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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Disclosure of information: public interest disclosures for public health or public safety

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005, section 20(6)

General

Information on threats to public health or public safety from any source (including individuals) can be considered for disclosure in the public interest (NMWM16100) to a person exercising public functions in relation to public health or public safety e.g. Health and Safety Executive. The threat need not be imminent or serious, but the proportionality and necessity of any disclosure must be carefully considered in every case. It is unlikely to be proportionate to disclose information relating to a minor incident which might put public health or public safety at risk.

When considering disclosure in the public interest under section 20(6) you must know how the information to be provided will enable the recipient to carry out their functions in relation to public health or public safety, and you must have a realistic expectation that the recipient will act on the information disclosed.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

See (NMWM16250) if you receive a request for information from the Health and Safety Executive.

Illustrative examples of the type of disclosures permitted under section 20(6):

Example 1; Where you become aware that a workplace is unsafe due to blocked or inadequate fire escapes or safety guards missing from dangerous machinery etc. disclosure to Health and Safety Executive is likely to be appropriate in cases where you would reasonably expect Health and Safety Executive to take action. To ensure that the disclosure is proportionate and necessary, you should only disclose the minimum information required to enable Health and Safety Executive to take action.

Example 2; Disclosure of information in the public interest would not be appropriate where there was no quantifiable threat to the public, for example where individuals are working while in receipts of benefits or have incorrect holiday entitlement, or where the intended recipient is unlikely to take any action over the information disclosed. There may be other lawful means to disclose such information to the appropriate bodies and you should refer to the Information Disclosure Guide for further guidance.