What Is a Whistleblowing Policy?

A whistleblowing policy, also known as a disclosure policy, is a set of compliance rules a company or other organisation type sets down for its staff to mitigate risk and illegal activities.

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the term used when a worker passes on information concerning wrongdoing. In this guidance, we call that “making a disclosure” or “blowing the whistle”. The wrongdoing will typically (although not necessarily) be something they have witnessed at work. To be covered by whistleblowing law, a worker who makes a disclosure must reasonably believe two things.

The first is that they are acting in the public interest. This means that personal grievances and complaints are not usually covered by whistleblowing law.

The second thing that a worker must reasonably believe is that the disclosure tends to show past, present or likely future wrongdoing falling into one or more of the following categories:

  • Criminal offences (this may include, for example, types of financial impropriety such as fraud)
  • Failure to comply with an obligation set out in the law
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • Endangering someone’s health and safety
  • Damage to the environment
  • Covering up wrongdoing in the above categories

What is Whistleblowing Law?

Whistleblowing law is in the Employment Rights Act 1996 (as amended by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998).

It provides the right for a worker to take a case to an employment tribunal if they have been victimised at work or lost their job because they have ‘blown the whistle’.

What Are an Employer’s Responsibilities?

As an employer, it is good practice to create an open, transparent and safe working environment where workers feel able to speak up. Although the law does not require employers to have a whistleblowing policy in place, the existence of a whistleblowing policy shows an employer’s commitment to listening to the concerns of workers.

By having clear policies and procedures for dealing with whistleblowing, an organisation demonstrates that it welcomes information being brought to the attention of management.

Who Can Write a Whistleblowing Policy?

A policy writing company such as Policy Pros is best positioned to gather information on your company, its structure and risks and produce whistleblowing and disclosure policy documentation.

Example contents for a Whistleblowing policy are:

  • Confidentiality
  • Anonymous Allegations
  • Untrue Allegations
  • Procedures for Making a Disclosure
  • Complaints Not Covered
  • Timescales
  • Investigating Procedure

Further Information

Information can be found at: www.acas.org.uk/conciliation and the Acas helpline can provide further advice. The Acas helpline details are:

  • Telephone: 0300 123 1100
  • Textphone: 18001 030 0123 1100 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm Saturday, 9am to 1pm

This page contains information used under the Open Government Licence.