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Protect launch Whistleblowing Bill

Protect is launching a campaign for new legislation to make whistleblowing protection for people the best in the world.

Protect Chief Executive, Francesca West, said, “For some time now, we’ve been calling on the Government to review and extend the current legislation – the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) 1998, which does not provide sufficient protection for all people who speak up about workplace wrongdoing and does not require positive action from employers to support and protect staff.

“We have supported a number of whistleblowers who have had to challenge gaps in the law at the highest level. Our new Bill seeks to address these gaps and ensure consistent practice amongst employers.”

For many years, the UK has led the way in providing workplace protection for whistleblowers. However, new laws in Ireland and Australia, together with the introduction of a new EU Whistleblowing Directive rolled out across Europe by 2021means there is a danger that workers’ rights in the UK will fall behind. The EU Directive was finally approved this month.

Protect wants the same EU protection as a minimum standard for whistleblowers in the UK and believes the law should require more of employers, particularly in relation to preventing victimisation of whistleblowers in the workplace.

Ahead of the new Queen’s Speech on 14 October, Protect is launching its campaign for a new whistleblowing law and drafted a Bill with support from leading lawyers and top QC James Laddie to ensure whistleblowing in the UK is gold standard and the best in the world. Following the Queen’s Speech, Protect are seeking an MP to support the Bill as a Private Members Bill.

Protect was instrumental in lobbying for PIDA but recognises new legislation is long overdue and piecemeal changes to PIDA law have led to inconsistencies and loopholes.

As well as lobbying Parliament with our new Whistleblowing Bill, Protect will be engaging with a diverse group of stakeholders to seek their views on the draft Bill including whistleblowing groups and campaigners such as the Whistleblowing APPG, and civil society groups who are calling for change and better protection for whistleblowers.

NHS Whistleblower, Peter Duffy, who Protect supported, said, “I fully support Protect’s campaign for enhanced protection for UK whistleblowers.  PIDA was world leading in 1998  but now falls short of the whistleblower protections offered elsewhere in the world.  I very much welcome QC James Laddie’s involvement in Protect’s campaign and look forward to legislation that offers comprehensive protection to whistleblowers, and thereby enhances public safety. ”