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Kevin Haynes
London School of Economics
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Email: k.j.haynes@lse.ac.uk|

Whistle blowing (making a public interest disclosure)

What is 'whistle-blowing'?

Whistle-blowing is a term used for what is legally known as a  Public Interest Disclosure, which is when an employee discloses information about malpractice/ wrongdoing they discover occurring in the School.

What isn't covered by 'whistle-blowing'?

The procedure should not be used where there are issues of poor performance or a lack of professionalism; nor should it be used to resolve personal disputes.  It should only be used where there is wrongdoing: whether it is intentional or done unknowingly. 

What is the purpose of the Public Interest Disclosure Procedure?

The Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) was produced to legally protect employees against being dismissed or penalised by their employers as a result of making a disclosure. The LSE Public Interest Disclosure Procedure| facilitates the PIDA, ensuring that proper protection is given to any person/s making a disclosure.

What constitutes malpractice/ wrongdoing?

Examples of malpractice/ wrongdoing include:

  • financial malpractice;
  • breach of any of the School's regulations;
  • endangering health and safety;
  • criminal activity at the School;
  • academic and professional malpractice; and
  • wilful failure to declare a relevant interest in the Register of Interests.

Who can use the Procedure?

This Procedure is open to all members of the School, including governors, students, contractors and temporary employees.

How are disclosures made?

Disclosures should be made verbally or in writing to one or more of the Assessment Officers, listed in part two of the Procedure. The Assessment Officer will conduct an initial investigation and submit his/ her findings, including a recommendation on the best way to proceed, to a Disclosure Officer. A number of actions are open to a Disclosure Officer, including an informal resolution, disciplinary action, or referral for investigation under a more appropriate procedure or to a suitable external organisation. The Assessment Officer will act as the point of contact for the person/s making the disclosure.

Can disclosures be made outside the School?

The Procedure will afford protection to individuals making a disclosure outside of the School if there is a reasonable belief that the disclosure shows malpractice/ wrongdoing, and if it is made to an appropriate organisation listed in paragraph 10, part 1 of the procedure. In certain circumstances, the School might be obliged to make a report to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the police or another appropriate public body. This will not affect the protection afforded to the discloser.

Can disclosures be made anonymously?

Members of the School are expected to put their name to any disclosures they submit, although the School might consider anonymous disclosures if the matter raised is of sufficient gravity and accompanied by evidence.