Protected Disclosures including Whistleblowing and Infringement Reports

 

What is a Protected Disclosure (including Whistleblowing and Infringement Reports)?

In summary where a person makes a disclosure in good faith to the Central Bank or one of its employees, and the person making the disclosure has reasonable grounds for believing that the disclosure will show that there has been a breach of, or offence under, financial services legislation or the concealment or destruction of evidence relating to such an offence or breach and provides their name, the disclosure is a protected disclosure.

 

In broad terms, the protections which accompany a protected disclosure are:

  • The confidentiality of the identity of the person making the protected disclosure. This is subject to certain exclusions – for example where disclosure is necessary for the effective investigation of any matter or is required by law.
  • The person making the protected disclosure is protected from civil liability.
  • The person making the protected disclosure has a right of action in tort.
  • Where the person making the disclosure is an employee, their employer may not penalise or threaten penalisation for making the protected disclosure and an employer may be prosecuted for penalising an employee. In addition, employees are protected from dismissal.
  • Anonymous disclosure can be submitted to the Central Bank by workers - such disclosures can be treated as a protected disclosure under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014. However, where anonymous reports are not provided by a worker then under the Central Bank (Supervision & Enforcement) Act 2013, such anonymous reports are not protected disclosures.

 

Confidentiality

  • The Central Bank has a legal obligation to protect the identity of the person who makes a disclosure report
  • The Central Bank will not inform a regulated financial services firm that a disclosure has been made.
  • The identity of the whistleblower may be disclosed where the person provides their consent.
  • The Central Bank may be obliged to disclose the identity of the person in limited circumstances where there is a legal basis for doing so.

 

Procedures

  • The Central Bank will acknowledge receipt of the Report to the postal or electronic address indicated by the Reporting person.
  • The Central Bank may contact the person making the Report to clarify the information reported or to request additional information that may be available to that person
  • Feedback will be provided to individuals making Reports where possible.

 

Whistleblower Disclosures

Where a person wishes to disclose to the Central Bank an alleged offence, breach of financial services legislation or concealment or destruction of evidence of such, under the Central Bank (Supervision & Enforcement) Act 2013 they may make the disclosure through the following channels.

Should you call the whistleblower telephone line out of hours and leave a message including your contact details, we will call you back within one working day to acknowledge receipt of your disclosure. Should you raise your disclosure via e-mail, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement of receipt and we will make further contact with you thereafter, if the need arises. Should your submit your disclosure by post, you will receive a written acknowledgement within three working days of receipt (if your include your return postal address).

  • E-mail: confidential@centralbank.ie
  • Telephone: 1890 130014
  • Post: Whistleblowing Desk, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 11517, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, D01 W920.
Central Bank of Ireland 2017 Report on Protected Disclosures | pdf 189 KB Central Bank of Ireland 2016 Report on Protected Disclosures | pdf 88 KB Central Bank of Ireland 2015 Report on Protected Disclosures | pdf 7 KB

Pre-approval Controlled Function (PCF) Disclosures

Persons holding PCF roles in regulated firms who need to make a disclosure of an alleged offence, breach of financial services legislation or concealment or destruction of evidence of such in their firm are requested to make the disclosure by completing the form below and submitting it either by e-mail or post to the addresses provided.

Should you call the protected disclosures telephone line out of hours and leave a message including your contact details, we will call you back within one working day to acknowledge receipt of your disclosure. Should you raise your disclosure via e-mail, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement of receipt and we will make further contact with you thereafter, if the need arises. Should your submit your disclosure by post, you will receive a written acknowledgement within three working days of receipt (if your include your return postal address).

  • E-mail: Protecteddisclosures@centralbank.ie
  • Telephone: 1890 130015 (for general queries only)  
  • Post: PCF Disclosure Desk, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 11517, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, D01 W920.
Pre-approval Controlled Function S.38(2) Disclosure Form | doc 20 KB

 

Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (Central Bank of Ireland is a prescribed person)

Where a worker wishes to make a Report to the Bank under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 relating to breaches of financial services legislation by their employer they may make the disclosure through the following channels.

Should you call the telephone line out of hours and leave a message including your contact details, we will call you back within one working day to acknowledge receipt of your disclosure. Should you raise your disclosure via e-mail, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement of receipt and we will make further contact with you thereafter, if the need arises. Should your submit your disclosure by post, you will receive a written acknowledgement within three working days of receipt (if your include your return postal address).

  • E-mail: confidential@centralbank.ie
  • Telephone: 1890 130014
  • Post : Protected Disclosures Desk, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 11517, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, D01 W920. 

Market Abuse Regulations

Where a person wishes to report an actual or potential infringement of the Market Abuse Regulations they may make the Report through the following channel.

Should you call the telephone line out of hours and leave a message including your contact details, we will call you back within one working day to acknowledge receipt of your disclosure. Should you raise your disclosure via e-mail, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement of receipt and we will make further contact with you thereafter, if the need arises. Should your submit your disclosure by post, you will receive a written acknowledgement within three working days of receipt (if your include your return postal address).

  • E-mail: confidential@centralbank.ie (please refer to MAR infringement in email)
  • Telephone: 1890 130014
  • Post : MAR Disclosures Desk, Central Bank of Ireland, PO Box 11517, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, D01 W920. 


 
A person making a Report to the Central Bank can also seek to have a meeting with dedicated staff members of the Central Bank.

 

Overview of the Legislation

Please note that the Central Bank cannot give you legal advice if you are thinking about making a disclosure. You should contact a lawyer if you are unsure of your position.

Part 5 of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (“the Act”)

The Act came into force on 1 August 2013. This introduced new protections for persons making protected disclosures to the Central Bank as well as new obligations on certain categories of persons in firms to disclose breaches of financial services legislation to the Central Bank.

 

Obligation on PCF’s to report breaches of financial services legislation (S. 38 (2) Disclosures)

A person appointed to perform a pre-approval controlled function (“PCF”) is required under Section 38 of the Act, to disclose to the Central Bank information relating to a breach of, or offence under, financial services legislation or the concealment or destruction of evidence relating to such an offence or breach which he or she believes will be of material assistance to the Central Bank.

 

Protected Disclosures Acts 2014 (“PD Act”)

A worker can make a Report to the Bank under the PD Act relating to breaches of financial services legislation by their employer as the Bank is a prescribed person by virtue of S.I. NO. 339/2014 Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (Section 7(2)) Order 2014.

 

ECB/Single Supervisory Mechanism Regulation

The EU SSM Regulation establishing the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which formally commenced on 4 November 2014, includes a provision in respect of reporting of breaches, i.e. whistleblower reports: Article 23. Under the Regulation, persons with information on potential breaches of relevant EU law by banks and/or by competent authorities, including the Central Bank, can report such breaches to the ECB.

Reports received by the Central Bank in respect of the significant supervised entities, i.e., major Banks in Ireland and in respect of prudential issues, must be submitted to the ECB by the Central Bank for processing, in accordance with the SSM Regulation. Reports in respect of less significant supervised entities where the Report is in respect of an alleged breach of an ECB decision or regulation or where the Report is in respect of the Central Bank will also need to be submitted to the ECB. Where such Reports are in respect of breaches of the Central Bank's code of conduct or anti-money laundering these are not sent to the ECB and are assessed by the Central Bank.

Market Abuse - European Union (Market Abuse) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No.349 of 2016)

The Regulations impose obligations on the Central Bank to have appropriate structures and processes in place to receive Reports of actual or potential infringements of market abuse law. The SI does not create a separate type of protected disclosure in respect of infringements of market abuse law, but sits with existing protections for persons making protected disclosures under the CB(S&E) Act 2013 and PD Act 2014.


Please note that where there is any divergence between this information and the legislation then the language of the legislation prevails.