MPs: Gagging orders 'reward failure'

Public bodies "reward failure" so they can "avoid attracting unwelcome publicity" by making would-be whistleblowers and failing chief executives sign gagging orders, the head of a group of influential MPs said.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chair Margaret Hodge said whistleblowers were "vital" if tragedies like Mid Staffordshire and Baby P were to be avoided.

It is vital that people feel free to speak out to help prevent terrible tragedies or even deaths, and protecting the reputation of an organisation, such as the NHS, at the expense of public safety is unacceptable.

A confidentiality clause in a compromise agreement is not meant to prevent legitimate whistle-blowing - but people who have been offered, or accepted compromise agreements have clearly felt gagged.

– Margaret Hodge

Read more: MPs 'deeply concerned' about whistleblowing

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MPs criticise 'outrageous' gagging orders

A group of MPs hit out at "outrageous" examples of public sector bodies using gagging orders to hush up their employees about dangerous problems. The Public Accounts Committee criticised special severance payments approved by the Treasury.