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Protection for whistle-blowers disclosing information to the ICO

Protection for whistle-blowers disclosing information to the ICO.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) and the Public Interest Disclosure (Northern Ireland) Order 1998

You may have seen reports in the media towards the end of last year about the alleged falsification of records to improve performance statistics. While such allegations relate to maladministration and fraud, organisations must recognise the issues around compliance with the DPA where the data involves personal information.

If you are aware of any evidence that an organisation has knowingly recorded personal information inaccurately in order to improve their performance then you should report the matter to our office by contacting [the ICO] helpline on 0303 123 1113. This is particularly important where the information is sensitive, such as that relating to an individual’s health. This is because the unlawful processing of such information is more likely to cause substantial distress and harm to the individuals concerned.

We have produced detailed guidance explaining the protection afforded to whistle-blowers who report potential breaches of the DPA or FOI Act to our office.