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Scope of regulators' duty to report on whistleblowing

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[Thanks to Craig Gordon of HR Bullets for giving permission to reproduce his summary]

The government has started a consultation asking for views on exactly how regulators will be obliged to report on whistleblowing disclosures they receive.

Whilst the government decided in June broadly against any substantive changes to the Public Interest Disclosure Act (despite calls from bodies such as Public Concern at Work to do so), it does intend to make some small amendments, among them requiring regulators (‘prescribed persons’) to report annually on whistleblowing issues reported to them.

The expressed aims of this reform are to ensure more systematic and consistent processes across all regulators and reassure whistleblowers that the relevant regulator is taking the matter seriously.

The consultation, which runs until 30 September 2014, proposes that prescribed persons under s. 43F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 will have to produce a report covering:

· the number of disclosures that qualify as protected public interest disclosures
· the number of these that did not require any further action
· the number of these that were referred to an alternative body
· the number of disclosures that required further research
· the number of investigations that led to action being taken
· the number of cases where the issue was resolved after first contact with the employer, and
· the number of organisations investigated that had whistleblowing policies in place

It’s not proposed that these reports will either identify the worker making the disclosure or the employer to whom the disclosure relates. And while MPs have recently been added to the list of prescribed persons, the duty to report won’t apply to them.