Addleshaw Goddard

UK 200 2013 position: 23

Coalition government’s call for evidence on whistleblowing — another missed opportunity

By Annabel Mackay

Reading the government’s response to its call for evidence on the whistleblowing framework mirrors England’s recent and short-lived World Cup experience. The usual excitement and anticipation followed by a lacklustre performance and sense of anti-climax. Another missed opportunity and it is back to the drawing board.

After introducing a series of reforms last year, following a series of scandals (London Interbank Offered Rate rigging, phone hacking, abuse in care homes and so on), the government took the opportunity to carry out a further review of the whistleblowing regime. It acknowledged that aspects of the legislation were unduly complex and sought views as to how the effectiveness of whistleblowing protection might be improved.

There were a series of questions directed at whether the current law covered all the potential categories of disclosure, whether the conditions attached to internal and external reporting were appropriate and whether there should be protection for other groups such as job applicants and non-executive directors. The role of regulators was also explored as the government had received feedback that prescribed persons (such as the Financial Conduct Authority) should play a greater role in the whistleblowing regime and do more with the information that they receive. Financial incentives, highlighted as a mechanism for encouraging whistleblowing by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, were to be considered…

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