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Recommendations for whistleblowing reforms, including banning NDAs

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

A cross parliamentary group has just published its report, ‘Whistleblowing: the personal cost of doing the right thing and the cost to society of ignoring it’.

The report looks at whistleblowing in practice, the ‘lived experience’ of whistleblowing, the current framework and then looks at potential reforms. The group’s recommendations include:

  1. The term ‘whistleblower’ must be defined in law.

  2. The legal definition of whistleblowing should be revised and include any harmful violation of integrity and ethics, even when not criminal or illegal. The focus should be on the harm (or risk of harm) to the public.

  3. Whistleblower protection should include all members of the public and include protection against retaliation.

  4. Mandatory internal and external reporting mechanisms and protections should be adopted to include meaningful penalties for those who fail to meet the requirements across all sectors to include those currently outside of the regulations, e.g. journalists and clergy.

  5. A further review of compensation and how it is calculated.

  6. An urgent review of the barriers to justice including access to legal aid and an introduction of measures to tackle inequality of arms including protection against costs.

  7. Non-disclosure agreements in whistleblowing cases must be banned.

  8. Better regulatory framework and coordination to include the introduction of international best practice and a public awareness campaign.

  9. There should be an urgent review of the prescribed persons list, a more comprehensive guide to their role and measures put in place to ensure that they fulfil their responsibilities

  10. The introduction and establishment of an Independent Office for the Whistleblower with real power to; set standards, enforce the protections, and administer meaningful penalties to not only organisations but individuals within organisations.

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