Protected Disclosure Policy
At Kilkenny Design we conduct our business with honesty and integrity, and we expect our employees (Workers) to maintain high standards of conduct. However, all organisations face the risk of things going wrong from time to time. A culture of openness and accountability is essential to prevent such situations occurring and to address them when they do occur. We are committed to creating a workplace culture that supports employees who wish to disclose wrong-doing. This policy, also known as a whistleblowing policy, is designed to let employees know the right way to go about reporting wrong-doing the protection which they are entitled to by law. It is separate from the Employee Grievance Procedure which is available to deal with individual complaints.
This policy applies to all current and former employees of the Company. This policy also applies to consultants, contractors, casual employees, agency employees, trainees, temporary employees, job candidates, interns, shareholders, board members, volunteers, and those on paid and unpaid work experience (all known as “Worker”).
This policy is not intended to act as a substitute for normal day to day operational reporting or other internal employment procedures.
A protected disclosure is a disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of a Worker, tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings, that came to the attention of the Worker in a work-related context, and is disclosed to specified recipients and where the conditions attaching to disclosure to that particular recipient are satisfied. A protected disclosure is often referred to as “whistleblowing”.
Any suspected wrongdoing should be reported to the following confidential and secure email address to
The designated officers to manage this disclosure will be an internal Director and external HR Consultant. The designated officers may be subject to change.
If a Worker believes that it is not appropriate to notify the Designated Officer, they may alternatively notify a the Company CEO.
Aims of the Protected Disclosure Policy
- To encourage Workers to feel confident and safe in raising concerns and disclosing information, if they suspect a relevant wrongdoing has occurred.
- To provide avenues for Workers to raise concerns in confidence and receive feedback on action taken.
- To reassure Workers that they will be protected from penalisation or any threat of penalisation.
How can a Worker distinguish between a Grievance and Protected Disclosure?
This policy should not be used for personal complaints. A matter concerning interpersonal grievances exclusively affecting a reporting person, such as grievances about interpersonal conflicts involving the Worker and another Worker, or a complaint to the Company or about the Company which concerns the Worker exclusively, it is not considered to be a protected disclosure. In those cases, you should use the Grievance Procedure or Bullying and Harassment Policies.
If a worker is unsure what policy to consult (in relation to their specific concern), they should discuss the matter with HR in the first instance, who can advise the Worker of the appropriate procedure to follow.
What types of concerns can be raised?
A concern or disclosure should relate to a relevant wrongdoing including:
- Possible fraud;
- Possible crime;
- Impending or likely threat to the health and safety of any individual;
- Miscarriage of justice;
- Damage to the environment;
Unlawful or improper use of public funds;
- Oppressive, discriminatory or negligent behaviour or gross mismanagement by a public body;
- Breaches of EU law; or
- Information tending to show any of those matters 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.
- Does not cover disclosures of wrongdoing if the matter is one which it is the function of the Worker or the Worker’s employer to detect, investigate or prosecute unless it involves or consists of an act/omission on the part of the employer;
- Is not a replacement for existing mandatory reporting schemes;
- Does not cover a disclosure where the Worker knowingly conveys false information. If it transpires that a Worker makes a disclosure, which they know to be false or do not believe to be true, the Company may take disciplinary or other appropriate action.
Safeguards and Non-Penalisation
- The Company is committed to protecting Workers from penalisation or detriment for having made a protected disclosure in accordance with this Policy.
- The Company will not penalise a Worker who makes a disclosure in good faith and has a reasonable belief that wrongdoing has taken place, even if the worker is mistaken in that belief. However, a report made in the absence of a reasonable belief will not attract legal protection and may result in disciplinary action against the reporting person.
- A Worker who raises a suspected wrongdoing under this policy is not expected to prove the truth of that suspicion. The Worker is not required or entitled to investigate matters themselves to find proof of their suspicion and should not attempt to do so.
- Penalisation is any direct or indirect act or omission occurring in a work-related context, due to the making of a report, and which causes (or may cause) an unjustified detriment to the Worker. Penalisation may include suspension/dismissal, disciplinary action, demotion, discrimination, threats or other unfavourable treatment arising from making a protected disclosure. Normal management of a Worker who has made a report does not constitute penalisation. This can include the taking of disciplinary action against the Worker for matters unrelated to the making of the report.
- If a Worker believes that they are being subjected to penalisation, as a result of making a disclosure under this policy, they should inform HR without undue delay. HR will assess / investigate any such complaint and take appropriate action (which may include disciplinary action against anyone the subject of that complaint) where necessary. If a complaint is made of penalisation, that complaint will be dealt with having regard to the continued obligation to protect the identity of the discloser so far as possible.
- If the matter is not remedied, the Worker should raise it formally using our Grievance Procedure.
- A Worker is also entitled to protection from detriment suffered by the Worker because that Worker, or a third party, has made a protected disclosure.
- No-one should threaten or retaliate against whistleblowers in any way. Anyone involved in such conduct, may be subject to disciplinary action and criminal liability.
The Company is committed to protecting the identity of a Worker who raises a concern of an alleged wrongdoing to the Company and will ensure that relevant disclosures will be treated in confidence, where possible.
There are limited circumstances, where confidentiality cannot be maintained even where the reporting person does not consent to their identity being disclosed. This particularly may arise in circumstances where investigation into the alleged wrongdoing takes place. However, the Designated Officer will always ensure that the identity of the reporting person is only ever shared on a “need to know” basis. Should such a situation arise, subject to very limited exceptions, the Designated Officer will make every effort to inform the Worker that his/her identity may be disclosed. Except in exceptional cases, a Worker may review a decision to disclose his or her identity and the worker will be informed of the review process.
No attempt should be made to identify the reporting person by anyone within the Company to whom the identity has not been revealed on a strictly need to know basis.
Workers who are concerned that their identity is not being protected should inform HR without undue delay. HR will assess / investigate any such complaint and take appropriate action (which may include disciplinary action against anyone the subject of that complaint) where necessary.
All processing of personal data will be carried out in accordance with Data Protection Law (the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018) and the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, as amended.
Raising a Concern Anonymously
A concern in relation to an alleged wrongdoing may be raised anonymously. Anonymous disclosures will be acted upon to the extent that this is possible. However, the Company’s ability to investigate may be constrained in the absence of the knowledge of the identity of the reporting person. The Company may also have difficulty in establishing whether any allegations of wrongdoing are credible. In addition, keeping the reporting person informed and protecting a Worker from penalisation may be difficult or impossible and a reporting person cannot obtain legal protections/redress without identifying themselves.
Procedure for Raising a Protected Disclosure
The Worker should raise their concerns into a suspected wrongdoing with their manager who may be able to resolve their concern quickly and effectively. In some cases, your manager may refer the matter to the Designated Officer.
- If the Worker does not feel it is appropriate to raise their concern with their manager or deems the suspected wrongdoing to be serious in nature, they should raise their concern with a Designated Officer.
- Concerns are to be raised in writing in confidence and securely to [email protected]
- Should the Worker raise a concern verbally, the Designated Officer will keep a written record of the conversation and provide the Worker with a copy of same. Records of all reports received will be retained.
- Any disclosure by a Worker needs to be put in writing. The Worker will be required to provide the background and history of the concern, giving relevant information, insofar as is possible, such as dates, sequence of events and description of circumstances, the name of any person(s) allegedly involved and any supporting information.
The Designated Officer will arrange a meeting to discuss the matter with the Worker on a strictly confidential basis. The Designated Officer will need to clarify at this point if the concern is appropriate to be dealt with under this policy or is a matter more appropriate to our other policies (for example the Grievance Policy).
Following Step 3, the Designated Officer will carry out an initial assessment to examine what actions the Company need to take to deal with the matter. This may involve simply clarifying certain matters, clearing up misunderstandings or resolving the matter by agreed action, without the need for investigation.
If, after the initial assessment, the Designated Officer determines that there is no prima facie evidence that a relevant wrongdoing may have occurred, then the matter can be closed (or referred to another internal process), and the Worker notified.
If, on foot of initial assessment, the Designated Officer concludes that there are grounds for concern that cannot be dealt with at this point, the Designated Officer will cause an investigation to be carried out. The form and scope of the investigation will depend on the subject matter of the disclosure.
Disclosures may, in the light of the seriousness of the matters raised, be referred immediately to the appropriate authorities. If urgent action is required (for example to remove a health and safety hazard), this action will be taken.
The Designated Officer will keep the Worker informed of steps being taken by the Designated Officer in response to the Workers’ disclosure.
The Designated Officer will endeavour, when appropriate, to communicate with the Worker as follows:
- Acknowledge receipt of the Worker’s disclosure will be provided within 7 days.
- Arrange to meet with the Worker as outlined above.
- Inform the Worker of how the Company proposes to investigate the matter and keep the Worker informed of actions, where possible, in that regard including the outcome of any investigation, and should it be the case, why no further investigation will take place. However, it is important to note that sometimes the need for confidentiality and legal considerations may prevent the Designated Officer from giving specific details of an investigation, outcome or any disciplinary action taken as a result.
- The Designated Officer will inform the Worker of likely time scales in regard to each of the steps being taken.
- Feedback about the follow-up/investigation must be given to the Worker within three months.
Where a Worker has made a report whether or not that has been assessed or investigated, the Worker is still required to conduct themselves professionally and to continue to carry out their duties as normal.
Reviews of decisions
If you are not happy with the way in which your concern has been handled, you can raise it with our CEO [email protected] setting out the reasons you are seeking a review.
As set out above, the aim of this policy is to provide an internal mechanism for reporting, investigating and remedying any wrongdoing in the workplace. In most cases you should not find it necessary to alert anyone externally. However, the law recognises that in some circumstances it may be appropriate for you to report your concerns to an external body such as a regulator. We strongly encourage you to seek advice before reporting a concern to anyone external. A disclosure of information will only be a protected disclosure if it is made to specified recipients and only where the conditions attaching to disclosure to that particular recipient are satisfied.
Prescribed person/Protected Disclosures Commissioner
Certain persons are prescribed by law to receive protected disclosures.
Disclosures can be made to a prescribed person or the Protected Disclosures Commissioner where a Worker:
- reasonably believes a relevant wrongdoing falls within a category of wrongdoing for which a particular person is prescribed by law; and
- believes the information disclosed is substantially true.
Please find further details at https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/41798-protected-disclosures-whistleblowing-list-of-prescribed-persons/.
In order to qualify for protection in relation to disclosures through other channels (i.e. made otherwise to an employer, prescribed person, or legal advisor):
- the Worker must reasonably believe that the information disclosed in the report, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true; and
- the Worker must have previously made a disclosure of substantially the same information to an employer or prescribed person but no appropriate action was taken within the specified period; or
- the Worker must reasonably believe that:
- the relevant wrongdoing concerned may constitute an imminent or manifest danger to the public interest, such as where there is an emergency situation or a risk of irreversible damage, or
- if he or she were to make a report to a prescribed person there is a risk of penalisation, or there is a low prospect of the relevant wrongdoing being effectively addressed.
The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy and for reviewing the effectiveness of actions taken in response to concerns raised under this policy.
Review of policy
This policy will be reviewed as and when necessary and at least every 2 years.