By Dr Minh Alexander, Martin Morton, Greg Lawton and Clare Sardari, 19 October 2018
The vast majority of UK whistleblowers who have litigated do not have a good opinion of current UK whistleblowing law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
This is an updated collation of what whistleblowers say about the law, and how it failed them and the public, and what changes they think are needed:
Law reform is much resisted. But there is nevertheless a growing debate about the need to radically improve the law because major disasters like Gosport show the devastation that can be caused by ignoring whistleblowers
It is important for whistleblowers to have a voice in the creation of any new law, and to be as well prepared as possible when the time comes for a new law to be drafted.
Whistleblowers do not need to be passive recipients of PIDA II, or to face another twenty years of ineffective law handed down by those who may not care as much.
Whistleblowers are experts by experience who can help shape law. They can spot and understand things that others cannot.
As a contribution to the debate, we have set out in plain English how a new whistleblowing law might work:
We offer it to stimulate debate, for ideas to be tested and improved or replaced, and for barriers to be identified. If you disagree or have suggestions, we would be delighted to hear. Equally if you agree, please let us know too.
Our proposal maps broadly onto the main suggestions that whistleblowers have made for improving the law, in response to the recent call for evidence.
It is very much written from the perspective of whistleblowers’ practical experience, including of the lengths that institutions may go to in order to cover up.
In brief the proposed law offers:
- Timely, mandatory investigation of concerns
- An active duty to protect whistleblowers from the outset
- A mechanism for early resolution of conflict
- A means of ordering remedy without the need for litigation
- A range of civil and criminal penalties against individuals
- A means of funding legal representation for whistleblowers through a mandatory insurance scheme for employers
- Expansion of protected groups – the example of patients and families who speak up is explored
We value all feedback and would be grateful to hear what you think.