Legal whistleblowing, broken down for the last three years: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/02514
Date received: 12 September 2018  
Date responded: 3 October 2018
Information requested
The number of Scottish Government staff who engaged in legal whistleblowing, broken down for the last three years (2018, 2017 and 2016), and details of any reports of staff taking the Scottish Government to an employment tribunal because they engaged in whistleblowing for the same time periods.
This response covers core Scottish Government (details at Annex A).

The Scottish Government’s (SG) ‘Raising a Concern under the Civil Service Code and Whistleblowing Policy’ describes the process for anyone (including contractors) carrying out work on behalf of the Scottish Government on how to raise a concern within the organisation.
Whistleblowing (legally known as a qualifying disclosure) is described in the policy as follows:

‘Where the individual must reasonably believe that the disclosure of information is in the public interest and that the information tends to show one or more of the following has happened, is happening, or is likely to occur:

• a criminal offence, for example fraud

• someone's health and safety is in danger

• risk or actual damage to the environment

• a miscarriage of justice

• your employer is not complying with the law.

The above list is not exhaustive and what amounts to a qualifying disclosure is fully set out in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA).

This policy should not be used to raise concerns of a HR or personal nature, for example, complaints relating to a decision by managers, terms and conditions of employment and complaints against ministers. Such concerns should be raised under the relevant alternative policy, for example, the SG’s Fairness at Work Policy.’

Annex A includes a copy of the full policy.
In answer to your question:

The core Scottish Government had no whistleblowing concerns (”qualifying disclosures”) raised between 2016 to 2017. In 2018 we received one anonymous complaint regarding a governance issue which is currently under investigation which, depending on the outcome of the investigation, could be deemed to be a qualifying disclosure. There have been no referrals to an employment tribunal of the nature described in your request.
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FOI-18-02514 - names of directorates


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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