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Lawyers want whistleblowing rules simplified

By Anthony Korn

The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) has called for changes to the law on whistleblowing.

The ELA has concluded the statutory conditions attached to making ‘protected disclosures’ are complex and may deter whistleblowers from exposing wrongdoing. The association, whose 6,000 members include barristers and solicitors representing both employers and employees in the courts and employment tribunals, was responding to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ ‘call for evidence’ on whistleblowing’s legal framework. This follows an initiative from Public Concern at Work, a charity supporting whistleblowers, which has set up a commission to review the operation of the current law. The commission is due to report later in November.

The lawyers felt that issues such as whether the whistleblower had raised the matter internally before discussing it with a member of parliament, or even the press, should be considered as part of a list of factors in determining the reasonableness of the disclosure. They also supported the idea that the list of ‘prescribed persons’ (usually regulatory bodies) identified in statutory instruments should be reviewed and updated regularly, but believed this should continue to be subject to parliamentary scrutiny rather than the ‘say so’ of government ministers…

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