The Department for Business and Trade has launched a review of the current legal regime that supports workers who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing in the workplace. There have been ongoing discussions about whether the current legal regime relating to whistleblowing is still fit for purpose 25 years on, and whether more can be done to facilitate disclosures.
The Government whistleblowing review has identified five core research questions:
- How has the whistleblowing framework facilitated disclosures?
- How has the whistleblowing framework protected workers?
- Is whistleblowing information available and accessible for workers, employers, prescribed persons and others?
- What have been the wider benefits and impacts of the whistleblowing framework, on employers, prescribed persons and others?
- What does best practice look like in responding to disclosures?
Implications for employers
This review offers an opportunity to examine often-cited criticisms of the complex current regime and consider whether any changes are required.
Currently, only “workers” (which, in this context, includes employees and consultants) are afforded protection. However, there is no protection for individuals such as volunteers, interns and job applicants. Protect’s view is that the current regime is not protecting enough workers and it also argues that the scope of what concerns can be considered “whistleblowing” should be extended. Protect also considers that organisations should be required to set up “whistleblowing arrangements that work”.
The outcome of the review is awaited with interest and in the meantime, employers should ensure that their whistleblowing arrangements and policies are well-publicised and whistleblowers know what support is available to them.
In an article first published in People Management on 19 June 2023, Blake Morgan solicitor Milly Dent considers the complexities of the current whistleblowing legislation and goes into more depth on the implications of the review for employers.
You can read the article in full here.
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