Protected Disclosures of Information by Employees and Workers: Whistleblowing

Whistleblowing - The HSE's Commitment

The HSE is committed to hearing from and responding to concerns raised by employees and workers. Arrangements for dealing with Protected Disclosures, more commonly known as whistle blowing, have been in place in the health sector since 2009 under the provisions of the Health Act 2004 (as amended). The Protected Disclosures Act was  enacted in 2014 and  deals with arrangements for protected disclosures in both the public and private sectors.

There are some differences between these acts.  These differences relate to a number of issues including the definition of a protected disclosure, who can make a disclosure, to whom it can be made, and the nature of the disclosure.

Responsibility for leading the Protected Disclosures process lies with  Governance & Risk, Office of the Chief Strategy Officer.

The contact details for the HSE Authorised Person for Protected Disclosures are as follows:

Post: Office of the Authorised Person, Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin 8, D08 W2A8. Tel: 01 635 2202 *Office hours: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm Monday to Friday E-mail: protected.disclosures@hse.ie

Any queries you may have can be directed in confidence to the Office of the Authorised Person. Protected disclosures forms related to both the Health Act 2004 and the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 are available below

Form to make a Protected Disclosure under the Health Act, 2004

Form to make a Protected Disclosure under the Protected Disclosure Act, 2014

The relevant legislation, regulation and guidance which apply to protected disclosures are outlined hereunder.

Legislation and Guidance (2014 Act)

The legislation including statutory instruments is listed below:

Acts

Statutory Instruments related to the 2014 Act

Procedures and Guidance

Separate procedures/guidance apply to the operation of the two Acts as outlined below.

Procedure and Guidance (2004 Act)

The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate employees to make protected disclosures in good faith where they have reasonable grounds for believing that the health or welfare of patients/clients or the public may be put at risk, or where there is a waste of public funds or legal obligations are not being met so that the matter can be investigated. This procedure was devised to give effect to the legislation on Protected Disclosures of Information as provided for in the Health Act 2004 (as amended by the Health Act 2007). The legislation also provides statutory protection for health service employees from penalisation as a result of making a protected disclosure in good faith in accordance with this procedure.

Procedure and Guidance for 2014 Act

The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate workers to make , in the prescribed manner, protected disclosures of relevant information which in the reasonable belief of the worker tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings and which came to the attention of the worker in connection with the worker’s employment, Disclosures may have retrospective application . Relevant protections as provided in the legislation are also outlined.

Disclosures can be made to a range of individuals and bodies in line with provisions in the Act .This procedure has been developed in line with the requirement in Section 21 of the Act and has also , as required , had  due regard to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER): Guidance for Public Bodies on the Performance of their Functions under section 21(1) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (PDF, gov.ie)

This procedure will be kept under review and amended as required.

Click here to download the HSE procedure for protected disclosures made under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

HSE Protected Disclosures Procedures

Annual Report

Section 22 of the 2014 Act requires every public body to prepare and publish an annual report in relation to protected disclosures received under the provisions of that Act.

Annual reports published to date are as outlined below.