The Whistleblowing Process
What should I do?
This part of the Whistleblowing Policy explains the stages you will follow when making a protected disclosure.
Making a Disclosure
We recognise that the decision to report a concern is not an easy one to make, not least because of the fear of reprisal from those being reported or other colleagues.
Support for you
You may discuss your concern with a work colleague who may also have knowledge of the matters you wish to raise, and you may consider making a joint disclosure. The earlier you express your concerns, the easier it will be to take action.
At all stages of the procedure you have the right, if you so wish, to be accompanied by a trade union/staff association representative or a work colleague.
You may also wish to access independent support and information from a Contact Officers. Information can be found on the Office of Human Resources website
Support is also available from the bodies listed at Annex D.
Reporting your concerns – who should I tell?
In the first instance, you are encouraged to raise your concern with your line manager but if you do not feel able to raise this with your line manager you should report your concerns to one of the following people or bodies:
- the Whistleblowing Officer within your Department, Division, Board or Office (see below),
- Your Chief Executive/Chief Officer,
- Audit Advisory Division Confidential Reporting (Tel. 686546) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org,
- The Public Services Commission (Tel. 685725) or email to Complaints.PSC@gov.im,
- A prescribed person: Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2021.
If the concern involves your Designated Whistleblowing Officer, the matter should be reported to the Chief Executive/Chief Officer who will appoint an alternative Designated Whistleblowing Officer. If the concern involves the Chief Executive/Chief Officer, then you should report your concerns to any of the persons described at parts (c) to (e) above, as appropriate. You may also refer your concerns to these persons if you would prefer to raise the matters with someone outside your Department, Board or Office.
There are Whistleblowing Officers in every Department, Board and Office across Government. This is a senior officer that the organisation designates to receive whistleblowing complaints.
A list of the Whistleblowing Officers is at Annex C and can also be found on the OHR website.
Describing your concerns
A concern which is being be reported under this policy must relate to a criminal offence, a failure to comply with legal obligations, a miscarriage of justice, health and safety failures, environmental damage or concealing information about any of these matters.
If you are unsure whether your concerns relate to the matters described above, you should use your judgment as to whether to take action under this policy and note that if you do it may not be regarded as a protected disclosure.
If you are unsure, you can seek advice from any of the people or bodies listed at Annex D. If your concerns relate to issues outside the scope of this policy you will be advised of this.
Concerns can be raised verbally or in writing and as much information as possible should be given, including:
- the background and general information about the concern,
- the name(s) of the individual(s) involved,
- details of dates and places where the events that have led, or you think are likely to lead to the concern,
- the reasons why you are concerned and making the disclosure.
You will need to show to the person contacted that there are grounds for your concern, but you are not expected to prove the truth of an allegation.
Wherever possible, you should provide factual information in your disclosure. For example, “the wards have not been cleaned for the past two weeks and sharps have been left lying around” rather than a general or broad allegation like “the hospital is not complying with health and safety requirements.” This will help the Designated Manager to take appropriate action.
What happens once I have made a disclosure?
The person who you raised your concern with will manage your concern through this process or if this is not possible, they will arrange for another appropriate person to do so. The person who manages your concern is referred to as the Designated Manager.
The Designated Manager will arrange an initial confidential discussion with you to discuss the matter as soon as possible. This may be in person, by video conferencing or by telephone.
It is at this stage that you will be asked if you are content for your identity to be disclosed during the investigation and if not, you will be advised of the confidentiality provisions of this policy.
You will be reassured about protection from possible reprisals or victimisation.
In either case, a brief summary of the interview will be recorded, which will be agreed by both you and the Designated Manager and a copy given to you for your records.
Guidance setting out the role of the Designated Manager can be found on the Office of Human Resources website.
Any investigation will be undertaken by suitably trained investigators who have had no prior involvement in the case. The action taken will depend upon the nature of the concern and may:
- be investigated internally by management,
- be referred for specialist advice (e.g. to the Attorney General’s Office),
- be referred to the Police,
- be referred to the Director, Audit Advisory Division, Treasury
- form the subject of an independent investigation,
- be subject to any combination of the above.
The Designated Manager will write to you to:
- within 10 days to formally acknowledge that the disclosure has been received,
- indicate how the matter will be dealt with,
- advise you prior to any initial enquiries being made,
- advise whether further investigations are likely to take place and if not, why not,
- give an estimate of how long it will take to give you a final response, and a commitment to provide progress updates on at least a monthly basis.
The Designated Manager will take steps to help you, to minimise any difficulties which you may experience as a result of raising a concern.
If an investigation leads to criminal or civil proceedings, any information or evidence gathered as part of the investigation, even if it is not subsequently used in the proceedings, may be disclosed as part of the legal obligations of the parties, unless protection is available due to public interest, or other such protection by way of a restraint or injunction which could be granted by the Court.
If you are required to give evidence in criminal or disciplinary proceedings, the Designated Manager will arrange for you to receive advice about such procedures.
Outcome of Formal Procedure
Where an investigation has taken place, the Designated Manager will arrange for an investigation report that:
- outlines the complaint,
- details the investigation process,
- gives the outcome of the investigation,
- details recommendations where appropriate.
The report will be referred to Chief Executive/Chief Officer of the relevant Department, Board or Office (or other appropriate person such as the Chief Secretary or Public Services Commission) to consider and determine what further action is required. Should the outcome result in a disciplinary allegation, the report will be referred to any subsequent and separate disciplinary investigation.
Whilst you will not be given a copy of the full investigation report, we respect your input and will ensure that you are kept as fully informed as possible, so that you can be satisfied that the matter is being properly addressed. Therefore, subject to any legal or other constraints, you will be informed about the investigation and its outcome. However, should the outcome lead to disciplinary proceedings you will not be informed about a disciplinary process in respect of another employee
What if my concern is not confirmed?
If your concerns are made in good faith but cannot be confirmed by an investigation, no action will be taken against you.
However, if you raise a matter you know to be false and/or where you commit or attempt to commit a criminal offence contrary to the Employment Act 2006, the Official Secrets Act 1911 (an Act of Parliament) or the Bribery Act 2013, appropriate action may be taken against you.
What if I am dissatisfied with the outcome?
If you are a serving employee or worker then you can raise a Grievance through using the Grievance Procedure as per your terms and conditions or another relevant complaints procedure.
If you are not a current employee or worker then you can raise a complaint with the Tynwald Commissioner for Administration.
Normalising the Work Situation Following a Whistleblowing Investigation
At this point, consideration must be given to how the parties may be reconciled to work together effectively in future. Options to assist resolution include Mediation or facilitated meetings.
This could include Mediation or Facilitated Meetings with OHR to ensure that professional working relationships can be restored.
The legislation that relates to Protected Disclosures can be found at Annex E.
The Isle of Man Government will not tolerate harassment or victimisation from members of staff and will take appropriate action, including the application of disciplinary procedures, to protect you where you make a disclosure in good faith.