Government reforms (3): Whistleblowing consultation

whistle-blowingWhat do we already know?

In our July Newsletter Government reforms (3): Whistle-blowing updatewe updated you on the Government’s response to the comments made following its call for evidence. Part of that response was to introduce a duty on a prescribed person to report annually on what whistleblowing has occurred.

As a reminder, a “prescribed person” is essentially a regulator i.e. someone, other than an employer, to whom a disclosure may be made in relation to certain matters. For example, Local Authorities, the Health & Safety Executive and the Office of Fair Trading are prescribed persons. The conditions for making such a disclosure are more stringent than the conditions for making a protected disclosure to the employer.

What’s new?

The Government is consulting on the reporting requirements of prescribed persons. It has published its consultation Prescribed Persons: Annual Reporting Requirements on Whistleblowing available here. The consultation closes on 30 September 2014.

The expressed aims of this reform are to ensure more systematic and consistent processes across all regulators (‘prescribed persons’) and reassure whistleblowers that the relevant regulator is taking the matter seriously.

The consultation notes that the purpose of requiring prescribed persons to report will be to:

  • work towards a consistent standard of best practice by ensuring that there are more systematic processes in all prescribed bodies for handling disclosures.
  • provide greater reassurance to whistleblowers that action is being taken by the prescribed person to whom they have made a disclosure and, as a result, increase the confidence in the actions of the prescribed person.

The Government proposes that reports will not provide the detail that will enable the worker who made the disclosure or the employer to which the disclosure relates to be identified. Instead, the reports should cover more generic information.

The consultation asks questions on the type of information which should be included in the reports. It also seeks views on the timing of annual reports (for example, at the end of the financial year) and asks whether the reports should be stand alone or included in an organisation’s existing annual reports and where they should be published.