Introduction to this document

Letter notifying outcome of whistleblowing disclosure

If a worker has made a protected disclosure under your whistleblowing policy, you should inform them of the outcome of your investigation and give an indication of any actions that you’ll now be taking in response.

Making a protected disclosure

Our Whistleblowing Policy sets out a procedure for workers to make a protected disclosure which you’ll then investigate. Sometimes, employees may alternatively make a protected disclosure under your grievance procedure, as it’s not always easy for people to recognise whether an issue involves whistleblowing or not. If an employee has invoked your grievance procedure, don’t get bogged down in the technicalities of whether the grievance is a protected disclosure or not. Rather, consider whether it might fall into one of the six categories of protected disclosure set out in our whistleblowing policy, e.g. a criminal offence or breach of a legal obligation, and whether there’s a potentially wider public interest angle to it. If you believe it may be covered by the whistleblowing provisions, invoke your whistleblowing policy. Otherwise, stick with your grievance procedure. It doesn’t really matter though which procedure you use as long as you investigate and deal with the matter properly.

The disclosure procedure

Our policy provides that, once your investigation has been completed, you’ll inform the worker in writing of the outcome as soon as possible, and that you’re committed to taking appropriate action on all disclosures which are upheld. This is where our Letter Notifying Outcome of Whistleblowing Disclosure comes in. It sets out three potential outcomes. The first is that you don’t accept the worker’s disclosure as valid so, in this case, our letter states that won’t be taking any action in response to it. The second is that you accept the whole of the disclosure as valid, in which case you need to set out what action you’ll be taking, or have already taken, in response to it and our letter enables you to do that. The third is that you accept only part of the disclosure as valid, meaning you should advise the worker what action you’ll be taking, or have already taken, in response to the part that you found to be valid. The action you take here might include reporting the matter to a government department or regulatory agency and/or taking internal disciplinary action against relevant members of staff. Whatever the outcome, best practice dictates that you should also set out the reasons for your decision, so that the worker can understand why you reached the conclusions you did. Our letter enables you to set out those reasons.

Next steps

If the worker is satisfied with the outcome, we’ve provided for them to expressly confirm this by signing and returning a duplicate copy of your letter. However, if they’re dissatisfied because they reasonably believe the information they disclosed to you to be substantially true but feel that you’ve failed to take appropriate action, we’ve set out how they can then report the matter externally to a prescribed person or body, should they wish to do so.