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Make a protected disclosure

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Where to begin

You should start by following your organisation’s internal procedure for dealing with serious wrongdoing. All public sector organisations must have these procedures.

You can go directly to the head of your organisation if:

  • your organisation doesn’t have these internal procedures, or
  • you reasonably believe the person you are supposed to give this information to is involved in the serious wrongdoing, or is associated with someone who is.

You can make a protected disclosure to an appropriate authority without needing to follow this process if you reasonably believe:

  • the head of the organisation is involved
  • there are urgent or exceptional circumstances, or
  • you followed your organisation’s internal procedures, but there’s been no action or recommended action within 20 working days.

The Ombudsman can provide information or guidance. Your enquiries will be treated in confidence.

Call 0800 802 602 and ask to speak to someone about a protected disclosure. The team will take your contact details and ask a specialist person to talk to you.

Appropriate authorities

Appropriate authorities are people who are able to receive protected disclosures. If you're not sure who is an authority, you can check with the Ombudsman. 

Appropriate authorities include the:


If you make a protected disclosure, information which identifies you will be kept confidential, unless you consent to the disclosure or if disclosure is essential to:

  • the effective investigation of the allegations
  • prevent serious risk to public health or safety or the environment
  • comply with the principles of natural justice.

The Ombudsman can provide information and guidance to organisations and employees about their confidentiality obligations.

Protections for whistle-blowing

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