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Durham e-Theses
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Crown Servants and Unauthorised Disclosures: Whistleblowing, Executive Accountability and the Public Interest

SAVAGE, ASHLEY,CHRISTIAN (2012) Crown Servants and Unauthorised Disclosures: Whistleblowing, Executive Accountability and the Public Interest. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The unauthorised disclosure of official information has caused embarrassment to successive governments regardless of political affiliation. At times, the disclosure of highly important documents pertaining to national security has reportedly caused immeasurable harm to the defence of the realm and damaged international cooperation. The protection of national security may however be used as a shield behind which malpractice can occur. Use of the Official Secrets Acts to prosecute Crown Servants for the unauthorised disclosure of information damaging to the reputation of government has proved controversial. Crown servants operate in an environment whereby a relationship of trust and loyalty is paramount to the running of government in a democratic society. Crown servants, however, remain in a unique position to witness acts of malpractice or maladministration. When other checks and balances fail, the Crown servant is faced with the unenviable prospect of allowing the malpractice to continue or to blow the whistle.

This thesis provides an assessment of the existing officially prescribed mechanisms for Crown servants to blow the whistle and the position of the Crown servant as a journalistic source. It considers Crown servants in the Civil Service and is extended to provide two distinct case studies of servants in the UK intelligence community and members of the UK armed forces.

This thesis critically evaluates the available whistleblower procedures alongside the current mechanisms used to hold the government and its departments to account, concluding that there are significant gaps in the current processes. Comparative analysis of other jurisdictions is used to bolster understanding with the objective of providing a number of key recommendations to provide strong, viable, alternatives to unauthorised disclosures.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Whistleblowing, whistle-blowing, Civil Service, Civil Service Code, Leaking, Official Secrets Act, Journalistic Sources, Freedom of Expression
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Jun 2012 15:49

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