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Topic: Personnel management

letter acknowledging whistleblowing disclosure
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Letter acknowledging whistleblowing disclosure

Letter acknowledging whistleblowing disclosure

If a worker has blown the whistle on wrongdoing at work, you’ll need to promptly investigate the matter. Start by using our letter to confirm receipt of their disclosure and to advise them of what the next steps will be.

Follow your policy

Under the terms of your disclosures in the public interest or “whistleblowing” policy, you should have encouraged workers to make any disclosures to you in the first instance - that way, you can at least attempt to deal with the issue internally before things get out of hand. Normally, your policy would provide for your workers to raise the issue in writing with their line manager - or with another manager if their own line manager is implicated in the wrongdoing. Once this has happened, check the terms of your policy to see what procedure it sets out and then follow it.

An informative response

When a worker makes a disclosure, it’s good practice to respond to them setting out what will happen next. Typically, the next step will be for you to investigate their disclosure. This is where our Letter Acknowledging Whistleblowing Disclosure comes in. It confirms that you’re now launching an investigation and it asks the worker to attend an investigatory meeting - the aim of this being to find out further information about the nature and details of the disclosure so that a witness statement can be put together. For example, dates and times of when the wrongdoing is alleged to have taken place, etc.

Confidentiality

Whilst you should do your best to preserve the worker’s confidentiality, particularly as the source of the disclosure, don’t promise this. You need to be able to determine the scope of your own investigation and who you need to interview about the alleged wrongdoing, and so it’s possible that things will either leak out or other staff will put two and two together and work out who raised the issue. So, our letter sets out the position on confidentiality and warns the worker that it’s possible other work colleagues may find out they’re the source of the disclosure. It goes on to say that if the worker suffers any form of victimisation or retaliation as a result, they should immediately report it to you. If this happens, you would then need to investigate it as a potential disciplinary matter and take appropriate action against the perpetrators. Under the law, whistleblowers are protected against suffering detrimental treatment as a result of their disclosure.

Investigation outcome

Finally, our letter provides for you to write to the worker again on completion of your investigation, to notify them of the outcome. If it’s upheld, depending on what the disclosure actually was, this might mean reporting the matter to a government department or regulatory agency or taking disciplinary action against the wrongdoers. If you don’t propose to take any action, you should also let the worker know why.

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