Last week, I led the debate on the second reading of my Private Members Bill – The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection) Bill 2019/20.
The Bill seeks to improve the protections available to those voicing concerns about staff and/or patient mistreatment in their workplace. At present, only 3% of whistleblowing tribunals are successful, and that’s just the ones that make it as far as a tribunal.
It is widely recognised that current legislation, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), provides little protection as it only allows whistleblowers to seek redress in an Employment Tribunal AFTER they have suffered detriment such as missing out on promotion or even losing their jobs.
It does nothing to protect them at the time they raise the issue or, indeed, ensure the issue is fully investigated, with cover-ups common place.
If passed, my Bill would establish an Independent Whistleblowing Commission which would develop good practice standards to ensure investigation of the original concern and provide whistleblowers with protection from the point at which they raise their concern.
It would also widen protection to anyone who might raise a safety issue, including trainees and volunteers and, if such prospective protection fails, there would be the potential for civil action or, in extreme cases, criminal prosecution.