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Making a disclosure to a prescribed person
The Public Interest Disclosure Act
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) and the Public Interest Disclosure (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 provides the statutory framework for protecting workers from harm if they blow the whistle on their employer.
Under the PIDA, certain organisations, including the Health and Care Professions Council and other regulators, are considered to be ‘prescribed persons’.
Workers can whistleblow about their employers to a ‘prescribed person’ by making what is known as a ‘qualifying disclosure’. For information to be considered a ‘qualifying disclosure’, the worker who made it has to have a reasonable belief that the disclosure was in the public interest and it must be related to an alleged criminal offence; breach of a legal obligation; a miscarriage of justice; danger to the health and safety of any individual; damage to the environment; or covering up any of these things.
What we do when we receive disclosures
Whenever we receive any information which alleges wrongdoing, whether it be from a registrant or from a member of the public, we will always consider whether it is something we can act on.
If your concerns are about an individual registrant, it may be appropriate for us to consider them via our fitness to practise process. If your concerns are about a programme of education and training that we approve, we might need to consider whether a visit to the education provider is required.
If your concerns are not about something which relates to role as a regulator, we will signpost you to the appropriate organisation (another prescribed person) that might be able to take action. For example, if your concerns are about a health and care provider, it might be appropriate for you to get in contact with the Care Quality Commission (England), the Care and Social Services Inspectorate (Wales), Healthcare Improvement Scotland or the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (Northern Ireland).
You can give us information anonymously. However, we would not be able to contact you to ask for more information or to let you know about any action we have taken. Sometimes unless we are able to obtain evidence or information from others sources, it might be that we are unable to act on anonymous concerns. If the disclosure raises an issue that we think another prescribed person might be able to act on, we may pass this on to them.
We will never disclose a worker’s identity without their consent unless there are legal reasons that require us to do so. In order to act on a concern, it is likely we will need to ask for your consent to disclose your identity. For example, if the concern means we need to investigate the fitness to practise of a registrant, we may need to ask you for your consent to disclose your identity to the registrant as part of the investigation process.
If you do give us your contact details, we will always acknowledge your correspondence and let you know what action we are able to take or are taking as a result.
The Government has published some useful information for employees who are thinking about whistleblowing about their employer, including to a prescribed person, and what they should do. You can find information about this on their website.
A list of all the organisations considered to be ‘prescribed persons’ under the PIDA and information about their roles and contact details is downloadable from their website.
Our website also provides information about other organisations, including regulators of other professions and the regulators of health and care services. You can find this in our Media & Events section.