In general terms, a protected disclosure is made when a person or worker discloses certain information in relation to a potential wrongdoing to a particular person in a particular way. Below you will find details on how to make a protected disclosure and also important information about who can make a protected disclosure to HIQA. If you wish to make a protected disclosure we recommend you read the accompanying guidance in the links below.
How to make a Protected Disclosure to HIQA for Persons or Workers other than HIQA Employees.
If you would like to make a protected disclosure, you may do so by contacting us in one of the following ways, while at the same time indicating you wish to make a protected disclosure:
In writing to either to the CEO or Chief Inspector at
c/o Regional Manager
021 240 9646
A protected disclosure may also be made in person to an authorised person during a monitoring event or investigation or to an inspector of social services in the course of an inspection.
Information to be submitted with a protected disclosure
In making a protected disclosure, it is recommended that, at a minimum, you include the following information :
- state that you are making a protected disclosure;
- your name, and if an employee position in the organisation, place of work, contact details and if appropriate the best method to make contact;
- the date (if known) of the alleged wrongdoing or the date the alleged wrongdoing commenced or was identified;
- whether or not the alleged wrongdoing is still ongoing;
- whether the alleged wrongdoing has already been disclosed and if so, to whom, when, and what action was taken;
- information in respect of the alleged wrongdoing (what is occurring / has occurred and how) and any supporting information;
- the name of any person(s) allegedly involved in the alleged wrongdoing (if any name is known and the worker considers that naming an individual is necessary to expose the wrongdoing disclosed); and
- any other relevant information.
Note – When making a protected disclosure, you should only disclose as much information as is necessary to report the wrongdoing and should not access, process, disclose or seek to disclose information about individuals that is not necessary for the purpose of disclosing the wrongdoing.
What will HIQA do with a disclosure?
Upon receipt of information stated to be a protected disclosure, HIQA has assigned the person in the role of ‘Regional Manager, Information Management Unit’ to undertake an initial screening assessment to determine whether the disclosure amounts to a protected disclosure having regard to the Protected Disclosure Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) and the Health Act 2004 (as amended by the Health Act 2007) (the Health Act). All disclosures will be assessed under the 2014 Act in the first instance. Where the discloser provides their identity and contact details, HIQA will acknowledge receipt of the disclosure as soon as practicable.
If a protected disclosure is received, HIQA will take every precaution to protect the identity of the discloser. In line with HIQA’s normal procedures, all information received, including protected disclosures, will be treated in confidence unless the discloser clearly states that he/she does not object to having his/her name associated with the disclosure. While there is an express obligation to protect the identity of the discloser under the 2014 Act, HIQA will apply the same level of protection to disclosures received under the Health Act.
There are a number of exceptions to the obligation to protect the identity of the discloser under the 2014 Act such as the person to whom the protected disclosure was made or referred reasonably believes that disclosing any such information is necessary for the effective investigation of the relevant wrongdoing concerned. See the guidance document linked below for further detail.
If a decision is taken that it is necessary to disclose information that may or will disclose the identity of the discloser, the discloser will be informed of this decision in advance of the disclosure, except in exceptional urgent cases.
Any personal data received as part of a protected disclosure will be treated in accordance with HIQA’s privacy notice.
Following an initial screening assessment, all protected disclosures received by HIQA will then be assessed to determine if there is a risk to the quality and safety of care for service users. All disclosures received will be taken seriously and will be addressed appropriately.
HIQA will use the information received to inform our ongoing regulatory or monitoring functions as necessary. HIQA may also decide to escalate the concern to the relevant service provider as part of our ongoing regulatory and monitoring functions.
HIQA will include information on protected disclosures received under the 2014 Act in its annual report for the preceding year.