The Future of Whistleblowing in the UK

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Learn Live with Culture Shift: In this webinar series we discussed the changes being proposed to the UK’s law on whistleblowing, how it might affect employers .

Whistleblowing is often seen as the act of reporting information of malpractice that could have a detrimental impact on business and one that is seen as “in the public interest”. But it doesn’t just mean a criminal offence, fraud, financial misconduct, health and safety issues, a miscarriage of justice or the covering up of the aforementioned. It could and should be used for anything an employee sees as a failure on their employer’s part to rectify or stop, including bullying, discrimination and harassment.

But did you know, YouGov research in 2021 unveiled that only 31% of people knew how to raise a whistleblowing concern at work? And a staggering 46% said they didn’t know if their employer even has a whistleblowing policy?

At the moment, whistleblowers are protected from unfair treatment at work if they disclose information. However, there is a Protection for Whistleblowing Bill currently going through Parliament. But what is it and what will it mean for both organisations and their people?

In the first episode of our series, our CEO and Co-Founder Gemma McCall talked to WhistleblowersUK CEO Georgina Halford-Hall about what changes the bill would bring and how your organisation can be prepared for it.

In the second episode, we discussed why although whistleblowing can be a powerful tool to uphold the integrity and strength of a business, those who do are often punished for speaking up. We know some of the biggest barriers to reporting anything at work is the fear of repercussions or retaliation, as well as not being able to remain anonymous and not thinking they will be believed or taken seriously. This panel discussion brought together HR expert Alastair Swindlehurst, Founder of EZHR, and NHS whistleblower Peter Duffy, who bravely recounted the ordeal he went through in a bid to encourage employers not to repeat the same mistakes of his former organisation. They talked frankly about what it takes to speak up about misconduct in the workplace, and touched on proven ways of implementing policy change and encouraging people to speak up without fear.

For the final episode of The Future of Whistleblowing in UK webinar series, our Head of Culture Transformation Vicki Baars talked about strategies you can put in place to prevent misconduct, and build a culture where whistleblowing is considered a last resort, not the only option. We looked at: the crescendo effect of workplace misconduct, building positive speak up cultures, and action that can ensure your employees trust you will do the right thing. You can sign up to receive the content for that here.

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