The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects workers from the consequences, actual or feared, of raising concerns about serious misconduct or malpractice such as fraud, cheating, or unsafe practices where they work.

The Act applies to 'workers,' a much broader category than 'employees.' It covers all employees and those contractors or agency staff working for the Council on Council premises. It also covers suppliers and those providing services under a contract with the Councils from their own premises. No minimum period of service is required to receive the protection of the Act.

Workers are often the first to realise that there may be something seriously wrong within the Council. However, they may not express their concerns because they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the Council. They may also fear harassment or victimisation. In these circumstances it may be easier to ignore the concern rather than report what may just be a suspicion of malpractice.

The Council is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with that commitment we expect workers, and other people that we deal with, who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Council's work to come forward and voice those concerns.

This Confidential Reporting Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees to raise serious concerns within the Council rather than overlooking a problem or 'blowing the whistle' outside. It makes it clear that you can do so without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination or disadvantage.

This policy is in addition to the Council's complaints procedures, its procedures for staff to raise grievances, and other statutory reporting procedures. Group Managers are responsible for making individual workers aware of its existence.

This policy has been discussed with the relevant trade unions and has their support.