Laws that came into force on 1st April 2017 introduced a new requirement for certain authorities to produce an annual report on whistleblowing activity i.e. any disclosures made to it from a worker about their employer.
The Government recognises whistleblowing is a crucial element of today’s employment landscape. It believes it is vital that whistleblowers are able to raise important issues of public interest and to prevent business-critical and life-threatening situations from escalating.
It is believed that greater transparency from prescribed persons i.e. authorities who protected disclosures can be made to, about how they handle whistleblowing disclosures will drive up standards across those authorities so that a greater number are demonstrating good practice.
“Prescribed persons”, in relation to the care industry, include:
- Care Council for Wales;
- Care Inspectorate;
- Care Quality Commission;
- Health and Care Professions Council;
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland;
- Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills;
- Scottish Social Services Council.
The required report will have to contain the following:
- The number of workers’ disclosures that it received that the authority reasonably believes fall into its scope and is a qualifying disclosure e.g. is made in the public interest;
- The number of disclosures in relation to which the authority decided, during the reporting period, to take further action;
- A summary of:
- the action taken during the reporting period in respect of the disclosures; and
- how the disclosures have impacted on the relevant authority’s ability to perform its functions and meet its objectives in the reporting period.
- An explanation of the functions and objectives of the authority.
It is clear that no report will identify the worker who has made the disclosure, nor the employer in respect of whom a disclosure has been made.
The report needs to be published on the authority’s website or in another manner its feels appropriate to being the report to the attention of the public within 6 months of the end of the reporting period.
Assistant Head of Advisory, Kate Palmer, says: “The intention of the new laws is to make the processes that prescribed persons take following disclosures more transparent. Impact on employers in terms of brand damage will be minimal once these reports are introduced.”