Whistleblower 'code of practice'

A code of practice law for whistleblowers should be drawn up so workers have the confidence to speak out, a charity has said. Public Concern at Work wants a statutory code so employees can raise concerns without fears of retribution.

Whistleblowers are a 'barometer' of work culture

Laws protecting whistleblowers should be strengthened in order to improve working culture and protect the vulnerable, the head of a workers' rights charity told Daybreak.

Cathy James
Democracy benefits from whistleblowers acting in the public interest, Cathy James told Daybreak. Credit: DaybreakITV

Cathy James, the CEO of Public Concern at Work, wants a robust code of practice for whistleblowers to be introduced as they were "a barometer" for the culture of the organisation they worked in.

She explained: "We live in a democracy, dissent should be encouraged and that should be applied just as much in our public life as it does within the organisation."

The charity chief denied any new legislation would be hijacked by employes with a grudge as "you can see them coming a mile" off.

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'Code of practice' for whistleblowing gets union backing

Strengthened laws to protect whistleblowers have received backing from the TUC, with general secretary Frances O'Grady warning against the long-term ramifications of speaking out.

Whistleblowing is an important way to root out malpractice and wrongdoing in a workplace. But with the blacklisting scandal showing that some people have had their careers wrecked for daring to speak out at work, most people are too scared to say anything for fear of retribution.

It's important that we have stronger legal protections and written workplace procedures for whistleblowers to underpin the important work that union reps do in supporting workers who speak out.

– TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

Public Concern At Work said a robust code of practice would provide "a set of standards" against which organisations could be "measured".

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Calls for better laws to protect whistleblowers

The Government needs to draw up a code of practice law for whistleblowing so employees can come forward without fear of recrimination, a group of industry and academics has warned.

Whistleblowing
Protesters launched a day of action on 20 November over a secret blacklist of construction workers used by industry chiefs. Credit: PA

Experts recommended a statutory code to be drawn up so workers can raise concerns about malpractice or danger to safety.

The report, commissioned by charity Public Concern At Work, followed a spate of scandals such as blacklisting of construction workers and neglect of patients at Mid-Staffs.

Whistleblowers are currently only protected under The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, and even then, only if their allegations fit into one of six distinct categories.

Chairman of the commission, Sir Anthony Hooper, said the report made "practical" but "far-reaching recommendations".

Read more: MPs debate blacklisting

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