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Pan-Sector Network Meeting – the National Guardian Office

Head of Policy at Protect, Andrew Pepper-Parsons spoke at the National Guardian Office Pan Sector Conference on our recent work with regulators and professional bodies, the aim of which is to explore the challenges and opportunities these bodies have when receiving whistleblowing concerns, and in particular in handling and responding to the individual raising the concern.

The NGO, which supports positive cultural change across the NHS through supporting a network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, arranged and hosted the event with delegates from a diverse industries to and industries to talk about the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

Other speakers included academic Wim Vandekerckhove who presented a report of the findings from whistleblower research in Australia, one of which demonstrated the positive impact of carrying out a risk assessment at the point of disclosure, and how this can benefit both the whistleblower and the employer, in addition to reducing the impact of stress on the employee.

Sean Parker from the Civil Aviation Authority spoke about how the CAA had used its statutory statement of purpose to resist Freedom of Information requests made by the media. This prevented information given in confidence by whistleblowers being exploited for commercial benefit, where this would not improve flight safety. GDPR has stipulated the information only be used or the purpose that it was given, so if the media is unable to confirm how it will use these disclosures to improve flight safety, the regulator can resist this request.