How to make a Protected Disclosure to HIQA about services within HIQA’s statutory remit (external reporting channel and procedure). 

Scope

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”).

If HIQA is your employer (within the meaning of the Act) and you want to know more about making a protected disclosure about HIQA to HIQA via the internal reporting channel and procedure, please email internalPD@hiqa.ie for guidance.

What is a protected disclosure?

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 Protected Disclosures to HIQA (external channel and procedure) – Policy and Protected Disclosures to HIQA (external channel and procedure) - Procedure (together “the External Channel and Procedure”) documents in the links below.

Who can I make a protected disclosure to?

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.

What are the conditions for qualifying for protection when reporting to a prescribed person?

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; 

         and

  • 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.
How to make a protected disclosure to HIQA?

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

By phone

By e-mail

In person

c/o Regional Manager
Information Management Unit,

Health Information and Quality Authority,
George’s Court, Smithfield, Dublin 7
D07 E98Y

01 814 7635
 

 

protecteddisclosures@hiqa.ie

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. 

 

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 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 the 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 and 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”.

  • Protected Disclosures Procedure - External Channel

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  • Frequently Asked Questions - External Channel

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  • Protected Disclosures Policy - External Channel

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