Mary Robinson MP, Chair for the APPG on Whistleblowing, called on the Prime Minister to review the UK whistleblowing law during PMQ.
She said, “The failings of Greater Manchester police, which have led to it being placed in special measures, are well documented, including the failure to record 80,000 crimes, including domestic violence and sexual offences, in a single year. It is particularly important that the force addresses what the recent Manchester Evening News investigation called its “culture of denial…and secrecy”. After the horrific murder of Sarah Everard, it is crucial that we tackle the cover-up culture. Will my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister therefore join me in calling for Greater Manchester police to urgently review its internal culture? Will he also consider reforming the law on whistleblowing, so that people in Greater Manchester police and other organisations can speak up against wrongdoing in confidence?
In response, the Prime Minister did not clearly answer about reforming whistleblowing law. He did, however say the following: Yes. It is vital that people should have the confidence to speak up against wrongdoing wherever they find it, particularly, of course, in the police. I believe that the people of Greater Manchester deserve better. I support and agree with what my hon. Friend says.”
A review of whistleblowing is long overdue. “Robust protections for whistleblowers” were promised in the 2017-22 Anti Corruption Strategy which proposed a review of BEIS’ Whistleblowing guidance promised in 2017-2018 and a review of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act changes in 2018-19. Neither has happened. In March, a spokesperson for BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) – the government department responsible for whistleblowing, told The Daily Telegraph that the government would review whistleblowing rules (see here). Furthermore, in a BEIS consultation document, the government said it “acknowledges wider interest in making reforms to the whistleblowing framework and has committed to conducting a review in due course.”