Protecting Whistleblowers in the UK: A New Blueprint

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 22:37 PM
Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation and Blueprint for Free Speech
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With the support of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Blueprint for Free Speech produced an in-depth analysis of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA), the UK law designed to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in the workplace.

The report demonstrates that the PIDA lacks specific measures to shield employees from being fired and harassed if they report crime, corruption or other wrongdoing occurring in the workplace. It finds that the PIDA is not effective in stopping whistleblowers from being targeted, and lacks penalties for managers and co-workers who retaliate against whistleblowers. In practice, the law requires whistleblowers to be victimised before they can act on their rights and seek protections.

The law’s shortcomings prevent the full benefits of whistleblowing, which are among the most effective anti-corruption tools, from being maximised. The report consequently outlines 20 reforms, 10 of them urgent, which would help to improve protection for whistleblowers in the UK. Importantly, it provides a blueprint for countries looking to draft best practice legislation.

The report was developed on basis of a comprehensive research, including in-depth interviews with whistleblowers, detailed examination of PIDA cases, widespread consultation in the NGO community and quantitative as well as qualitative data analysis.