Office for Nuclear Regulation

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Information on whistleblowing

Date released
Day Month 2016
Request number
201602174
Release of information under
Freedom of Information Act 2000

Information requested

I am currently conducting research on whistleblowing by workers to regulators and enforcement bodies. The research has two strands. The first strand (question 1 below) considers your general role as a prescribed regulator in handling whistleblowing concerns.  The second strand (questions 2-7) is more specific and concerns your handling of whistleblowing concerns raised by migrant workers (the aim of this particular strand is to consider vulnerable migrant workers as whistleblowers).

Please provide the following information:

Information regarding your duties as a prescribed regulator:

  1. Please provide details of the number of workers who have contacted you in relation to your duties as a prescribed regulator between the years 2011-2016. Please include the following details:
    1. Whether each individual contacted you on an anonymous, confidential, or self identified basis
    2. a brief summary of the types of concerns raised
    3. If information was passed on to another regulator or local authority enforcement team please indicate this and specify whether the concern was monitored by you following referral.
    4. In respect of both ii and iii above, please identify (if appropriate) whether any subsequent action was taken.

Information regarding the handling of whistleblowing concerns from vulnerable migrant workers:

  1. Please identify whether you have a policy/ policies for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
  2. If the answer to the above is yes, please disclose your policies/ internal guidelines.
  3. Please identify whether you have specific procedures for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
  4. If the answer to the above is yes, please identify what these procedures are.
  5. Please identify whether you are able to receive whistleblowing concerns in languages other than English.
  6. If the answer is yes, please identify how your organisation would handle concerns raised in another language.

Information released

Please allow us to provide some context to your query - ONR has only been a prescribed regulator since the organisation vested as a statutory corporation in 2014. Prior to this we were a directorate of the Health and Safety Executive (the Nuclear Directorate), and later an agency of HSE. For the years 2011-April 2014, all whistleblowing reports would have been processed by HSE. The following answers cover the period April 2014 to present.

To take your questions in order:

Information regarding your duties as a prescribed regulator:

  1. Please provide details of the number of workers who have contacted you in relation to your duties as a prescribed regulator between the years 2011-2016. Please include the following details:
    1. Whether each individual contacted you on an anonymous, confidential, or self identified basis
      Two contacted us on a self-identified basis, one anonymously.
    2. a brief summary of the types of concerns raised
      Two whistleblowing concerns were in respect of safety practices at nuclear sites, one was an employee relations dispute.
    3. If information was passed on to another regulator or local authority enforcement team please indicate this and specify whether the concern was monitored by you following referral.
      One was transferred to ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), as it did not fall within our regulatory remit. ONR did not monitor it after it was transferred.
    4. In respect of both ii and iii above, please identify (if appropriate) whether any subsequent action was taken.
      Subsequent action to verify the claims were made in respect of the two that fell within our regulatory remit. ONR was satisfied that the issues raised did not warrant further action.

Information regarding the handling of whistleblowing concerns from vulnerable migrant workers:

  1. Please identify whether you have a policy/ policies for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
    ONR does not have a specific policy for handling whistleblowing concerns from migrant workers. Any whistleblowing would be channelled into ONR through our current general whistleblowing statement, which can be found on our website at: http://www.onr.org.uk/complaining-about-onr.htm. I have also attached a flowchart for internal use and our internal guidance on whistleblowing for your information. Please note that three names have been redacted from these documents under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act, as they are insufficiently public facing/senior to warrant the release of their details.
  2. If the answer to the above is yes, please disclose your policies/ internal guidelines.
    Please see above
  3. Please identify whether you have specific procedures for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
    ONR does not have specific procedures for handling whistleblowing concerns received from migrant workers.
  4. If the answer to the above is yes, please identify what these procedures are.
    N/A
  5. Please identify whether you are able to receive whistleblowing concerns in languages other than English.
    We are able to receive concerns in any language.
  6. If the answer is yes, please identify how your organisation would handle concerns raised in another language.
    ONR has access to in-house translator services, which would allow us to understand the concern and respond to it in whichever language was needed. Otherwise, the same policies/processes would be followed.

Exemptions applied

None.

PIT (Public Interest Test) if applicable

Not required.