Prison service whistleblower gives evidence of prison being "chaotic".

A former prison officer with 31 years’ service is claiming that she was treated unfairly by prison chiefs because she turned whistleblower and complained about rampant drug use, escalating levels of violence and a breakdown in discipline at HMP Nottingham.

At the opening of her hearing at the London Central employment tribunal, where she is claiming unfair dismissal from the prison service, Diane Ward, 55, claimed that the prison was at times chaotic.

WBUK CEO Georgina Halford-Hall spoke at the 2018 Edinburgh Financial Crime Prevention Symposium on 11th October 2018

Georgina addressed this definitive compliance and financial crime prevention event of the year in Edinburgh on the 11th October 2018

Acknowledged by senior offshore practitioners as the essential event for MLROs, MLCOs, Compliance Officers, Senior Managers and Directors, the symposium offered a valuable opportunity to reflect upon the challenges faced by industry, whilst equipping delegates with enhanced awareness of the key risks in compliance and the fight against financial crime.

The symposium will attract financial services professionals from around Europe and aims to host over 200 delegates.

Georgina spoke on “Changing the cultural perception of whistleblowing – from shooting the messenger to supporting the courageous” and was very well received by an enthusiastic audience.

"Staff sacked for blowing whistle on safety dodgers" The Times 20/9/2018

“Whistleblowers are being sacked and threatened with violence for trying to shed light on life-threatening malpractice in the construction trade, industry leaders have said.”

The persecution of whistleblowers is everywhere, and in this case lives are at risk if sub-standard material is used in construction.

“In one case, unrelated to Grenfell, a former factory manager for one of the biggest cavity wall insulation companies in Britain blew the whistle on its manufacturing of cheap insulation that was below the certified standard, was not fire retardant and would not fill the cavity when injected into walls.”

Guess what? “When I kept bringing it up, the director told me to turn a blind eye and don’t worry, no one sees it inside the wall.”

Sadly, the almost inevitable outcome: “The man was eventually sacked and has failed to find work in the industry since.”

“Brian Moore, deputy chief executive of the BBA (British Board of Agrément, the body that guarantees the safety of insulation) and a former chief constable of Wiltshire, said that there was no adequate mechanism to co-ordinate a response to criminal behaviour and malpractice in the construction industry. “It cannot be more serious,” he said.

That looks like more evidence of the need for a national Office for the Whistleblower.

The Times: Ministers told to change their tune on whistleblowers - WBUK advocate the Office for the Whistleblower

"Senior politicians and campaigners are demanding a radical overhaul of whistleblowing protections after a series of high profile cases have highlighted gaps in public interest disclosure legislation.

They warn that scandals such as the deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital will be repeated because employers are not statutorily required to investigate concerns raised by whistleblowers. Instead, those who speak out can find their careers in tatters and face a battle for compensation through the employment tribunal at huge personal and financial cost."

"However, Baroness Kramer, the Liberal Democrat peer, says that there is a “growing drumbeat” for the UK’s legislation to be reformed. She is co-chairwoman of the all-party parliamentary group on whistleblowing. “I spent many years working in the US corporate world, where there is much greater respect for whistleblowers,” she recalls. “Seeing how so many whistleblowers here were treated while I was on the parliamentary commission on banking standards was shocking.”

"Georgina Halford-Hall set up WBUK in 2014 after experiencing first-hand the trauma of being a whistleblower and finding herself under arrest. She was vindicated but she says: “The legal protections are nothing more than a placebo. There is no statutory obligation to investigate allegations under Pida and it is not the role of the employment tribunal to decide if a protected disclosure is upheld, which allows unsafe and illegal practices to continue.”

City Watchdog faces crucial test after whistleblower sacked for speaking out

"This is MONEY" carries the story of our difficulties and ultimate success in working with whistleblower John Banerjee in his fight for justice against the Royal Bank of Canada. 

"Banerjee has won a tribunal against the bank, which was slammed by the judge for sacking him ‘for making a public interest disclosure’.

The result appears to suggest that senior RBC staff broke strict rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority which state that workers cannot be victimised for raising concerns. It will pile pressure on the FCA to take action against those responsible – potentially opening the door for senior bankers to be banned from the finance industry over the issue for the first time. Regulators are facing calls to take tough action against RBC."

The full article may be found here: 

"Georgina Halford-Hall of campaign group Whistleblowers UK said: ‘We continue to press the Financial Conduct Authority to take action on the findings exposed in this case.’

Banerjee, 50, joined RBC’s London office in 2015. He quickly raised concerns about the policies which governed trading at the firm and were meant to stop bad behaviour and excessive risk-taking. Banerjee emailed three senior executives after attending a meeting at which staff were told they had a duty to speak up about bad practice. He raised concerns about RBC’s box-ticking culture. But senior bankers privately branded Banerjee a ‘blowhard’. He was fired in August 2016 for repeatedly being late, but Judge Tayler found the bank desperately wanted to avoid a proper investigation of Banerjee’s complaints and had dismissed him to keep him silent.

A spokesman for RBC said: ‘We strongly disagree with the tribunal’s decision and we are appealing.’ The FCA said: ‘Whistleblowers play an important role in exposing poor practice.’"

New All Party Parliamentary Group for Whistleblowing set up 10th July 2018.

A brand new APPG on Whistleblowing was created on 10th July 2018 under the Chairmanship of Stephen Kerr MP. WhistleblowersUK is delighted to have been selected to be the secretariat for this Group.

We will be working over the summer to prepare for the next meeting after parliament reconvenes after the summer break.

Exciting times!

Georgina is presenting at the prestigious Festival of Education on the 21st June

Our CEO Georgina Halford-Hall is running a workshop at the prestigious Festival of Education on the 21st June 2018.  Joining her will be a partner in the law firm Constantine Cannon, Mary Inman, also an expert in whistleblowing law.

It is a great honour, and welcome recognition of the work of Georgina and WhistleblowersUK that we have been invited to this event. Sadly, we have too much experience of how whistleblowers have been badly treated by school leadership and how kids have suffered as a result.  We hope to share some of our experiences and knowledge in order to help others to develop and implement better procedures so that kids are better protected from harm.

The session is titled:

"The reality of whistleblowing - why procedures need to be better"  12.20 p.m. 21/6/2108
Georgina Halford-Hall | Chief Executive, WhistleblowersUK & Mary Inman | Partner, Constantine Cannon

EU Trade Secrets Directive - concern for whistleblowers

We have responded to the government consultation on draft regulations concerning trade secrets as follows:

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are writing regarding the UK’s imminent transposition of the EU’s Trade Secrets Directive. Our primary concern is to ensure that this law which is aimed at protecting legitimate trade secrets does not interfere with, other than to strengthen, the rights of and protections for whistleblowers. 

We know from our considerable experience of the problems currently faced by whistleblowers that protections for them are essential and it is imperative that the existing provisions in UK law contained in the Public Interest Disclosure Act are included and strengthened within the transposed directive. 

We are concerned that transposition would create legal ambiguity about protection for whistleblowers in the UK with the consequence that whistleblowers would be even more unwilling to come forward with their legitimate public interest concerns about wrong-doing and criminality. from coming forward to raise legitimate and important public interest concerns in the future.  

Yours faithfully,

Tom Lloyd QPM MA (Oxon)

Chairman, WhistleblowersUK

Whistleblowing: still a risky business

Industry experts on whistleblowing have been lobbying hard for reform, but it is still often the case that whistleblowers with the best of intentions have found themselves in legal grey areas, ending up blacklisted, bankrupt and unable to work in the City again.

Full article: https://www.euromoney.com/article/b16xvynpv9qs1p/whistleblowing-still-a-risky-business?copyrightInfo=true
Visit http://www.euromoney.com/reprints for additional distribution rights. For more articles like this, follow us @euromoney on Twitter.

Backbench Business Debate Thursday, 18 January 2018

Debate in the House of Commons on a motion on treatment of SMEs by RBS Global Restructuring Group.  

This debate has important implications for us as whistleblowers were involved in this sorry tale and we hope that the important and urgent need for legislative change will be argued.

Proposals for changes to the law

We at WhistleblowersUK are getting our thoughts together for a proposal to change the law better to encourage, support and protect whistle-blowers.

While nothing has been decided yet at this stage we propose five main changes:

1.       The creation of the National Office of the Whistle-blower to register and monitor all whistle-blowing cases and ensure that the regulators do their jobs properly.  Also, manage a fund to support litigation by whistle-blowers especially in cases of hardship.

2.       Changes to the Tribunal system: implementation of specialist ETs for whistle-blowing cases led by specially trained and accredited judges, lawyers and Tribunal members qualified to try whistle-blowing cases. 

3.       Changes to compensation so that Tribunals can award exemplary damages, acknowledging detriments, above any awarded to compensate for loss of employment.

4.       The creation of a criminal offence of individuals causing detriment to whistle-blowers who have made Protected Disclosures punishable with fines and/or imprisonment.

5.       The creation of a system to compensate and/or recognise whistle-blowers for whose reporting of wrong-doing has brought benefits to individuals and society as a whole.

We would like to hear your views on these proposals and whether you have any other suggestions.  Please use the “Contact Us” email form on the website to let us know what you think."

We welcome comments and suggestions until 10th November 2017.  Thank you.

An important victory for whistle-blowers

 

The latest whistle-blower victory comes in the form of Dr Chris Day's successful challenge to Health Education England , but at what cost, and what has been learned that was not known already?

The questions that need to be asked are about the role of the Hospital and Health Education England (the clue here is in the name!) in failing to act responsibly in the patients' and staff's interesst and why the other staff who knew didn't speak out.

The ongoing practice, and it is ongoing, of forensically investigating the whistle-blower and ignoring the issues raised by them must stop. The cost is not only mental, physical and economic on the whistle-blower but on the whole of the NHS. A service that is publicly funded and screaming for funds to prevent cuts to front line services is surely immoral when it spends hundreds of thousands on litigation defending NHS victimisation of whistle-blowers.

Witnesses to wrongdoing, including MPs and other professionals and colleagues, have a role to play in breaking the cycle of retribution against those who break ranks and speak out.

The most powerful story here is that Dr Day was largely on his own bearing the brunt of professional and personal ruin himself.

As the election campaigns continue we should all be challenging the candidates to tell us what they have and will do to protect whistle-blowers. The other thing that we can all do is speak out together when we know that something is wrong, Shoulder to shoulder is the only way to change this and prevent others having to go to the lengths that Chris has had to go.

Praise alone is not sufficient.

Operation SNOWDON set up by Kent Police to review allegations of child abuse at The Duke of York’s Military School, Dover, Kent

It’s been a long haul, but we are pleased to confirm that Kent Police have set up Operation SNOWDON to review the allegations of abuse of children at The Duke of York’s Military School in Dover, Kent.  These allegations go back several years and involve a number of children.  Although we know that some families have already come forward with allegations, there may well be others who remain unsure as to what to do.

We invite you get in touch with Georgina at WhistleblowersUK on 07714 811547 for a chat if that would help. We are already in contact with a number of concerned families and have established a support group.

We also suggest that you contact the review with your concerns by calling telephone number 101 and quoting Operation SNOWDON, Cad ref: 15-0415.