Some years ago an amendment was made to the ET1 form whereby you could ask the Tribunal to refer on the claim if it involved a claim relating to whistleblowing to the appropriate regulator. There was much debate in practice as to whether tactically it was advisable to tick that box or not.
I have since been asked by clients what happens if I tick that box and my answer is of course well the Tribunal would pass the matter on. What happens then is the next question. Well up until now that has depended on the regulator and in my experience the answer has been not a lot that we were aware of. Well at least not to our knowledge, as we have not been told that an investigation is under way etc.
The Government has commenced consultation asking exactly how regulators should be obliged to report on any disclosures they receive. They have declined to make substantial changes to the existing Public Interest Disclosure Act but is proposing to make the regulators report annually on such disclosures. The consultation ends on 30th September 2014 and covers the areas where the regulator will be required to report. The annual reports would be general reports covering numbers of disclosures made and number that were investigated, resolved, referred on etc but would not cover the identity of the employee or the employer to whom the disclosure relates.
Anonymity makes sense to avoid discouraging those from whistleblowing and it is hoped that the report will ensure a more consistent approach across the regulators and that employees are more likely to feel that their concerns are being taken seriously. Over time however, it will also be important for the regulator to investigate and take action to win the public’s confidence when the reports are published annually.
You can have your say on the consultation here.