Our campaign for a new law
How many more scandals will it take for the Government to see the power of whistleblowing? Carillion. Mid Staffs. Grenfell. Wikileaks. Boeing. are just some of the many high-profile scandals to have rocked society in recent years. Would these scandals have ever happened if healthy speak up/listen up cultures existed?
Protect is campaigning for a new whistleblowing law to ensure whistleblowers in the UK get the best possible support before, during, and after they raise concerns; and accessible protection when things go wrong.
Current legislation – the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 – is not protecting enough whistleblowers and only covers a person after they have blown the whistle and if they can then prove they suffered from whistleblowing.
Whistleblowers are an invaluable asset to society. They need to know they can count on the law to protect them.
Protect's Whistleblowing Bill
With more than 25 years expertise built through supporting over 40,000 whistleblowers through our Advice Line, we understand whistleblowing like nobody else.
Our Whistleblowing Bill has been drafted to incorporate feedback from some of the UK’s leading legal minds, together with key academics and whistleblowers themselves.
We welcome further suggestions and comments as it is still a draft and blueprint for change.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute.
Why is a new Bill needed?
- The current law is inadequate – it only gives whistleblowers rights if they are dismissed or suffer some form of ‘detriment’, for example an unfair disciplinary.
- To use these rights, individuals must face their employer in the Employment Tribunal. There is no other way to access justice, and support for individuals is very limited.
- Relevant individuals, such as trustees, trainees and volunteers are excluded from the law.
- There are no official standards for whistleblowing that employers need to meet, or recognised procedures for them to follow.
- Regulators are unaccountable for the way they treat whistleblowers. Whistleblowers cannot bring a claim against a regulator – only against their employer.
- Whistleblowers don’t get legal aid and must pay for all their legal fees personally, with no prospect of recovering the costs – even if they win.
What we are calling for:
- Extend the scope of the law to include all those who raise concerns in a work-related context, e.g. volunteers and people in training.
- Increase what kinds of concerns can be considered ‘whistleblowing’, to include breaches of the employers’ policies and mismanagement of public funds.
- Introduce mandatory standards for employers, including arrangements to ensure that employers are dealing with whistleblowing concerns effectively, and pro-actively protecting whistleblowers.
- Ensure individuals who whistleblow to trade unions representatives are protected.
- Set official whistleblowing standards for recognised regulators to follow, to promote consistency across Britain’s range of industries.
- Establish template wording in settlement agreements to avoid gagging clauses being used to silence whistleblowers.
- Provide legal protection to those who are mistakenly identified as a whistleblower, or who are considering whistleblowing.
- Create an Independent Whistleblowing Commissioner, to investigate where concerns have been mishandled, set standards for employers and prescribed persons (as in point 3 and 5), improve public awareness, and impose fines on employers or regulators for breaching the standards.
- Increase the time limit individuals have to bring a claim in Employment Tribunal.
- Secure legal aid for whistleblowing cases.