10. Confidentiality and Anonymity

What is the difference between Confidentiality and Anonymity

10.1 The best way to raise a concern is to do so openly. Openness makes it easier for us to assess the issue, work out how to investigate the matter and obtain more information. A worker raises a concern confidentially if he or she gives his or her name on the condition that it is not revealed without his or her consent. It is important that this is a clear option for anyone to use when raising a concern.

10.2 A worker raises a concern anonymously if he or she does not give his or her name at all. If this happens, we will assess the anonymous information as best as we can to establish whether there is substance to the concern and whether it can be addressed.

What happens when the GOC look at the concern

10.3 You will be asked for your permission if your identity is required to be revealed to specific individuals for the purpose of investigation. We will always try to complete our initial assessment as fully as possible, however this may be limited if we do not receive your consent.

10.4 Following an initial assessment of the concern(s) raised, you will be asked for your consent for us to proceed to undertake any initial enquiries identified by the initial assessment. There may be times when we are unable to investigate a concern without revealing your identity, for example where your personal evidence is essential. In such cases, we will discuss with you whether and how the matter can best proceed.

10.5 In some circumstances, the GOC can act as the person raising the concern on your behalf in order to protect your identity. However, this is not always a possible or suitable way for handling every concern raised to us.

10.6 Where assurances of confidentiality are given, we will not disclose your identity unless required to do so by law. In rare cases where this might be a possibility, we will discuss it with you first.

10.7 You may choose to make an anonymous disclosure but it is important to consider the restrictions and implications that this may have on the effectiveness of any investigation. This includes limitations on conducting the investigation, protecting your identity, and giving feedback to you. Nevertheless, anonymous disclosures are preferred to silence about serious wrongdoing.