Whistleblowing FAQ

 

Someone ‘blows the whistle’ when they tell their employer, a regulator like IMPRESS, the police, or a dedicated whistleblowing charity like Protect, 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.

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 IMPRESS Standards Code.
  • Conduct which encourages others to breach the IMPRESS Standards Code.
  • Other unethical conduct which undermines the principles and spirit of the IMPRESS Standards Code.

Yes. Calls to Protect and IMPRESS will be treated as confidential, except in circumstances where the law requires IMPRESS to disclose information to a public authority. You can contact Protect by calling 0800 221 8548

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.

As a registered legal advice centre, any advice given by Protect is covered by legal professional privilege. This strict duty of confidentiality means that Protect 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.

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.

Protect provides independent and confidential advice to workers. Their advice line is managed by qualified lawyers who provide constructive, practical advice. Please note that Protect 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.

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 by contacting the PRP.

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

Contact the PRP.

 

Useful links                 

Use the IMPRESS whistleblowing service

 

                                           

Further questions about 'whistleblowing' and how you can benefit from it?

Contact IMPRESS confidentially. A member of our staff will be able to assist you:

Call 020 3325 4288

Write at whistleblowing@impress.press

Or fill out the whistleblowing online form.