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.

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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.