In June the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Whistleblowing released their report outlining the experiences of whistle-blowers in the UK and highlighting where legislation continues to fail individuals seeking its protection.
Following responses from over 400 individuals the APPG have branded the current regulatory framework ‘complicated, cumbersome, obsolete and fragmented’.
To remedy this the APPG have recommended the following 10-point plan:
1. For ‘whistle-blower’ to be defined in law.
2. For the legal definition of whistleblowing to be revised to include harmful violation of integrity and ethics, even where these are neither criminal nor illegal.
3. For whistle-blower protection to be extended to all members of the public and to include protection against retaliation.
4. The introduction of mandatory internal and external reporting mechanisms and protections – these should include penalties for all those failing to meet requirements across sectors and should apply even to those sectors currently outside of regulations.
5. A review of compensation awarded in the employment tribunal.
6. A review of barriers to justice – including access to legal aid and measures to rectify the current inequality of arms.
7. The banning of non-disclosure agreements in whistleblowing cases.
8. Introduction of public awareness and best practice campaigns to improve the current regulatory framework.
9. A review of the prescribed persons list – providing a more comprehensive guide to their role and introducing measures to ensure they fulfil their responsibilities.
10. The establishment of an Independent Office for the Whistle-blower with the power to set standards, enforce protections, and administer penalties.
What does this mean for you?
The above is only the first of three reports the APPG are set to publish. While the report sets out many areas for improvement, the focus areas appear to be;
• prevention of retaliation and inactivity after a disclosure has been made;
• public awareness of whistleblowing.
Businesses should be pre-emptive and seek to implement whistleblowing policies as soon as possible. Those who have policies in place may want to review these to ensure they are clear on how protected disclosures will be handled.
If you’d like support reviewing or implementing a whistleblowing policy, please contact us.