Periodically, whistleblowing – disclosing wrongdoing, usually within a large organisation – hits the headlines. Its consequences for all concerned can be serious and far-reaching.
So, to help all those who are contemplating whistleblowing – or who are affected by whistleblowing – to understand their responsibilities and the protection they can expect from the law, the e-learning supplier, Engage in Learning (EIL), has launched ‘Whistleblowing’.
This e-learning course – part of EIL’s ‘Compliance’ series of courses – defines whistleblowing, outlines what protection the whistleblower receives under the law and what steps this person may take when exposing wrongdoing, either internally or outside the organisation. Typically taking some 25 minutes to complete, the EIL course also explains the steps a potential whistleblower may need to take if they are to disclose wrongdoing – as well as discussing when it may be appropriate to make this disclosure internally and when a public disclosure may be appropriate.
EIL’s Marketing Manager, Kate Carter, commented, “While embarrassing and annoying to those in charge of the organisation involved, as well as being potentially nerve-wracking to the whistleblowers, it’s important that all concerned – and potentially concerned – should comply with accepted procedures and remain within the law.”
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 was implemented in the UK to protect individuals who make certain disclosures of information in the public interest and are, consequently, victimised or dismissed.
Such disclosures – colloquially referred to as ‘whistleblowing’ – are different from making a complaint. That’s because a complaint usually relates to an individual who, then, has an interest in its outcome. Such complaints tend to be dealt with under an organisation’s grievance procedure.
On the other hand, a disclosure of information by a whistleblower normally relates to something that might not impact that individual personally but will impact either the employer or a third party. The information revealed must be both in the public interest and serious.
“Taking the decision to blow-the-whistle may be difficult, depending on the circumstances – and the person who feels they want to report the wrongdoing may not be fully aware of the options available to them,” said Kate Carter. “The EIL e-learning course should make things clearer for them – and organisations making these learning materials available to their workers will be able to prove their compliance with the law.”