Whistleblowers play an important role in helping expose corruption, wrongdoing and malpractice. Report public interest cases to the LTU Team
LiensedTransportUncovered.com has been working with whistleblowers for the past six years, helping employees discreetly disclose information that is in the public interest. We specialise in cases involving the passenger transport industry, specifically the taxi, private hire, minicab and chauffeur industry.
We also accept information on suppliers to the passenger transport industry, including financial institutions and insurers along with the companies that use ground transport. Whistleblowers play an important role in society, helping to expose wrongdoing, corruption and criminal or illegal practices.
If you are worried about a wrongdoing at work, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) gives guidance to employees and workers for addressing these and other whistleblowing issues in a safe and constructive way. It encourages you to raise concerns when you first see them.
The PIDA will protect you if you raise a concern providing the disclosure meets certain requirements and is made in good faith. The PIDA states that Employees, who raise concerns, have the right to not be victimised or dismissed by their employer as a result of their disclosure.
If you as an employee, have reasonable belief that a criminal offence, miscarriage of justice, fraud, corruption, threats to health & safety or any illegal activity has taken place, is taking place or is likely to take place, then you are able to whistleblow. These types of concerns will be classed as a qualifying disclosure.
The law is very clear if you’re a whistleblower. Whistleblowing is the term used when a worker passes on information concerning wrongdoing – typically (although not necessarily) be something they have witnessed at work. Normally you should go through an employers’ internal procedure or the relevant trade or government body when ‘blowing the whistle’ on any wrongdoing you uncover.
To be covered by whistleblowing law, a worker who makes a disclosure must reasonably believe two things. The first is that they are acting in the public interest. This means in particular that personal grievances and complaints are not usually covered by whistleblowing law. The second thing that a worker must reasonably believe is that the disclosure tends to show past, present or likely future wrongdoing falling into one or more of the following categories:
- criminal offences (this may include, for example, types of financial impropriety such as fraud)
- failure to comply with an obligation set out in law
- miscarriages of justice
- endangering of someone’s health and safety • damage to the environment
- covering up wrongdoing in the above categories
We appreciate that it is not always possible to go to your employer, especially if they are complicit in illegal or criminal activities. If you are an employee of a private hire, minicab or chauffeur company you could approach us under the following circumstances:
A minicab firm is using unlicensed drivers and vehicles contrary to current laws whilst providing ground transport for businesses or the general public. You also discover that the company isn’t insuring their vehicles correctly or involved in illegal activities such as car clocking.
You have the option of reporting offences to a local council, trading standards department or the police. However, you are not confident in disclosing this information because you would have to reveal your identity. LicensedTransportUncovered.com has worked with a significant number of whistleblowers over the years to enable cases to be investigated and where appropriate help bring criminal prosecutions.
You may work for a council or government body where failures lead to employees or senior management acting in way that constitutes them failing to uphold the law or conspiring to cover-up misconduct. As holders of public office these failings could result in the general public being put at risk, leaving potential whistleblowers concerned that if this information isn’t exposed would continue at the detriment of the public and others.
We operate to a strict code of conduct when working with whistleblowers and protect identities at all times, even if criminal cases are brought against companies or individuals. It is important that any person has evidence and information to support and backup their allegations. This will help us build cases, but also protect employees from any action being taken against them at a later date.
If you go to the media, you should be aware that in most cases you could lose your whistleblowing law rights. As a whistleblower you’re protected by law – you shouldn’t be treated unfairly or lose your job because you ‘blow the whistle’. It is only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ that a worker can go to the media without losing their rights. You must reasonably believe that the information disclosed and any allegation contained in it are substantially true and under no circumstances be acting for personal gain.
Unless the wrongdoing is exceptionally serious, if you have not already gone to your employer or a prescribed person, you must reasonably believe that an employer will subject you to “detriment” or conceal or destroy evidence if you do so. And even then, their choice to make the disclosure must be reasonable.
The wrongdoing you disclose must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others, eg the general public.
An example of whistleblowing involved the case of Collins v The National Trust in a case where Mr Collins gave a report to the media. Collins was a National Trust (NT) warden in charge of a stretch of north east coastline, which included the site of a former quarry.
Coastal erosion had created a real risk that chemicals and waste from the quarry would leak on to the beach. The NT and the local council had long been in dispute about what should be done and by whom. Collins was shown in confidence by the NT a report the council had obtained which highlighted the risks of further erosion. As the report was already a year old, Collins thought the site should be closed.
Two weeks later he passed the report to the local media, who wrote it up and quoted Collins. As a result, he was dismissed. He made a successful PIDA claim. The tribunal found that the disclosure was protected as an ‘exceptionally serious’ concern because children played on the beach and the public, relying on the NT’s reputation, would think it safe.
Protecting whistleblowers and sources
LicensedTransportUncovered.com gives whistleblowers and sources a personal guarantee that the identity of people who contact any member of our team will have the confidence and security that no persons identity will be divulged to any third party without the express permission of the whistle blower or source.
You are guaranteed that LicensedTransportUncovered.com works by the principle that ALL sources and whistleblowers identities are protected at all times and any information giver always remain confidential throughout, unless otherwise agreed by all parties.
At times we work with the national press and media to expose cases of a public interest to the wider public. This means that we have to discuss cases and the evidence we have obtained. We never disclose the sources who may have given us this evidence, however, for high profile cases a publication may require legal assistance exposing serious allegations.
If newspapers or the media require further information to clarify the credibility of sources they may require further information to be disclosed identifying the whistleblower of source. To further protect sources the media and newspapers can draw up confidentiality and anonymity agreements and supplied where necessary.
Protecting your identity as a whistleblower or source
Keeping the identity of a source or whistleblowers secure can be undermined if they tell anyone they are going to blow the whistle. You must be confident if you speak to anyone for advice or help that they are trustworthy and won’t disclose your identity your employer or third party.
Under no circumstances email information from your work to your own personal email address. Do not make telephone calls from your work place about whistleblowing as your employer can easily trace telephone numbers. If you don’t want to disclose your identity it is suggested you setup a Hotmail, Gmail or email address using another email provider not using your name.
It is also suggested you don’t link any new whistleblower email address to a current private or work email account. You can also purchase a Pay as You Go sim card which can act as a burn phone and used anonymously as long as you pay cash for it.
Documentary evidence is essential in exposing any wrong-doing, criminal activities or conspiracy to cover up wrong-doing. Photocopy any documents such as letters, faxes, e-mails, videos or photographs that may be relevant or you can also take pictures or screenshots and download to an external drive. It is important that you don’t change your pattern of behaviour before or after blowing the whistle.
You may be approached by investigators who are charged with investigating reports in the press and media that have been exposed through whistleblowers or internal sources. It is important that you react to events or internal investigations as if you are an outsider.
Whistleblowing law is located in the Employment Rights Act 1996 (as amended by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. It provides the right for a worker to take a case to an employment tribunal if they have been victimised at work or they have lost their job because they have ‘blown the whistle’.
Blowing the whistle for exceptional failure
If you believe you are blowing the whistle on an exceptionally serious failure in a workplace you do not need to go through the normal channels and can publicly blow the whistle straight away. It is not enough for something to be an exceptionally serious failure in your opinion alone (for example, if you don’t agree with a working practice). It must be a matter of fact that something is a genuinely serious failure. An example could be an exceptionally serious health and safety risk that is putting workers’ lives at risk.
The conditions given for blowing the whistle to others will not apply, if you:
- make the disclosure in good faith
- reasonably believe that the information is substantially true
- do not act for personal gain
- act reasonably taking into account the circumstances
You’re protected by law if you report any of the following:
- a criminal offence, eg fraud
- someone’s health and safety is in danger
- risk or actual damage to the environment
- a miscarriage of justice
- the company is breaking the law, eg doesn’t have the right insurance
- you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing