The law says you can raise your concerns outside your employer to a "prescribed person" such as a suitable regulator or inspector. There is a list of prescribed persons available on the government website here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/blowing-the-whistle-list-of-prescribed-people-and-bodies--2.
Not all organisations or types of concern have a suitable prescribed person but Members of Parliament are also prescribed, so you could consider talking to them about your concern.
There are many reasons why you may want to raise your concerns with a regulator.
Some people have a professional duty to report their concerns, for example if you are a Senior Manager in a firm regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
You may be concerned about the way your employer will act, and want to raise concerns with someone who can make a difference, without your employer knowing who blew the whistle.
Some organisations - for example the Care Quality Commission and the Health and Safety Executive - have an inspection function and may be able to incorporate the information you provide into their next inspection, or carry out an immediate inspection if there is an imminent risk of harm.
No, as long as you meet the tests to disclose to a prescribed person (see below) you do not have to go to your employer first.
If you disclose to a prescribed person you need to show that you reasonably believe that the information falls within the remit of that prescribed person, and that the information is substantially true. (Section 43F ERA).
Check who the prescribed person may be in relation to your concern - the list on www.gov.uk will help you identify the areas that each regulator covers.
Members of Parliament are included in the list of prescribed persons and may be a useful sounding board for your concerns, or may be willing to ask questions of your employer to ensure that the wrongdoing is tackled. However, MP's don't have the same power to enforce good practice as regulators. You can find out who your local MP is here.
If there is no prescribed person regulating your organisation, and you believe that evidence may be concealed or destroyed if you raise your concerns with your employer, you may meet the tests for making a wider disclosure - seek advice.
Most regulators will take a whistleblowing concern that is raised anonymously, but an anonymous report may be less likely to lead to a regulatory response, for example, if there is not enough information provided for the regulator to act and it is impossible for them to ask further questions.
However, many prescribed persons have sophisticated ways to deal with information on a confidential basis - so that your name need not be disclosed to anyone inside your organisation. If you are worried about being victimised if your employer finds out you have blown the whistle, mention this to the regulator concerned.