9 May 2015
By Bryan Smyth
The board of the Cork ETB (Cork Education and Training Board) has approved the introduction of the Making of Protected Disclosures policy for the organisation. This policy enables all employees of Cork ETB, contractors, suppliers, former employees and other stakeholders to report any serious and sensitive concerns and to be afforded protection while the issues are investigated in full.
The proactive step been taken by the Cork ETB is in line with the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, which provides protection for employees who have a ‘reasonable belief’ that there is wrongdoing afoot in the workplace. The legislation places significant new responsibilities on employers, company directors and on public bodies and brings with it a whole new focus on whistleblowing in Ireland.
The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 came into operation on 15 July 2014. The Act provides that employees who raise concerns (protected disclosures) about actual or potential wrongdoing in their workplace will benefit from a range of employment and other protections. These protections will apply where they are penalised by their employer or suffer any other detriment at the hands of others for making the disclosure. All public bodies are obligated to comply with this Act, and also to introduce policies and procedures in relation to the Protected Disclosures Act.
Speaking at the board meeting, Ted Owens, Chief Executive of the Cork ETB stated that “the organisation wanted to ensure that any person concerned with an issue, should be enabled to come forward”. The board unanimously approved and endorsed the Cork ETB Protected Disclosures Policy.
While public bodies are obligated to introduce policies in line with the Protected Disclosures Act, many organisations have yet to introduce the policies and procedures.
The new board for Cork ETB first convened in full in September 2014, and comprises representatives from the national parents’ association, education, business and youth organisations as well as the local authorities in Cork.