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Whistleblowing

These Dos and Don’ts are produced by the whistleblowing charity Protect (formerly Public Concern at work) and are reproduced by ICAEW with their permission.

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Issue: August 2010
Last reviewed: October 2019

Dos and don’ts

Do:

  • Keep calm;
  • Think about the risks and outcomes before you act;
  • Remember you are a witness, not a complainant; and
  • Phone Protect for advice on +44 (0)203 3177 2520.

Don't

  • Forget there may be an innocent or good explanation;
  • Become a private detective;
  • Use a whistleblowing procedure to pursue a personal grievance; or
  • Expect thanks.

Protect

Protect produces a number of policy statements, publications and other useful information including:

Through their helpline (+44 (0)20 3177 2520) Protect lawyers provide confidential advice, free of charge, to people concerned about wrongdoing at work but who are not sure whether or how to raise their concerns. Protect aims to help you identify how best to raise your concern, while minimising any risk to you and maximising the opportunity for any wrongdoing to be addressed. Protect cannot, however, take cases or represent clients.

Protect cannot provide advice on general employment rights, discrimination, harassment or disagreements with your employer (unless related to a whistleblowing concern), although CABA’s legal helpline may be able to offer such support on +44 (0)1788 556 366.

Advice on the specific guidance that applies to members of ICAEW can be obtained from one of ICAEW’s ethics advisers by calling the Technical Enquiries line on 01908 248 250.

Ethics advice

ICAEW members, affiliates, ICAEW students and staff in eligible firms with member firm access can discuss their specific situation with the Ethics Advisory Service on +44 (0)1908 248 250 or e-mail ethics@icaew.com.

The Support Members Scheme

The Support Members Scheme provides support to members of ICAEW who are in difficulty. The support members themselves come from a variety of backgrounds but are all members of ICAEW committed to helping other members. There are support members throughout England and Wales as well as in the Channel Islands and Cyprus.

What do they do?

Support members offer totally confidential, non-judgemental telephone or face to face support to members of any age, in any circumstances and in all areas of professional activity. They are trained to listen and are familiar with all of ICAEW's relevant procedures as well as other specialised helplines and resources. Support members are happy to talk to you about any issue, however big or small, and relating to your professional or personal life. Often simply discussing a problem with an objective outsider can clarify your thoughts and help you to find a way forward.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. Support members provide their services voluntarily. There is no charge for consulting a support member.

Will our discussion be in confidence?

Yes. Any contact that you have with a support member will be in complete confidence, except in cases where the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 applies. Support members are also exempt from the duty to report misconduct so you can feel comfortable in the knowledge that anything discussed will not be referred back to ICAEW.

What do I do now?

If you feel you could benefit from discussing your situation with a support member, please contact the scheme on +44(0)800 917 3526 or email support.members@icaew.com. Contact information for support members is also available on the website icaew.com/supportmembers.

Terms and conditions

© ICAEW 2020  All rights reserved.

ICAEW cannot accept responsibility for any person acting or refraining to act as a result of any material contained in this helpsheet. This helpsheet is designed to alert members to an important issue of general application. It is not intended to be a definitive statement covering all aspects but is a brief comment on a specific point.

ICAEW members have permission to use and reproduce this helpsheet on the following conditions:

  • This permission is strictly limited to ICAEW members only who are using the helpsheet for guidance only.
  • The helpsheet is to be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use only and is not for re-distribution.

For further details members are invited to telephone the Technical Advisory Service T +44 (0)1908 248250. The Technical Advisory Service comprises the technical enquiries, ethics advice and anti-money laundering helplines. For further details visit icaew.com/tas.