Whistleblowing

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland is a 'prescribed person' under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Act provides protection for employees who pass on information concerning wrongdoing in certain circumstances. The protection only applies where the person who makes the disclosure reasonably believes:

  1. that they are acting in the public interest, which means that protection is not normally given for personal grievances; and
  2. that the disclosure is about one of the following:
    • criminal offences (this includes financial improprieties, such as fraud),
    • failure to comply with duties set out in law,
    • miscarriages of justice,
    • endangering someone's health and safety,
    • damage to the environment, or
    • covering up wrongdoing in any of the above categories.

The complaint can only be accepted by the Commissioner if it relates to the conduct of a councillor or of a member of a public body which is within his remit. See www.standardscommissionscotland.org.uk/about-us/who-we-cover

All local authorities and public bodies should have internal policies which explain how you can safely raise whistleblowing concerns. We recommend that you follow your organisation's policy before contacting the Commissioner unless you have concerns that you may be victimised for raising your concern, or that it may be covered up. Alternatively, you may believe that your concern has not been dealt with properly through your employer's whistleblowing policy.

The Commissioner cannot give you legal advice, or advise you as to whether your disclosure will be protected under the Act. You should seek independent advice about whether your disclosure may be protected. Free advice about this is available from:

Protect
CAN Mezzanine
7-14 Great Dover Street
London SE1 4YR

Whistleblowing Advice Line: 020 7404 6609

UK advice email: whistle@protect-advice.org.uk

UK advice site: www.protect-advice.org.uk

We respond to whistleblowing concerns as we do to other enquiries. We will let you know if we consider that we can take any action and what that action will be. If we are unable to help, we will endeavour to advise you as to who else may be able to assist you. We aim to acknowledge enquiries within 5 working days and to provide an initial response within 15 working days.

We will only collect or share information about you if:

  • you have given us your permission
  • we are worried about your or someone else's safety.

You should be aware that if the Commissioner decides to investigate your complaint, he is required to make the person about whom it is made aware of the conduct alleged in the complaint. In whistleblowing cases, the identity of the complainer will not be disclosed. However, there is a risk that circumstances of the complaint may allow someone to guess who you are.

If you want to make a whistleblowing disclosure to the Commissioner, please contact the Casework Team at: investigations@ethicalstandards.org.uk

Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland
Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
Edinburgh EH12 5HE
Telephone: 0300 011 0550