23 Jun 2011


The CAA is a “prescribed person” under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 for the purpose of receiving “protected disclosures” (whistle blowing) from the civil aviation industry.  As such, the CAA is 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 endeavour to respect the confidentiality of a whistleblower unless agreed otherwise with them. 

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. The whistleblower should be assured that CAA will endeavour to maintain confidentiality and that they will receive a response to their complaint/allegation.

Whistleblowers will be kept informed of progress with their complaints if requested. Whether the investigation is ongoing or has been concluded can be confirmed but information regarding specific details of the investigation may not necessarily be provided.
Where it is an employee or ex-employee of an organisation who makes a report, they should have initially contacted the organisation concerned, and where possible, followed the organisation’s internal complaints procedure.  This action will not prevent the CAA from exercising its regulatory responsibilities by investigating any report received.

Where a whistleblower offers to further their case by supplying copies of evidence or photographs already in their possession that may belong to an organisation, they 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. 

Whilst it may be possible to progress a whistleblowing complaint without speaking with the whistleblower, experience has indicated that this can result in wasted or duplicate effort in order to fully uncover the detailed facts.  As such, it is recommended that a telephone discussion or meeting take place.  Wherever 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. The whistleblower 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 assist 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.

The preferred method of reporting to the CAA is by email using the Whistleblowing report form or if this is not possible, reports may be given by calling the:
CAA Whistleblowing Focal Point 01293 573190
Public Concern at Work (PCaW)
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 Public Concern at Work (PCaW) for advice. PCaW 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

To find out more about how Public Concern at Work helps individuals, please visit 
About PCaW

Public Concern at Work (PCaW) is the independent authority on public interest whistleblowing. Established as a charity in 1993 following a series of scandals and disasters, PCaW 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

If you believe there is malpractice or wrongdoing happening in a workplace then you can ‘blow the whistle’ on the behaviour and you could be protected from losing your job and/or being victimised by your employer.
The official name for whistleblowing is ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’, however it is much more commonly called ‘blowing the whistle’ or ‘whistleblowing’. It means that if you believe there is wrongdoing in your workplace (e.g. your employer is committing a criminal offence) you can report this by following the correct processes, and your employment rights are protected.

If you decide to blow the whistle on an organisation you are protected and your employer cannot victimise you (e.g. by not offering you a promotion or other opportunities your employer would have otherwise offered).

Whistleblowers are protected for public interest, to encourage people to speak out if they find malpractice in an organisation or workplace.

Malpractice could be improper, illegal or negligent behaviour by anyone in the workplace.

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