Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers

If you work for a news publication and you believe your employer (editor, line manager or other person) is involved in wrongdoing or is encouraging you or others in your workplace to commit unethical or unlawful practices, and you want to report it confidentially, you can contact our whistleblowing hotline.

What is whistleblowing?

Someone ‘blows the whistle’ when they tell their employer, a regulator like IMPRESS, the police, or a dedicated whistleblowing charity like Public Concern at Work about wrongdoing that they are aware of in their workplace.

IMPRESS is committed to operating a whistleblowing scheme that ensures there is a positive whistleblowing or ‘speak up culture’ for journalists, editors and publishers.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 ('PIDA') protects workers who make certain disclosures of information in the public interest (a 'protected disclosure'), and gives them the right not to be treated adversely as a consequence of making such a disclosure. PIDA is part of employment legislation, specifically, part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Disclosures that count as whistleblowing

You may be protected by law if you make a disclosure where you reasonably believe that your disclosure evidences past, present or likely future wrongdoing that falls into one or more of the following areas:

  • Conduct which is an offence or a breach of the law;
  • conduct which is a breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice;
  • conduct which encourages others to breach the Editor’s Code of Practice; and/or
  • other unethical conduct which undermines the principles and spirit of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

Who can make a disclosure?

Any employee of a news publication can use IMPRESS’s whistleblowing hotline, including an agency contract worker, a self-employed journalist, or a freelance journalist.

REPORT IT:

How do I make a whistleblowing disclosure?

The best way to raise a concern is to do so openly by directly disclosing to your editor or your manager. In circumstances where this is not practical or appropriate, individuals are encouraged to contact the confidential IMPRESS whistleblowing hotline.

  1. Call Public Concern at Work on 0800 221 8548

Our hotline is run by Public Concern at Work (PCaW), the whistleblowing charity. This line is managed by qualified lawyers with a wealth of experience in whistleblowing law and practice. For more information about PCaW’s whistleblowing hotline, please see their website.

They will provide you with independent and confidential advice.

You may ask Public Concern at Work to share information with IMPRESS on your behalf.         

  1. Contact IMPRESS

If, after using the Public Concern at Work hotline, you would like to bring your concerns to IMPRESS, you may contact IMPRESS directly.

There are several ways of contacting IMPRESS where you would like to ask advice or believe you may have a disclosure to make.

  • Call us on 020 3325 4288. The COO of IMPRESS, Ed Procter, is responsible for managing IMPRESS’s whistleblowing scheme.
  • Email us at whistleblowing@impress.press 
  • Write to us at: IMPRESS: The Independent Monitor for the Press CIC,
    16-18 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6AG

If you choose to email or write to us, please include your name, address, telephone number and email address (if you have one). Please provide details of the publisher in question and explain your concerns. One of our team will be in touch to confirm your information and to explain our process to you.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU MAKE A DISCLOSURE

Will my call be treated as confidential?

Yes. Calls to Public Concern at Work and to IMPRESS will be treated as confidential, except in circumstances where the law requires IMPRESS to disclose information to a public authority.

IMPRESS has systems in place to store confidential information in a secure database. IMPRESS is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with data protection requirements for the storage and communication of private information.

Will my employer be notified if I make a disclosure?

As a registered legal advice centre, any advice given by Public Concern at Work is covered by legal professional privilege. This strict duty of confidentiality means that PCaW will not, save in exceptional circumstances provided in law, disclose the identity of a caller to their employer, or to another person, except where the individual consents to this.

IMPRESS will only contact an employer where an individual requests IMPRESS to do so in order to advocate on the individual’s behalf.

Can I make an anonymous call to Public Concern at Work or IMPRESS?

Yes. A caller will always have the option of remaining anonymous.

However, it will always be easier to investigate a concern where a person identifies themselves and/or their employer. We encourage individuals to raise a concern openly or on a confidential basis where they feel comfortable to do so. Where a person does not wish to identify themselves, we will assign a unique reference number to that person and provide them with a single point of contact at IMPRESS to ensure consistency.

What advice will I receive if I call IMPRESS or Public Concern at Work?

PCaW provides independent and confidential advice to workers. Their advice line is managed by qualified lawyers who provide constructive, practical advice. Please note that PCaW does not litigate or represent parties and where callers seek such advice, they are referred on if appropriate. Where a concern appears sufficiently serious, a senior lawyer will reassure the client that the matter can properly be referred to the police or other external authority and advise how this can best be done.

IMPRESS will not provide legal advice, but will advise callers on how best to manage their situation, and may offer referrals to other organisations. IMPRESS may also offer to investigate a concern, with the consent of a worker.

IMPRESS does not have the power to decide whether a disclosure is protected, or to intervene in employment relations, and we cannot provide you with legal advice. Only an employment tribunal can decide after the event whether or not a disclosure was protected under PIDA, and whether it may result in compensation.

Press Recognition Panel's whistleblowing scheme

IMPRESS has been recognised by the Press Recognition Panel (PRP) as a ‘recognised’ regulator in accordance with the Royal Charter on the Self-Regulation of the Press. If you work for IMPRESS, or for a publication that subscribes to IMPRESS, and you have any concerns about the regulator’s on-going compliance with the Charter criteria, you can raise them in confidence through the PRP’s whistleblowing service.

Before contacting the PRP’s whistleblowing service, you should first raise any concerns with the appropriate person within your organisation.

For information on how to make a concern, please see the PRP’s website: http://pressrecognitionpanel.org.uk/whistleblowing-service/