06 / 11 / 2013 9.48am
In July 2013, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published a call for evidence from employers, regulatory bodies and regulators which would inform their review of the existing legal protections afforded to staff when they raise a (whistleblowing) concern. The survey closed on 1 November 2013.
Summary of responses
Our response to this review was based on evidence sought from employers via our online survey which was conducted during September-October.
A copy of our response can be found here.
Whistleblowing continues to be an issue that many people have views and concerns about. A number of changes have already been enforced with the aim of strengthening the whistleblowing protection framework. This includes recent changes introduced under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which came into force on 25 April 2013. These changes were intended to:
- ensure people only blow the whistle on matters which are in the public interest
- allow whistleblowing claims to go through the Employment Tribunal system without being too easily dismissed for disclosures not being made in good faith
- introduce a redress route for people who suffer a detriment at the hands of a co-worker for blowing the whistle.
The BIS call for evidence was intended to gather views on whether the recent changes under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 still worked in the way they were originally intended, or whether further changes are required. Their consultation specifically focused on:
categories of disclosure which qualify for protections
methods of disclosure
definition of a worker
introduction of non-statutory measures eg a code of practice or best practice principles.
A copy of the consultation document can be found on the BIS website.
The outcomes of the call for evidence is expected to be published shortly. Legislation is only one way of encouraging cultural change in the workplace, so that staff feel comfortable to raise concerns about patient safety or any other such issue, appropriately and safely, without the fear of reprisal.
We will keep employers informed of the outcomes through our NHS Workforce Bulletin.