29 November 2013
Charity Public Concern at Work (PCaW) has launched a whistleblowing Code of Practice aimed at organisations across the UK.
In a private press briefing, PCaW chair Carol Sergeant and chief executive Cathy James, along with a panel of other speakers, introduced the new Code, which the charity is hoping will be adopted and enforced by regulators and the Government.
Opening the press briefing, Sergeant emphasised that the Code’s key aim is to help organisations implement policies and procedures to encourage and correctly handle whistleblowing in the workplace. She added that much has been done to encourage individuals within organisations to come forward and speak out, however, organisations themselves needed to develop an open and transparent structure supporting concerns and complaints. Sergeant ended by saying, ‘looking after whistleblowers can avoid scandals’.
This led to the discussion of one of the main reasons why whistleblowing was often followed by scandal for organisations and, the panel, in complete agreement, pointed towards an organisation’s failure to listen.
In addition, one of the panellists, Sir Anthony Hooper, chair of the Whistleblowing Commission said, ‘reports into public scandals and tragedies reveal that those who would wish to blow the whistle are prevented or discouraged from so doing and that those who have blown the whistle are not listened to or are punished. This Report makes practical but far reaching recommendations for change’.
According to the Commission, current legislation is “not working” and immediate change is needed to ensure whistleblowers are given the confidence to speak out without fear of adverse repercussions. The Report calls for the simplification of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), which was introduced 15 years ago to provide a remedy for workers who have been victimised or dismissed for having blown the whistle.
The Whistleblowing Commission was set up by the charity Public Concern at Work. The independent group of industry and academic experts has published its report which examines attitudes towards whistleblowing; law and policy; regulatory involvement; rewards; and tribunals.