United Kingdom – Whistleblowing Protection

This paper provides an overview of whistleblowing law in the United Kingdom in order to establish best practice legislation.

Introduction

The United Kingdom does not have a single legal system since it was created by the political union of previously independent countries. The United Kingdom has three legal systems; English law, which applies in England and Wales, Northern Ireland law, which applies in Northern Ireland based on common law principles, and Scot law, which applies in Scotland, is a pluralistic system based on civil-law principles.

There is no written English constitution. Likewise, there is no official codification of English statutes. Any statute passed by Parliament is by definition valid and not subject to review by the courts. The statutes’ “constitutionality” is not an issue a court can address. Rather, Parliament alone may act to change a law.

Whistleblowing legislation is well established and has been in force in the UK for over a decade. In the UK, whistleblowing procedures are now very common in the public sector but less so in the private sector. The legislation currently in force only aims to protect workers who choose to blow the whistle. It does not require employers to have a whistleblowing procedure and does not normally oblige workers to raise concerns.

Whistleblowing legislation in UK

Background

The relevant laws are The Public Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA), which came into force in July 1999 by inserting sections into the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Sections 43A TO 43L), and the Public Interest Disclosure (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. These laws amended the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 respectively.

The two main bodies active in the creation of the PIDA were the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL – the Noland Committee1) – an independent public body which advises government on ethical standards across the whole of public life in the UK – and Public Concern at Work (PCaW) – a London based legal advice centre, lobby group and charity, focusing on the issue of whistleblowing. The legislation was closely linked to the work of PCaW and, more precisely, the background to the Act lies in the analysis by PCaW following a row of scandals and outright disasters in the 1980’s and early to mid 1990’s. These consisted of e.g. the Clapham Rail Crash and the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. At that time, almost every public inquiry found that workers had been aware of the danger but had either been too scared to sound the alarm or had raised the matter in the wrong way or to the wrong person.

The Act was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill – i.e. by an individual Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a Government minister – and promoted in the House of Commons by the conservative MP Mr Richard Sheperd2 and in the Lords by the Labour peer Lord Borrie QC, receiving strong support from the Government3. The protection forms part of employment legislation and was put forward in the Fairness at Work White Paper (May 1998) as one of the new rights for individuals. However, it was primarily recognized as a valuable tool to promote good governance and openness in organizations. The whitepaper not only provided details of the Government’s proposed statutory trade union recognition procedure, but also stipulated an outline of other employment law reforms in areas such as protection against unfair dismissal, dismissals during disputes, representation during grievance and disciplinary procedures, etc.

Within a few weeks of the election of Blair’s government in 1997, PCaW and the Campaign for Freedom of Information4 were asked by ministers to promote the Bill again through the private members’ ballots. Conservative MP Richard Shepherd, a leading campaigner for openness and supporter of the earlier bills, was successful in the ballot. He used his place to introduce the Bill that later became the PIDA. The Bill was championed for the Government by Department of Trade and Industry Minister Ian McCartney MP. Following consultation on the measures – undertaken by PCaW on behalf of the Government and Mr. Shepherd – the Bill passed through Parliament supported by all sides. While the legislation would never have been enacted without the support of the new Labour Government, the Act is unusual in the sense that the extent of its scope and details were settled outside of the usual machinery of government.

Prior to the Act, whistleblowers in the UK had no formal protection against being dismissed by their employers. Granted, a whistleblower could avoid being sued by using public interest as a defence, but that did not hinder dismissal, disciplinary actions or other social and work related discrimination in the workplace. Before the PIDA there were some statutory protections for whistleblowers in the areas of health and safety, asserting statutory employments rights and sex and race discrimination. For example, provisions in the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993 provided a certain amount of protection to whistleblowers in the sphere of health and safety and protection against dismissal for asserting a statutory employment right5.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act

The PIDA forms part of employment legislation. The Act operates by inserting sections 43A-43L, 47B and 103A into the Employment Rights Act 1996. PIDA came into force on July 2nd 1999 in Great Britain and was followed by a similar form of protection in Northern Ireland that came into force on October 31st 1999. The Act sets out a framework for public interest whistleblowing, which protects workers for reprisals because they have raised a concern about malpractice. Though the Act is part of employment legislation, its scope is wide and no qualifying periods or age limits restrict the application of its protection (see Section 7).

The Act applies to every employee in the United Kingdom whether they are in private, public or the voluntary sector. In addition to employees, PIDA covers workers, contractors, trainees, agency staff, homeworkers, police officers and every professional in the NHS6. It does not cover the genuinely self-employed (other than in the NHS), volunteers, the intelligence services or the armed forces. Should the whistleblower work within the Security and Intelligence Services, one must seek support in other, comprehensive legal mechanisms.

Further, PIDA has the added benefit of permitting workers to make disclosures about matters that occur outside the UK and which are not covered by UK law.

As mentioned above no minimum period of service is required to receive the protection of the Act but a disclosure must be a “qualifying disclosure” meaning that the Act provides protection only for disclosure that relates to one of the broad categories of malpractice.

The Act defines a “qualifying disclosure” which is potentially protected (s.43B) and a “protected disclosure” (s.43A) as a qualifying disclosure which is made in accordance with the requirements set out in sections 43C to 43H. In order to obtain the protection of the Act it is necessary to bring a claimant with the specific terms of both qualifying and protected disclosures.

43B Disclosures qualifying for protection

  1. that a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed,
  2. that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject,
  3. that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
  4. that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,
  5. that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged, or
  6. that information tending to show any matter falling within any one of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be deliberately concealed.

At the same time workers in the UK can still be protected under PIDA even if the relevant disclosure concerned a failure by the employer that took place overseas, or where non-UK law applied to the failure according to s 43B (2)

It should be noted, that in respect of protected disclosures the requirement of “good faith” is required under sections 43 C Disclosures to employer or other responsible person; 43E Disclosure to Minister of the Crown; 43F Disclosure to prescribed person; 43G Disclosure in other cases; 43H Disclosure of exceptionally serious failure.

Disclosure to a legal adviser need not be made in good faith, as an employee must simply have a reasonable belief that disclosure shows one of the specified malpractices. Disclosure to designated regulatory bodies must be made in good faith and relate to that body’s responsibilities.

Disclosure to other entities, such as the media, involves stricter tests. It must be made in good faith and the whistleblower must reasonably believe that the information is substantially true, not make the disclosure for personal gain and reasonably believe they will suffer if the disclosure is made to the regulator or that evidence will be concealed or destroyed if made to their employer.

The specificity of the PIDA lies in its recipient element, specifying to whom disclosures of information are protected. There are a number of persons to whom disclosures can be made, depending on the circumstances. The list of persons is in the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2012 and includes only official bodies as the Health and Safety Executive, the Data Protection Registrar, the Certification Officer, the Environment Agency and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. On April 6th 2014 this Order was amended to include Members of Parliament on the list of prescribed persons. An employee will be protected if he “makes a disclosure in good faith” to one of these people, and “reasonably believes that the relevant failure … is a matter in respect of which the person is prescribed and the information is substantially true”. Other prescribed persons include the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, in relation to “acts or omissions which have an actual or potential effect on the environment … including those relating to pollution”.

Complaints can be made to an employment tribunal where the claimant believes they have suffered a detriment at work or been dismissed for making a protected disclosure. The employment tribunal does not make any assessment or take any action on the underlying PIDA allegation which could entail serious fraud, health and safety issues, financial irregularities, care and home standards etc.

Anonymous Reporting

The PIDA protects confidential reporting rather than anonymous reporting. It ought not to encourage the anonymous reporting of information. The reason for this lies in the premise that anonymous reporting may raise questions about whether the disclosure was made in good faith, also it makes it harder to establish whether an action taken by an employer against a whistleblower was actually a reprisal for legitimate whistleblowing. Anonymous reporting is seen as reducing the protection for well intentioned individuals.

When it comes to confidential reporting, confidentiality can not be absolute. It is an important safeguard to others that those who use whistleblowing to raise their concerns can be called to account if their allegations turn out to be malicious or dishonest.

Remarks

The PIDA is not about protecting one individual reporting on another. It is about protecting those reporting risks.

Confidentiality clauses – gagging clauses – in employment contracts and severance agreements are to be considered void to the extent that they are in conflict with the PIDA.

Should a disclosure be found to be in breach of the Official Secrets Act or any other secrecy offence, PIDA will not provide a protection for the whistleblower if (a) the whistleblower has been convicted of the offence or (b) an employment tribunal is satisfied that the whistleblower committed the offence. The tribunal’s satisfaction in this regard requires a high standard of proof approaching the criminal one.

Other Acts applying to the Area

The Civil Service Code

The Civil Service Code was introduced in 1996 and revised most recently in 2006. It sets out the core values of the Civil Service and standards of civil servants. The Code is part of the terms and conditions of employment for every civil servant. In Section 6 the Code disposes that civil servants “must not disclose official information without authority”7. The Code makes it clear that information should not be disclosed without authorization and that the leaking of information by civil servants for political purposes, to undermine government policy or for personal gain is reprehensible. Despite this, there are exceptional circumstances in which a civil servant could justify the leak of material in order to expose serious wrongdoing. This would need to have followed a failure of proper channels both of disclosure and challenge within government, though it must be a last resort. The provisions of the PIDA already cover the majority of these circumstances and the Act sets an appropriate balance between competing interest of maintaining a trustworthy Civil Service and protecting the public interest.

The Data Protection Act 1998

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) is based on the European Union Data Protection Directive. It applies to personal information and aims to give greater rights of access while limiting the information that may be collected. The DPA applies to personal data in computerized, manual or any other format, provided that the data is in a system that allows the information to be readily accessible. The Act covers all aspects of processing data, such as collection, retention, access, use and disclosure to its destruction. Certain types of records are subject to statutory retention periods. All computerized systems are subject to the DPA as of 24 October 2001.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces the DPA and has stated that confidential whistleblowing can be compatible with the DPA. The key issues are that the systems used to collect and process any personal information are managed in an appropriate way and in accordance with the principles of good information handling. Not only the personal information about the whistleblower is of interest – rather one must also take care of personal information about individuals who may be part of the concerns raised. The main purpose of whistleblowing structures covered by the PIDA is to collect information about risk, not about individuals. As such, personal information should only be collected and processed at a minimum. ICO is also responsible for the enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 – which enables people to gain access to information, held by public authorities and came into effect on 1 January 2005 – and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. These regulations establish a way for people to request environmental information from public authorities as well as entities carrying out a public function.

The UK Bribery Act 2010

The UK Bribery Act 2010 came out as a result of intense criticism from the international community when the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) dropped its investigation of corruptions allegations in the BAE arms deal with Saudi Arabia on grounds of national security. The new UK Bribery Act was passed in April 2010 and entered into force in July 2011. The Act itself does not mention whistleblower protection and neither does it provide any detail procedures to be followed by companies. The silence in respect of whistleblower protection in the Act could perhaps be explained due to the already well-established protection law in the UK PIDA. The Guidance Documents does promote whistleblowing procedures and protection for those who speak. UK is a contracting party in the UNCAC, COE Criminal Law and Civil Law Conventions and the OECD Anti- Bribery Convention.

Whistleblowing Law Reform – Attempts to change the law

On 14 July 2008, at the Second Reading of the Employment Bill (HL) 2007-2008, Richard Shepard raised the issue of whistleblowing and referred to a report in 2005 by the Parliamentary Ombudsman concerning the Government’s most recent legislative actions. He set out the history behind the report, which involved a judicial review taken against the PCaW seeking disclosure of information held by the Tribunal Service about whistleblowing cases that have settled. A central worry is that employers may be evading the public interest spirit of the legislation by settling cases before their determination in a final hearing. PCaW was ultimately successful in the judicial review but the Government subsequently legislated, by statutory instrument laid immediately prior to a summer recess, effectively reversing the High Court’s decision.

Most recently, on 23 May 2012, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (DBIS) published the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. As it currently stands, the law does not apply a discrete public interest test to whistleblower disclosures. Critics claim that Section 14 of the Governments’ Enterprise and Regulatory Reforms Bill currently making its way through the House of Commons 2012 may deter whistleblowers from making important revelation of illicit corporate activities since it may have the effect of protecting whistleblowers only where the disclosure is made “in the public interest”. This would result in the Employment Rights Act 1996 43B to be read as follows.

  1. In this Part a “qualifying disclosure” means any disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure is made in the public interest and tends to show one or more of the following —

    1. that a criminal offence has been committed, is being committed or is likely to be committed,
    2. that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject,
    3. that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
    4. that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,
    5. that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged, or
    6. that information tending to show any matter falling within any one of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be deliberately concealed.

The DBIS published an Annual Review8 in which they explain the case for reform by arguing that judicial case law demonstrates a history of misuse of PIDA 1998 in allowing any breach of an employment contract to be subject to whistleblowing litigation. DBIS has written that PIDA has been used by employees in a way “which is not what the legislation (Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA)) was designed for”.

As of this writing, the Bill is being scrutinized by a Public Bill Committee. MPs will propose amendments to the text and the committee will consider these in the sequence until each clause in the Bill has been considered. The Committee’s consideration of the Bill finished on 17 July 2012. When the Bill returns to the House for Report Stage the amended Bill will be reprinted.

This proposed change has not passed unnoticed. One opinion is that the Minister should “re-consider the value of this proposed amendment” as “[t]hese provisions have not been the subject of official review since they came into force in 1999 … and there appears to have been no consultation about the proposed introduction of a general public interest test in all cases.”9 Concerns were raised that such a change would “damage the UK’s reputation as a model student in whistleblowing legislation and would subject all disclosures to a public interest test, potentially discouraging people from speaking out against wrongdoing.”

PCaW also raised concerns and stated that: “…the last thing we need is another barrier for whistleblowers.” They noted that the amendment “will be viewed as an obstacle to genuine and honest whistleblowers that will have to show that their concern is in the public interest.”10 They continued by stating that the timing was not ideal for such a change considering that there are ongoing inquiries, namely Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust11 and Leveson12. Inquiries PCaW noted that they will both have important outcomes for the public interest and will likely have conclusions that will deal with whistleblowing.

A DBIS spokesman rejected the claim that the Bill was born after intense business lobbying pressure – rather, the spokesman detailed that “all interested parties”, including civil society, “have had their say on a wide range of employment matters.”

The Dodd-Frank Act

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act13, enacted in the USA in July 2010, was response to the financial crisis, allows whistleblowers to receive financial rewards for certain commercial disclosures. The Act will clearly have a noticeable effect on banks and many other financial institutions with substantial operations in the US, which would include several UK-based banks. The Act is very comprehensive and will mean considerable changes for non-US companies whose securities are listed on a US stock exchange. The effects, however, on non-US companies will even extend to UK companies without significant financial services operations or a US listing.

The Dodd-Frank Act complements incentives and penalties for retaliation against whistleblowers in the USA, as they currently exist in the USA under the False Claims Act and Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers may receive between 15% to 35% of an award paid by parties found to have committed fraud against the government.

In 2007, The UK Home Office released a consultation paper where they actively requested comments on a similar incentive system14. No legislation was introduced and the current government is yet to express any interest in following the American example. The restriction of UK legislation on whistleblowing is in sharp contrast to recent whistleblowing reform in the United States of America that encourages evermore disclosures.

Case Law

Since the Act came into force there has been a steady increase in the number of PIDA claims.

An early authority on the statutory regime which adopted a broad interpretation of the requirement of a qualifying disclosure under section 43B (1)(b) of the Employments Rights Act 1996 is Parkins v Sodexho Ltd Ltd [2002] IRLR 109. In this case the EAT held that s.43B (1)(b), which defines a qualifying disclosure as including “any breach of information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure, tends to show that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which he is subject” was drawn very broadly and included obligations arising out of the contract of employment. Mr. Parkins complained that there was a lack of adequate supervision on site, which breached his contract of employment; this complaint was held to be a qualifying disclosure. In this the Court took a broad approach to interpretation of a qualifying disclosure within the section.

The next case concerns an issue of interpretation of the requirements of a qualifying disclosure. In Babula v. Waltham Forest College15, the Court of Appeal overturned a previously relatively restrictive interpretation adopted by the EAT in Kraus v. Penna, that there could be no qualifying disclosure if the legal obligation referred to as part of the definition did not actually exist. It was not sufficient that a worker held a reasonable belief that a legal obligation existed:

“The worker’s “reasonable belief” under section 43B(1) relates to the information which he is disclosing and not to the existence of a legal obligation which does not exist. In other words if the employers are under no legal obligation, as a matter of law, a worker cannot claim the protection of this legislation by claiming that he reasonably believed that they were. His belief and the reasonableness of it in our view relates to the factual information in his possession, namely what he perceives to be the facts and the basis on which he considers it reasonable to rely on them … If there is no obligation to which they actually are subject the worker’s suggestion that he reasonably believed they were cannot render the disclosure a protected one with ss 43A and B …”

From the public policy point of view of effective statutory support for whistleblowers the interpretation of the law as adopted in Kraus was a restrictive approach.

Bolton School v Evans16 demonstrates the distinction between the protection afforded to a disclosure within the meaning of the Act and the conduct of an employee leasing up to that disclosure which does not attract the protection. In this case the Court of Appeal considered how far whistleblowing protection extended. The Employment Tribunal had considered the requirement that attract protection the disclosure must be qualifying disclosure. In this particular case the whistleblower alleged that the school was in breach of a legal obligation. The employer argued that as it had a defense, the whistleblower lost the protection of the Act. The EAT disagreed, saying that if the evidence tended to show the likelihood of a breach, it would undermine the protection of the Act if individuals were expected to anticipate all potential defenses before making a disclosure. This aspect of the judgment was not challenge.

Cumbria County Council v Carlisle-Morgan17 deals with the important issue with widespread implications of whether an employer can be vicariously liable for the acts of a whistleblower’s fellow employees in response to a protected disclosure. Unlike the Discrimination statutes dealing with Race, Sex and Disability there is no express reference to such vicarious liability concerning whistleblowing in the ERA. The Employment Tribunal found that an employer can be vicariously liable for the detrimental treatment of an employee by a work colleague as a result of a protected disclosure provided that there is a sufficiently close connection between the breach of duty by the fellow-employee and their employment. This is notwithstanding the fact that there is no specific provision in s.47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 that holds an employer vicariously liable for such detriment against an employee who has made a protected disclosure.

Organizations in UK – Promoting Whistleblowing

Public Concern at Work (PCaW)18, the whistleblowing charity, is an independent charity set up in 1993. It provides free, confidential advice to those concerned about malpractice or wrongdoing in the workplace. It also provides consultancy services to organizations helping to audit, review and host their whistleblowing arrangements.

By way of brief background, PCaW was set up in response to a series of scandals and tragedies in the late 1980s and early 1990s The charity was closely involved in settling the scope and detail of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998(PIDA). Now they monitor the operation of the Act in the workplace and in the legal system and promote its approach to corporate and public governance across the UK and abroad.

Since 2004, the charity is funding all its own activities from the income raised through its advice line subscriptions and business support, training and consultancy.

BSI British Standards19 is the UK’s National Standards Body. BSI’s task is based on the production of standards and information products that promote and share best practice. They work with businesses, consumers and government to represent UK interests and to make sure that British, European and international standards are useful, relevant and authoritative. Further, they produce guidelines on internal whistleblowing policies/procedures such as The British Standards Institute “PAS 1998:2008 Whistleblowing arrangements Code of Practice” (BSI, 2008). This code was produced by an independent panel consisting of employers, trade unionists, lawyers and other experts on the subject.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body, given statutory by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The company is financed by the financial services industry. However, FSI is accountable to the Treasury and, indirectly, to Parliament. They have the ability to enforce, investigate and create rules pertaining to the financial sector in the UK, such as markets, exchanges and firms. FSA set the standards that must be met and failure to adhere to these standards will prompt action from FSA. They encourage firms to set up internal procedures related to whistleblowing. FSA may be contacted directly via their FSA Whistleblowing Desk (i.e. ‘The WB Desk’) if a) there are no procedures in the workplace, b) the whistleblower is not confident or uncomfortable about using the procedures or c) the procedures have been followed but the whistleblower is concerned about the form and nature of the response, or lack of response, by their firm. The FSA will perform an initial assessment of information in order to decide whether the information received falls within the scope of PIDA and if FSA is the right organization to receive the information or if there are other agencies are more appropriate. These agencies may or may not be on the “prescribed persons” list.

Relevant Academics

Vince Cable, Employment law specialist
http://vincentcable.org.uk/en/

Prof David Lewis- Professor of Employment Law
http://www.mdx.ac.uk/aboutus/staffdirectory/David_Lewis.aspx

Research Interest:

  • National Laws on the Protection of Whistleblowers
  • Employer Policies/Procedures in Confidential Reporting
  • Disciplinary Procedures and Remedies for Unfair Dismissal
  • Disqualification from Social Security Benefits

Conclusions

The UK legislation fully supports whistleblowers, using public funds to help compensate them if they suffer any reprisals or discrimination. It fails, however, to ensure that the whistleblower’s complaint is investigated and that action is taken to rectify any problems that emerge. The most significant aspect of the PIDA, however is that the emphasis is on workplace grievances.

Research conducted by PCaW shows that many people are unaware that there is some employment protection for whistleblowers so, clearly, greater efforts are needed in order to publicise and explain the legislation.

The Public Interest test proposed by DBIS was recently announced, meaning that they will be introducing a public interest test in the PIDA in order to overcome a legal loophole whereby individuals are able to claim protection for raising concerns about their own personal employment contract. This loophole arose in an interim employment tribunal case, Parkins v Sodexho20, and has watered down the public interest purpose of the PIDA.

Contrary to the Dodd-Frank Act in the USA, PIDA does not provide a financial incentive for whistleblowing. It is not unthinkable that such a provision will be added in the future. Note that workers who blow the whistle and subsequently get dismissed may recover compensation up to a statutory cap, but not by way of PIDA.

Although the scope of the PIDA is vast, it does not cover the genuinely self-employed (other than in the NHS), volunteers, the intelligence services or the armed forces.

The PIDA has been in force for a long time and has been well received, but there is also cause for concern. One major issue is the lack of provision for central monitoring of cases by the Government, which makes it difficult to track efficiently. Also, it does not compensate for the UK’s strong cultural reluctance to “go public”.

Last Modified: 11 June 2014


1 This is a standing committee set up by the UK Parliament to safeguard standards in public life and first chaired by Lord Nolan. The Nolan Committee produced three reports. In its first (1995) it recommended that all civil servants departments in the UK should nominate a member of staff to hear the concerns of employees in confidence; its second and third reports recommended that local authorities should introduce codes of practice and procedures for whistleblowing.

2 Interestingly, Shepherd had introduced his Protection of Official Information Bill in 1988 with the intent of replacing parts of the Official Secrets Act 1911 in order to offer limited protection to certain whistleblowers. The bill was defeated but he introduced similar provisions into law in 1998.

3 Note that two prior Private Member’s Bills had been introduced to Parliament in 1995 and 1996 by Tony Wright and Don Touhig. However, both failed to materialize. Mr Sheperd’s bill was accepted on the condition that it would be amended to the Employment Rights Act of 1996.

4 The Campaign for Freedom of Information is an apolitical lobby group that campaign against unnecessary secrecy by the government in the UK and for freedom of information.

5 Regarding discrimination in the workplace, Section 2(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976 and section 4(1) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 protect employees against victimization on that account.

6 Note that the common restrictions found in employment law regarding minimum qualifying period and age do not apply.

7 Cabinet Office, The Civil Service Code, June 2006, para 6

8 http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/employment-matters/docs/e/12-p136-employment-law-review-2012

9 Professor David Lewis, current convenor of an International Whistleblowing Research Network and Vince Cable, employment law specialist.

10 Cathy James, Chief Executive, PCW.

11 http://www.midstaffsinquiry.com/

12 http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/

13 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010)).

14 This is also known as a “qui tam” measure – a measure that allows private citizens to bring civil actions in the name of the government.

15 Babula v. Waltham Forest College [2007] IRLR 346 CA

16 Bolton School v. Evans [2007] IRLR 140 CA

17 Cumbria County Council v Carlisle-Morgan [2007] IRLR 314

18 http://www.pcaw.org.uk

19 http://www.bsigroup.com/britishstandards

20 2001 UKEAT 1239_00_2206