Who can make a report under the CAA’s whistleblowing policy?
Anyone can make a report, but please read the information below first as not all complaints or reports will be handled under this process e.g. a personal grievance or complaint that does not have the potential to cause harm to the general public.
The CAA is a “prescribed person” under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 for the purpose of receiving “protected disclosures” (whistleblowing) regarding compliance with the requirements of civil aviation legislation, including aviation safety and aviation security (including cyber security).
We are directly responsible for investigating any information of this nature that is received. A “worker” (which definition includes employees, independent contractors, agency workers and trainees) may make a complaint to the Employment Tribunal if he or she suffers a detriment as a result of making a “protected disclosure”. An employee will be regarded as having been unfairly dismissed if the reason or principal reason for their dismissal is the making of a protected disclosure.
On occasion the CAA will receive allegations/complaints that may not be classed as whistleblowing and as such, the protection to the source is not that afforded to whistleblowers.
The CAA will respect the confidentiality of a whistleblower unless agreed otherwise with them and will process any information relating to individuals in accordance with our General Privacy Notice.
The CAA will investigate all complaints in an appropriate manner, but in order to achieve this, the contact details for the whistleblower will be required.
Making a report
If you make a report you will:
- receive a response to your complaint/allegation
- be kept informed of progress with the complaint(s) if requested.
Whether the investigation is ongoing or has been concluded can be confirmed but in most cases it is not appropriate to provide specific details of the investigation.
Reports by aviation industry employees or ex-employees
Before making a report to the CAA you should:
- contact the organisation concerned
- follow the organisation’s internal complaints procedure.
This action will not prevent the CAA from exercising its regulatory responsibilities by investigating any report received.
Employees and contracted personnel may report to the CAA via this whistleblowing process alleged infringements of the Occurrence Reporting Regulation 376/2014 as prescribed by Article 16(12) of that Regulation.
Reports made by the public
Before submitting a report under this process, please read our guidance on reporting a public safety concern.
Copies of evidence or photographs can be accepted for the purposes of the investigation on the understanding that they will later be either destroyed (to protect confidentiality) or returned to the organisation concerned.
The reporting process
We recommend that whistleblowing reports include contact by phone or face to face meetings.
While it may be possible to progress a whistleblowing complaint without speaking with the whistleblower, this can result in wasted or duplicate effort in order to fully uncover the detailed facts.
Where possible, interviews with whistleblowers should take place on CAA premises with another CAA member of staff present as a witness. It can be very difficult to verify allegations without adequate detailed information. Reports should provide as much detailed evidence as possible, either hard copy or by email, not just verbal allegations.
In some cases of whistleblowing the CAA will not be the responsible authority. The CAA will help the whistleblower in identifying the correct authority. Other responsible authorities could be the US Federal Aviation Administration, European Aviation Safety Agency, Ministry of Defence or other National Aviation Authorities.
How to contact us
If this is not possible, reports can be made by calling the CAA Whistleblowing Focal Point on 0330 138 2847.
Protect (Formally Public Concern at Work)
If you are concerned about malpractice, wrongdoing or a safety risk at work and you are unsure whether to raise this with the CAA, you may find it helpful to contact the independent whistleblowing charity Protect (formerly known as Public Concern at Work) for advice. Protect can talk to you about how best to raise your concern, while minimising any risk to you and maximising the opportunity for the problem to be addressed. You can call them on 0207 404 6609 or email email@example.com.
You can find out more about whistleblowing from the Protect website.
Protect is the independent authority on public interest whistleblowing. Established as a charity in 1993 as 'Public Concern at Work' following a series of scandals and disasters, Protect has played a leading role in putting whistleblowing on the governance agenda and in developing legislation in the UK and abroad. Their work is informed by the free advice offered to people with whistleblowing dilemmas and the professional support provided to enlightened organisations. For more information please see www.protect-advice.org.uk.
The CAA will investigate all disclosures of information in accordance with our statutory duties, where sufficient information has been provided to enable a meaningful investigation.
The disclosures identified below, where we were able to take further action, were investigated, or passed on to another appropriate authority for investigation, in accordance with our whistleblowing policy while applying our enforcement policy as the individual case required.
Information disclosed to the CAA under the whistleblowing process can greatly assist us in performing our regulatory oversight functions. The value each disclosure provides us in achieving our role, is evaluated upon closure of each investigation and usually splits approximately evenly between High, Medium and Low. During 2020-2021 this changed to half of the reports being of low value and is believed to be associated with the impact on aviation of the global pandemic, evident in the reduction in reports received.
How reports are categorised
Intelligence directly contributed to CAA enforcement activity or the protection of consumers through other intervention.
Intelligence was of value to the CAA and contributed to the discharge of its functions.
Intelligence was of little value and is unlikely to assist the CAA in the discharge of its functions.
|Total number of disclosures of information handled by the CAA under its whistleblowing process, including qualifying disclosures||202||242||265||317||220|
The number of those disclosures of information where the CAA were able to take further action
|The number of qualifying disclosures of information that were made by a worker to the CAA, where we believe the disclosure of information is a qualified disclosure within the meaning of section 43B of the Employment Rights Act 1996||82||75||104||96||62|
The number of qualifying disclosures of information where the CAA were able to take further action
Guidance on definitions
To be covered by whistleblowing law, the disclosure must be a 'qualifying disclosure'. This is any disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure, is made in the public interest and tends to show that one or more of the following has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur:
- a criminal offence (this may include, for example, types of financial impropriety such as fraud);
- a breach of a legal obligation;
- a miscarriage of justice;
- danger to the health or safety of any individual;
- damage to the environment;
- the deliberate covering up of wrongdoing in the above categories.
Worker includes a person who works for or who has worked for the organisation being reported within the meaning of section 43K of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
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