Whistleblowing occurs when an individual raises concerns, usually to their employer or a regulator, about a workplace danger or illegality that affects others. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 is the key piece of UK legislation protecting individuals who 'blow the whistle' in the public interest. Both employer and worker may have a lot at stake in a whistleblowing scenario, and developing and promoting a clear and robust policy for raising concerns can help to minimise risk.

This factsheet outlines the legal position on whistleblowing and suggests sources of guidance. It explores the benefits of having a whistleblowing policy and what the policy should cover. It advises employers on how to implement an effective whistleblowing procedure while supporting sincere whistleblowers from start to finish.

CIPD viewpoint

What is 'whistleblowing'?

The legal position

The benefits to employers of having a whistleblowing policy

What a whistleblowing policy should contain

Implementing the policy

Useful contacts and further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Lisa Ayling, solicitor and employment law specialist, and by Rachel Suff.

Rachel Suff

Rachel Suff: Employee Relations Adviser

Rachel joined the CIPD as a policy adviser in 2014 to increase the CIPD’s public policy profile and engage with politicians, civil servants, policy-makers and commentators to champion better work and working lives. An important part of her role is to ensure that the views of the profession inform CIPD policy thinking in ER areas such as health and well-being, employee engagement and employment relations.

As well as developing policy on UK employment issues, she helps guide the CIPD’s thinking in relation to European developments affecting the world of work. Rachel is a qualified HR practitioner and researcher; her prior roles include working as a researcher/editor for XpertHR and as a senior policy adviser at Acas.

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