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Whistleblowing law a ‘nudge’ in the right direction

On 25 June 2014, the Government concluded its response to the whistleblowing consultation which it started last year.  In “Whistleblowing Framework Call For Evidence: Government Response” it set out the following 9 recommendations that will be taken forward

  1. Improved Guidance being given for individuals;
  2. Some best practice guidance/non-statutory code of conduct being provided;
  3. Making clear in its guidance that tribunal fees incurred by an employee will be reimbursed by the employer in the event of a successful whistleblowing claim;
  4. An Assessment of the current whistleblowing ET1 referral system;
  5. An introduction of prescribed persons who are recipients of whistleblowing to provide annual reports;
  6. Update the prescribed person list;
  7. Include student nurses in the whistleblowing framework and consider if other excluded groups should fall within the framework;
  8. That no financial incentives should be offered to whistleblowers (this being a possibility canvassed in the consultation);
  9. That there is an explorations of options to celebrate employers who embrace whistleblowing in their organisation.

Despite the detail of the consultation and numbers of responses it is notable that there is little legislative change that will result.  Indeed, much of this seems to fall within the governments ‘nudge’ legislation that is advocated by its Behavioural Insight Team .  Another interesting point to note is that a month after launching these recommendations the Chartered Insurance Institute has published a set of guidance on whistleblowing, in addition to its earlier guidance paper for those responding to whistleblowers and guidance paper for implementing effective whistleblowing arrangements, which would in part help achieve some of the above recommendations.

Duty of Candour
Cloisters barristers Ed Williams and Rachel Barret...