The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued guidance on protection for whistle-blowers disclosing information to the ICO about potential breaches of data protection and freedom of information law.
A guidance note published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) explains that If workers are concerned that their employer may be contravening data protection and freedom of information legislation, they may contact the ICO. The guidance note outlines the protection against detriment or dismissal available under ‘whistle-blowing’ legislation as a result of disclosing information, but points out that the note does not attempt to offer definitive legal advice and that workers must satisfy themselves, perhaps with the help of independent legal advice, that they would be protected. The guide also points out that disclosures can, be made to the employer, and this serves as a reminder that it is in every organisation’s best interest to have a whistle-blowing policy in place, with reasonable procedures which give workers confidence to whistle-blow internally.
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