The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 requires public bodies to publish an annual report setting out the number of protected disclosures made the previous year, and the actions that were taken.

The Act protects employees after they raise concerns over potential wrongdoing in the workplace.

How are disclosures made to the Commission?

There are a number of ways in which you can make a disclosure under the Act – for example, to your employer or, sometimes, to an external “prescribed” person.

The Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation (referred to in the protected disclosure regulations as the Secretary to the Standards in Public Office Commission) is a prescribed person under the Act (Statutory Instrument 339 of 2014, as amended by Statutory Instrument 448 of 2015).

What kind of disclosures can be made?

You can make disclosures to the Head of Ethics and Lobbying Regulation on matters relating to the supervision of:

  • The Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001 – including investigations and reports on possible breaches of the Acts
  • The Electoral Acts 1992 to 2014, such as:
    • The disclosure of donations to political parties, members of the Oireachtas, members of the European Parliament, and candidates at elections to the Dáil, Seanad and the European Parliament
    • The obligations of third parties
    • The obligations of corporate donors
    • The monitoring of election candidates’ and political parties’ spending limits
    • The monitoring of political party use of Exchequer funding
  • The Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) (Amendment) Act 2014 (No 6 of 2014) in regard to political parties’ and independents’ use of parliamentary activities allowances

Reports of protected disclosures to the Standards Commission

No new protected disclosures were received in 2020. A disclosure made in 2019 remained under consideration in 2020.

One protected disclosure was received in 2019, which was considered by the Commission in accordance with the provisions of the Ethics Acts. The complaint was still under consideration at the time of this report.

One protected disclosure was received in 2018, however, having considered the complaint the Commission was of the view that there was insufficient information to proceed and the complainant was notified accordingly.

A protected disclosure received in late 2017 was examined by the Commission and was subsequently closed in 2018.  

One protected disclosure was received in 2017, which was considered by the Commission in accordance with provisions of the Ethics Acts.  The Commission considered that many of the issues raised were not within its remit and fell instead within the remit of other public bodies.  A response issued accordingly. However, as one of the matters raised did fit within the Commission's mandate, it was referred for assessment in accordance with the Ethics in Public Office Acts. Consideration of the matter is ongoing as at the time of this report.  

There were no protected disclosures received.