supports both individuals and employers by:

The Whistleblowing Helpline is a free-phone service (08000 724 725) for employees, and organisations working within the NHS and social care sector. It is not a disclosure line; it provides advice and guidance to staff, employers, contractors, unions and professional bodies. This includes:

Legal protection

The law offers some protection to people who blow the whistle under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Act offers protection, from victimisation in employment following a disclosure, to public, private and voluntary sector workers. The parameters of ‘protected disclosure’ are set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA). The person making the disclosure should not commit an offence in doing so (e.g. breach the Official Secrets Act 1989) and must reasonably believe one or more of the following: