Protected Disclosures

Background

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 became operational in July 2014. The legislation provides a robust statutory framework to protect workers who wish to raise concerns regarding potential wrongdoing that has come to their attention in the course of their work (whistleblowers). The Act applies to current and former employees, independent contractors, trainees and agency staff.

The Act requires every public body to establish and maintain procedures for dealing with protected disclosures and to provide written information relating to these procedures to workers. This legislation provides protections to whistleblowers who are penalised by their employer or suffer a detriment from a third party on account of raising concerns regarding possible wrongdoing.

DPER Guidance under section 21(1) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 for the purpose of assisting public bodies in the performance of their functions under the Act

The Act sets out a number of ways in which disclosures can be made – for example, to a person’s employer and, in some circumstances, to an external ‘prescribed’ person.

Department of Health Policy and Procedures

The Department of Health is committed to the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability. The Department’s Management Board aims to foster a working environment within which employees feel able to raise concerns relating to potential wrongdoing in the workplace and to provide the necessary support procedures for those who raise such concerns.

The Department has developed a Policy and Procedures for workers in the Department to advise them on the approach to take when seeking to make a protected disclosure under the 2014 Act, or on how to respond on receipt of a disclosure from a body under the aegis of the Department.

Protected Disclosures under the Health Act 2004

Some health service employees may also make protected disclosures under Part 14 of the Health Act 2004 (No.42 of 2004, as amended in 2007).  This legislation covers employees of HSE-funded services e.g., publicly funded residential centres for disabled persons and children’s residential centres.  Employees of private nursing homes may report their concerns to the Chief Inspector of Social Services.  Employees of private mental health facilities may report their concerns to the Inspector of Mental Health Services or the Mental Health Commission. “Employee” includes agency workers and people on placement for vocational training.

Annual Report of the Department of Health for 2016 (in accordance with Section 22 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014)

Annual Report of the Department of Health for 2015 (in accordance with Section 22 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014)