As of December 2022, Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) are ‘Prescribed Persons’
This is a positive step to extend the scope of whistleblowing law in Scotland, and increase vital protections to whistleblowers.
Protect are proud to be using our expertise in whistleblowing law to offer bespoke training to MSPs and their staff. Over the course of 8 training sessions, to over 140 MSPs and staff, we cover the legal landscape and provide practical advice about how to deal with concerns of risk, wrongdoing or malpractice at work.
What is a prescribed person?
Under UK whistleblowing legislation, a prescribed person is an individual or organisation that usually has an authoritative relationship over organisations, industries or individual workers, such as regulators and professional bodies.
Prescribed persons provide workers with a mechanism to make their whistleblowing disclosure to an independent body where the worker does not feel able to disclose directly to their employer, or as a route of escalation where the workers feel their concerns have been ignored or no action has been taken by the employer.
Why is being a ‘prescribed’ relevant?
Being prescribed means that it will be easier for workers to gain protection under the law if they go to their MSP with whistleblowing concerns. It will also make it easier for them to bring claims against their employer if they are negatively treated as a result of going to the MSP.
Workers may need to contact an MSP for assistance to escalate their concern, or to apply pressure to a regulator or employer to take action on a concern. In some instances workers may not feel able to raise concerns to their employer at all out of fear of detriment . Raising a concern with an MSP is an easier test to pass than making a “wider disclosure” to the media.
What are MSPs responsibilities now?
Whistleblowers are the eyes and ears of an organisation. They are a crucial resource for our democratic institutions to ensure things are working the way they should.
MSPs can act as a pressure mechanism to get workers’ concerns appropriately dealt with. Especially when there is no regulator to deal with the concerns, or they are unable to act.
Our sessions will help MSPs identify whistleblowing concerns, judge whether they meet the legal definition, and what they can do to get the concerns dealt with appropriately. Our training focusses on the legal claims a whistleblower can use, practical tips on how to effectively and safely raise and escalate concerns and how MSPs can build and maintain trust. At Protect we campaign for a world where no whistleblower goes unheard or unprotected. MSPs becoming prescribed is a decisive step towards achieving this.