The charity Public Concern at Work has received the recommendations from the commission it established to review the effectiveness of whistleblowing practices in UK workplaces back in 2013. The report makes over 20 recommendations for improving protection for whistleblowers and encouraging culture of compliance with the legal obligations. The commission has attached a draft code of practice which it recommends tribunal take account of and it has recommended a number of amendments to the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA).
The recommendations include:
• Adoption of the code of practice following consultation to put it on a statutory footing (rather like the ACAS Code);
• Extending the categories of worker protected under PIDA;
• Extending the availability of interim relief to detriment cases and making the time limit for applying longer from 7 to 21 days;
• Making changes to PIDA to clarify what is a qualifying disclosure following the case of Cavendish Munro;
• Making the causation test for detriment and dismissal claims the same;
• Encouraging regulators to play a more active role by policing whistleblowing more effectively;
• Extending the current categories for wrongdoing in PIDA by making the subject matter of the disclosure open-ended;
• Providing specialist training to Employment Judges to handle such cases.
The Government agreed in its National Action Plan for Open Government to take into account the commission’s findings and to consider legislative change so as always watch this space.