The following guidance relates to workers who wish to make a protected disclosure via the external reporting channel in accordance with the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (as amended) (referred to here as “the Act”).
How to make a protected disclosure to HIQA about services within HIQA’s statutory remit (external reporting channel and procedure).
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 our external channel policy and procedure documents in the links below.
Workers are encouraged to raise genuine concerns relating to possible improprieties at the earliest opportunity and in an appropriate way. Workers are therefore encouraged to report potential wrongdoing through their employer’s internal channel and procedure first.
Workers can also make a protected disclosure via external channels to other parties including prescribed persons, a Minister or the Protected Disclosures Commissioner.
The Act sets out provisions for the protection of workers, from having action taken against them in respect of them making certain disclosures. A worker qualifies for protection under the Act where the following conditions are met;
- The information came to the attention of the worker in a work-related context;
- There is reasonable belief that;
- the information tends to show relevant wrongdoing;
- the information and any allegations are substantially true; and
- the relevant wrongdoing relates to a matter for which the CEO of HIQA is a prescribed person.
If you would like to make a protected disclosure to HIQA, 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
01 814 7635
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.
Under the Health Act 2004, protected disclosures may be made in person. However, it should be noted that in order for workers to receive the protections of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (as amended), protected disclosures must be reported to the prescribed person, through the external reporting channel.
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 you are an employee, your position in the organisation, your place of work, confidential 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.
However, you should include sufficient factual information pertaining to the wrongdoing that allows for an appropriate assessment and or investigation by the prescribed person into the matter being disclosed.
For example, if a worker was communicating information about the state of a hospital, then a statement that “you are not complying with health and safety requirements” would appear to be a mere allegation, which does not contain adequate specific factual information that tends to show a relevant wrongdoing, and therefore does not provide sufficient factual information to allow an assessment and or investigation and further information would be useful for that purpose. However, a statement that “The wards have not been cleaned for the past two weeks. Yesterday, sharps were left lying around” would be more likely to include information to show a relevant wrongdoing, and would in turn be more useful to the hospital in terms of their assessment, investigation and taking of appropriate action.