Report A Fraud

If you want to make a complaint to the SFO about serious wrongdoing at your place of work, you may come within the protected disclosure regime contained in the Protected Disclosures Act 2000.

If you would like more information or guidance about the protected disclosure regime, the Office of the Ombudsman is mandated under the Protected Disclosures Act to provide information and guidance to employees.

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office is an appropriate authority that can receive a disclosure of information under the Protected Disclosures Act, but only in certain circumstances.

First, you should check to see if you come within the definition of an employee. Section 3 of the Protected Disclosures Act sets out the definition that includes former employees, secondees, contractors and volunteers.

Your complaint must also relate to a serious wrongdoing. Serious wrongdoing includes:

  • unlawful, corrupt or irregular use of public money or resources
  • conduct that poses a serious risk to public health, safety, the environment or the maintenance of the law
  • any criminal offence
  • gross negligence or mismanagement by public officials.
    • To make a direct disclosure to the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, the criteria set out in section 9 of the Protected Disclosure Act 2000 must apply, specifically:
      • A disclosure of information may be made to an appropriate authority if the employee making the disclosure believes on reasonable grounds—

(a)   that the head of the organisation is or may be involved in the serious wrongdoing alleged in the disclosure; or

(b)   that immediate reference to an appropriate authority is justified by reason of the urgency of the matter to which the disclosure relates, or some other exceptional circumstances; or

(c)   that there has been no action or recommended action on the matter to which the disclosure relates within 20 working days after the date on which the disclosure was made.

What are the protections are available?

If you come within the Protected Disclosures Act regime, you will be protected in the following ways:

  • Your disclosure (including your identify) must be kept confidential unless disclosure is essential to:
    • the effective investigation of the allegations
    • prevent serious risk to public health or safety, or the environment
    • comply with the principles of natural justice.
  • You will be protected from civil and criminal proceedings
  • You will be protected from retaliatory action by your employee.
  • You will receive the protection of the anti-victimisation provisions of the Human Rights Act 1993.

Further information can be found on the Ombudsman’s website(external link).