Safeguarding workers who disclose information related to wrongdoing in the workplace.
The purpose of the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014, is to provide a framework for workers who wish to raise concerns about a potential wrongdoing in their work environment, also known more commonly as 'whistleblowing'. The Act protects workers from penalisation if this is as a result of having made the protected disclosure.
The RSA is investing more time and resources than ever before in addressing fraud and corruption, threats to the environment and risks to the health and safety of the public.
We are strongly committed to ensuring that the culture and work environment are such that any worker is encouraged and supported in ‘speaking-up’ on any issue that may adversely impact our ability to carry out our role to the highest standard possible.
In 2020, we received one protected disclosure which was assessed and subsequently investigated under our Protected Disclosure Policy. This policy is part of our Code of Practice, which applies to all RSA employees.
In 2021, we received one protected disclosure which was assessed and subsequently managed through internal procedures in the reporting period up to 21st December 2021.
Any RSA employee seeking to make a protected disclosure should refer to the internal Protected Disclosures Policy where the steps for reporting are set out or email [email protected]
Protected disclosures from non-RSA employees
The information below is for workers who are not RSA employees but who wish to make a protected disclosure to the RSA under the Act.
Under section 6 of the Act, disclosures can be made by a worker to the RSA, where the RSA is defined as an employer with regard to that worker (as distinct from an employee) under Section 3. This section covers, for example, contractors, trainees and agency staff.
Disclosures can also be made to the RSA where a worker believes that the RSA is a responsible person within the context of Section 6 of the Act – this means that the worker believes that the relevant wrongdoing which the disclosure tends to show relates solely or mainly to the conduct of the RSA, or to something for which the RSA has legal responsibility.
To make a disclosure under Section 6 of the Act a worker must have a reasonable belief that the relevant information disclosed tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoing and came to their attention in connection with their employment.
By Statutory Instrument 367 of 2020 the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform prescribed the Director of Finance and Corporate Services of the RSA, as the recipient of disclosures of relevant wrongdoings falling within the description of matters specified in the instrument as follows:
All matters relating to the promotion of road safety, accident and road safety research, driver testing and licensing, vehicle standards, the enforcement of statutory provisions relating to road haulage, the registration of driving instructors, driver vocational training and compulsory basic training for motorcyclists.
To make a disclosure under Section 7 of the Act a worker must reasonably believe that the relevant wrongdoing falls within the description of matters in respect of which the Director of Finance and Corporate Services of the RSA is prescribed (as set out in S.I. 367 of 2020) and that the information disclosed, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true.
Section 5 of the Act describes what counts as 'relevant information' and can be the subject of a protected disclosure. It also lists the matters that are 'relevant wrongdoings' for the purposes of the Act.
For the purposes of the Act, information is 'relevant information' if:
(a) in the reasonable belief of the worker, it tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings, and
(b) it came to the attention of the worker in connection with the worker’s employment.
The following matters are 'relevant wrongdoings' for the purposes of the Act—
that an offence has b
a) that an offence has been, is being or is likely to be committed,
b) that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation, other than one arising under the worker’s contract of employment or other contract whereby the worker undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services,——
c) that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
d) that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,
e) that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged,
f) that an unlawful or otherwise improper use of funds or resources of a public body, or of
other public money, has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
g) that an act or omission by or on behalf of a public body is oppressive, discriminatory or grossly negligent or constitutes gross mismanagement,
h) that a breach of specified EU law set out in the Directive has occurred, is occurring or is
likely to occur, or
i) that information tending to show any matter falling within any of
the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be concealed or destroyed or an attempt has been, is
being or is likely to be made to conceal or destroy such information
It is immaterial whether a relevant wrongdoing occurred, occurs or would occur in Ireland or elsewhere and whether the law applying to it is that of Ireland or that of any other country or territory.A matter is not a relevant wrongdoing if it is a matter which it is the function of the worker or the worker’s employer to detect, investigate or prosecute and does not consist of or involve an act or omission on the part of the employer.
A reporting person must have a reasonable belief that the information disclosed shows, or tends to show, wrongdoing. The term “reasonable belief” does not mean that the belief has to
be correct. Reporting persons are entitled to be mistaken in their belief, so long as their belief
was based on reasonable grounds. The High Court has determined that “some form of objective basis for such a belief must exist in order for it to constitute a “reasonable belief”, as required by the 2014 Act"
It may be quite reasonable for a reporting person to believe that a wrongdoing is occurring on
the basis of what he or she observes. A reporting person may not know all the facts of the case and as noted above, the reporting person is not obliged to find proof of their suspicion. In such a case the reporting person may have reasonable grounds for believing that some
form of wrongdoing is occurring, but it may subsequently turn out that the reporting person
The Procedures should confirm that no reporting person will be penalised simply for getting it wrong, so long as the reporting person had a reasonable belief that the information disclosed showed, or tended to show, wrongdoing.
The Department of Public Expenditure Reform offers further Guidance on the Protected Disclosures Act.
Protect Disclosure Guidelines
The Department of Public Expenditure Reform offers further guidance on the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.
How to make a disclosure to the RSA
Disclosures from non-RSA employees can be sent for the attention of the Director of Finance and Corporate Service of RSA as follows:
Please post your protected disclosure to:
Confidential, Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Road Safety Authority, Moy Valley Business Park, Primrose Hill, Dublin Road, Ballina, Co. Mayo, F26 V6E4.
Please email your protected disclosure to: [email protected]
TII's 'Speak Up' Helpline
Confidential advice for anyone considering reporting a concern or making a protected disclosure is available via Transparency International Ireland's Speak Up Helpline at 1800 844 866, Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm.The email address is [email protected] or visit www.speakup.ie. Where appropriate, the helpline can refer callers to access free legal advice from the Transparency Legal Advice Centre (see https://www.transparency.ie/helpline/TLAC)TII guide to making a protected disclosure
What your disclosure should include
Disclosures should include the following details:
- You must state that the disclosure is being made under either Section 6 or Section 7 (as applicable) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014,
- A description of the relevant wrongdoing,
- Copies of information that tend to show the wrongdoing. This assists us in investigating the matters raised.
- Your preferred contact details.
Protection of identity
The RSA will protect the identity of the discloser where possible but may be obliged to reveal the identity so that a proper investigation can be carried out. Anonymous disclosures will be investigated insofar as is practicable with the information supplied.
IMPORTANT: The information on this page is for guidance purposes only. It does not purport to be an interpretation of the law or to offer legal guidance or advice. Any person considering making a protected disclosure should first consult the provisions of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and seek legal advice if necessary.