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New code of practice on whistleblowing?

Print publication

08/05/2014

The Government is currently considering a recommendation put forward by the charity, ‘Public Concern at Work’, to issue a code of practice on whistleblowing which would have to be taken into account by courts and tribunals in relevant claims. Whistleblowing at work is receiving a lot of media attention at the moment and this can be reflected in a rise in claims. This, together with the recent legislative changes to whistleblowing law, means that now is therefore a good time to check that your organisation has a sound and up-to-date whistleblowing policy designed to ensure that any employee with a concern feels confident to raise it and knows how to do so. Key pointers are:

if an employee is raising concerns (e.g. about health and safety, an individual’s welfare or some form of wrongdoing), treat the matter seriously and respond promptly
it is far better to adopt a cautious approach to a complaint than to ignore something that might turn into a whistleblowing claim
early action often means that the concerns can be aired and dealt with straight away and to everyone’s satisfaction, avoiding things festering or becoming escalated unnecessarily
take a common-sense approach if a danger or risk to someone’s welfare has been identified and don’t allow the ‘wheels of the whistleblowing procedure’ to delay practical remedial action.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like advice on preparing a new policy or updating an existing one.

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