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Consultation Responses and Policy Briefings


Consultations are our opportunity to share with Parliament and Government our unparalleled experience of advising 3,000 whistleblowers a year and working with hundreds of employers to improve workplace whistleblowing cultures. We respond to consultations so that we can argue for better laws and public policy to protect whistleblowers and the public interest. You can read our 2021 consultation responses by clicking the links below.

Protect Letter to Health and Social Care Committee (19.03.21)

We responded to the Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry into the Department of Health’s white paper “Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care”.

The white paper proposed a new Health Service Safety Investigations Body to investigate serious incidents of patient safety. We argued that any such body needs to be a prescribed person and should follow the principles in our Better Regulators Guide.

Protect Letter to PACA Committee (07.05.21)

We responded to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s inquiry on “Propriety of governance in light of Greensill”.

We argued that whistleblowing can help to identify conflicts of interest within the civil service and government, and argued for changes to be made to the Ministerial Code and Civil Service Commission to better protect whistleblowers.

Protect Letter to Public Accounts Committee (02.06.21)

We responded to the Public Accounts Committee’s inquiry on “Initial lessons from the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

We informed the Committee about the experiences of our Advice Line callers raising concerns about furlough fraud and public health risks. We made the case for legal standards on employers so that concerns are investigated and whistleblowers are not ignored, as well as explaining how regulators could better respond to whistleblowers during a public emergency.

Protect Letter to The Office for Product Safety & Standards (17.06.21)

We responded to the UK Product Safety Review.

We argued that mandatory standards on employers and regulators would better protect the public interest by ensuring that concerns about product safety are properly handled. We also recommended ways in which the Office for Product Safety & Standards could change its regulatory activities to improve transparency and confidence.

Protect Letter to BEIS (12.07.21)

We responded to the BEIS Department’s consultation on “Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance”.

We argued that a new regulator – The Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA) – should be a prescribed person under whistleblowing law. We also argued that ARGA should have powers to set and enforce whistleblowing standards amongst employers.

Protect Letter to The Law Commission (21.07.21)

We responded to The Law Commission’s consultation for its 14th Programme of Law Reform.

We argued that The Law Commission should consider whistleblowing law as one of its next projects for review because UK whistleblowing law is nearly 25 years old and the UK is falling behind internationally. There are many groups of people unprotected by the current law and changes need to be made to improve access to justice.

Protect and WIN Letter to The Home Office (22.07.21)

Protect and the Whistleblowing International Network (WIN) responded to The Home Office’s consultation on “Legislation to counter state threats”.

We argued that the Official Secrets Act 1989 needs to be reformed to include a public interest defence for whistleblowers. We also argued in favour of a Statutory Commissioner to receive whistleblowing concerns, and highlighted the importance of keeping pace with international developments.

Protect submission to The Law Commission consultation on corporate criminal liability (26.08.21)

We argued that if corporate bodies were to have a defence to criminal liability then evidence of strong whistleblowing arrangements should form a part of that defence. We also argued that regulators should have more powers to impose civil penalties on employers who maltreat whistleblowers rather than pursuing criminal prosecutions.

Protect’s Public Interest Defence Briefing in the Official Secrets Act 1989

We produced a briefing laying out the arguments for why there needs to be a public interest defence added to the Official Secrets Act 1989, and the dangers of the proposed reforms from the Home Office that is danger of making whistleblowing seen legally as an act of espionage.

Protect’s Response to the Inquiry: Mobilising Action on Climate Change and Environment: Behaviour Change

Protect responded to this call for evidence, highlighting the importance of whistleblowing in the environmental sector, the lack of awareness and reporting, and suggesting that whistleblowing should form part of any consideration as to how culture and behaviour can be changed in the sector.

Protect’s Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill 2022 Briefing

We have written a briefing outlining key whistleblowing issues connected to the new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill, including standards on regulators and standards on employers when dealing with concerns raised by whistleblowers.

Protect’s proposed amendments to the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill 2022  

We have also proposed amendments to the Bill following the suggestions in our briefing around regulators, a Commissioner to Protect Whistleblowers, and an anti-SLAPP provision.

Protect’s Briefing on the amendments of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill

On March 3, amendments were put down for the Secretary of State to establish a Commission for the Protection of Whistleblowers. Please see the above for our briefing on the amendment which was sent to Members of Parliament ahead of the debate on Monday.

UPDATED Protect’s Briefing on the amendments of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill

On 7 March, we sent this briefing to some members of the House of Lords with an additional explanation on the SLAPP amendments.

Response to the consultation, Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights 

Protect has responded to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation with focus on questions relating to Article 10, Freedom of Expression. Protect wants to ensure that the government considers the rights of whistleblowers and those who speak out in the public interest when considering reform and strengthening of this fundamental right. Protect also contributed to the Employment Lawyers Association’s working party response.

Protect has responded to the Ministry of Justice’s emergency call for evidence on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). In our own response, we have focused on the experience and risk of whistleblowers facing SLAPPs. We are also a join signatory to the Anti-SLAPP Coalition’s response.


You can find our response here.

Protect has responded to the Solicitor Regulation Authority’s consultation on health and wellbeing rule changes. The proposals by the SRA include a duty not to bully, harass or discriminate unfairly against colleagues, and for staff to challenge behaviour that does not meet this standard. We have proposed that this duty should also make it clear that negative treatment of whistleblowers or those who “challenge” conduct should not be permitted. We have also asked that the SRA put standards both internally – and on the firms that they regulate – to ensure that there are safe mechanisms in place for people to “challenge” such behaviour, i.e. raise concerns through whistleblowing.

You can find our response here.

Protect is concerned about the new National Security Bill introduced by the Home Office in May 2022.

We are particularly concerned about a possible impact on the ability of whistleblowers to raise corruption issues if, in doing so, their concern exposes a trade secret. We are also concerned that the text of the Bill is too widely drawn without any kind of public interest defence for whistleblowers (despite previous recommendations from the Law Commission). More detail is set out in our briefing here.

Protect has responded to the call for evidence from Margaret Beels, the Director of Labour Market Enforcement. We have argued that any consideration on how to improve compliance and enforcement must consider how to improve whistleblowing processes to ensure that workers are encouraged to speak up and raise their concerns.

You can read our full response here.

Protect is delighted that Kevan Jones MP and others have recently suggested an amendment to the new National Security Bill (NSB 2022) and Official Secrets Act (OSA 1989) to include a Public Interest Defence.

Our only suggestion is that, if it was accepted, improvements should be made to the drafting to remove reference to ‘good faith’.
Our concern is that including good faith as a factor when the courts determine whether the manner of a disclosure was in the public interest could result in many cases revolving around the motives and personality of the whistleblower rather than a discussion about whether the disclosure was in the public interest.

More detail is set out in our briefing here.

A briefing on why whistleblowing should be part of the new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill 2022. Read here

There is a clear need to reform the current whistleblowing framework, and there is much to support in the proposal to introduce an Office of the Whistleblower. However, we are concerned by the proposal at Clause 26, to repeal the current whistleblowing protection – the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). This would remove significant employment law rights for whistleblowers.

Read our full briefing, here

Read Protect’s briefing on the new Clause 7 to the Economic Crime & Corporate Transparency Bill 2023. Read our full briefing here

Read Protect’s briefing on the Back Bench Business Debate happening on the 22nd March 2023.  Read our full briefing here.

Protect written evidence to the Infected Blood Inquiry – 13/10/23 

We were asked to submitted evidence to the independent public statutory inquiry into the use of infected blood. 

The inquiry is examining why men, women and children in the UK were given infected blood and/or infected blood products while being treated by the NHS. 

We have set out our proposals regarding the reform of the Public Interest Disclose Act, the need to strengthen accountability and oversight at Board level, having mechanisms to amplify the whistleblower’s voice, impose standards on NHS trusts or healthcare providers and ensure regulators properly enforce these to improve the culture and practice of speaking up in the healthcare sector. 

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