Publications & Insights Protected Disclosures Act 2014: Draft Guidance for Public Bodies published
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Protected Disclosures Act 2014: Draft Guidance for Public Bodies published

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (the “Act”) came into force on 15 July 2014. The Act introduced serious sanctions (including awards of up to five years’ gross remuneration) where an employee is dismissed or penalised for making a protected disclosure. A person to whom a protected disclosure is made is also obliged under the Act to protect the identity of the discloser. 

Public bodies

In relation to public bodies, Section 21(1) of the Act provides that “[e]very public body shall establish and maintain procedures for the making of protected disclosures by workers who are or were employed by the public body and for dealing with such disclosures.”

The Guidance

Section 21(3) allows the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (the “Minister”) to issue guidance to assist public bodies in the performance of their functions under section 21(1) (the “Guidance”) and section 21(4) provides that public bodies “shall have regard to” the Guidance when establishing and maintaining such Procedures.

Draft Guidance published

On Friday, 25 September, the Minister published the draft Guidance for public consultation.  The draft Guidance is quite detailed and addresses significant issues, such as:

  • Where should responsibility for the Procedures lie within a public body;
  • To whom should the Procedures apply;
  • Disclosures of employment-specific or profession-specific obligations;
  • What constitutes a reasonable belief;
  • How to make a disclosure under the Act;
  • Protecting the identity of the discloser;
  • Anonymous disclosures; 
  • Personal complaints vs protected disclosures;
  • Motivation;
  • Assessment and investigation; and
  • Protection of the rights of Respondents.

The draft Guidance also contains a sample Protected Disclosures Procedure.

Public consultation will be open until Friday, 23 October 2015, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will then proceed to finalise the Guidance and make it available to all public bodies. The draft Guidance has already been the subject of written consultation with all Government departments.

Click here for a copy of the Minister’s press release and to view the draft Guidance. 

For further information please contact Michelle Ní Longáin or Emmet Whelan or your usual contact in the Employment Law Team.