Government publishes paper on whistleblowing framework review

Government has published a policy paper on its review of the whistleblowing framework terms of reference. The review will examine the effectiveness of the framework in meeting its original objectives under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA), and will be led by the Department for Business and Trade.

PIDA’s original objectives were focussed on providing a route for workers to make whistleblowing disclosures, to protect those workers from detriment and dismissal, and to provide a route of redress where this happened (via the Employment Tribunals). It also sought to support wider cultural change, in which the benefits of whistleblowing are recognised and lead to action among employers and others. Since PIDA came into force, successive governments have strengthened whistleblowing policy and practice.

The review will consider how the whistleblowing framework currently operates, including under PIDA and subsequent legislative and non-legislative interventions.

Core research questions are:

  • How has the whistleblowing framework facilitated disclosures?
  • How has the whistleblowing framework protected workers?
  • Is whistleblowing information available and accessible for workers, employers, prescribed persons and others?
  • What have been the wider benefits and impacts of the whistleblowing framework, on employers, prescribed persons and others?
  • What does best practice look like in responding to disclosures?

The review will not gather evidence on reporting channels and protections where there is no workplace relationship, for example in business transactions, or for journalists, witnesses or third parties. It will, however, examine evidence relating to the definition of “worker” for the purposes of whistleblowing protections.

Research is expected to conclude by Autumn 2023.

Laura Wiles