Guidance

The Certification Officer’s Role as a Prescribed Person

Guidance on making a disclosure protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, (whistleblowing) to the Certification Officer

Protected Disclosures and the Certification Officer

The relevant functions of the Certification Officer

  • the Certification Officer has responsibility for ensuring that trade unions and employers associations comply with certain statutory requirements relating to their financial affairs. The Certification Officer also has powers to investigate the financial affairs of trade unions and employers’ associations in certain specified circumstances
  • in addition, the Certification Officer is a designated or a ‘prescribed person’ under the Public Interest Disclosure Regulations 2014 in relation to relevant disclosures by employees/workers of trade unions and employers associations.
  • under Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the 2014 Regulations, employees/workers of a trade union or employers’ association may be protected if they make a relevant disclosure to the Certification Officer
  • a relevant disclosure to the Certification Officer is defined in the 2014 Regulations as being one related to fraud, and other irregularities relating to the financial affairs of trade unions and employers’ associations

For a disclosure to the Certification Officer to be protected it must also comply with the other requirements of Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which include, at section 43F, that the employee/worker making it must

  • make the disclosure in good faith;
  • reasonably believe that the relevant failure falls within the above description (namely, that it concerns fraud or other irregularity relating to the financial affairs of trade unions and employers’ associations)
  • reasonably believe that the information disclosed, and any allegation contained in it, are substantially true.

If you wish to make a disclosure under these provisions about the trade union or employers association for which you work, you may wish to seek independent legal advice or seek further information from the other sources identified below.

Making a disclosure to the Certification Officer

Employees/workers of a trade union or employers’ association who wish to alert the Certification Officer of a relevant concern can contact us: By email at: info@certoffice.org Or by post at: The Certification Office Lower Ground Floor 2-6 Salisbury Square London EX4Y 8JX

Whichever way you contact us, please tell us if you consider your disclosure is one which is covered by Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the 2014 Regulations. The Certification Officer will acknowledge any such contact and will conduct such enquiries as are appropriate.

Protection for whistleblowers

The protection given to whistleblowers and whistleblowing is found in Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996, by way of amendments introduced by Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Employment Rights Act makes it unlawful for employers to subject their employees/workers to detrimental treatment or victimisation if, they report certain types of wrongdoing (qualifying disclosures) to designated persons. It protects most workers in the public, private and voluntary sectors including those who work for trade unions or employers’ associations.

Other sources of information about whistleblowing

Information is available from the GOV.UK and also from the charity Public Concern at Work. Public Concern at Work provides free confidential advice to workers who have concerns about wrong-doing in the workplace. The charity can be contacted at

7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR or by telephone on 020 7404 6609 or at whistle@pcaw.org.uk

Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website http://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing

Published 1 June 2017