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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

16 AUG 2016

Five things to learn from Public Concern at Work's update on whistleblowing

Five things to learn from Public Concern at Work's update on whistleblowing
Michael Halsey
Partner, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Public Concern at Work (PCAW), a charity established to look into whistleblowing issues in the workplace, has issued a review of its work between 2011 and 2015.

The review provides some useful reading for those interested in how whistleblowing is dealt with in the workplace. For example:

  • four out of five whistleblowers report a negative outcome, with the majority complaining of being victimised, dismissed, forced to resign or bullied as a result of raising concerns;
  • the main areas of complaint to the PCAW helpline concern financial maintenance, ethical issues and safety concerns;
  • there has been a sharp rise in Employment Tribunals making costs awards in whistleblowing claims. For example, between 2009 and 2010 the total costs awarded against respondents was £12,000. Between 2011 and 2013, this had risen to £183,992;
  • only 12% of whistleblowing claims brought between 2011 and 2013 were successful; and
  • the percentage of people who have witnessed malpractice and raised concerns has dropped from 66% in 2013 to 59% in 2015.
The report sets out real-life case studies, as well as useful statistical information about the current state of the whistleblowing laws in the UK.

It also calls on the government to adopt PCAW's Code of Practice on a statutory footing. It is well worth reading the Code to get a clear idea of best practice in this complicated area.
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