For some the pace of change is not quick enough, but there is no doubt about the direction of travel: employers face growing pressure to take better care of whistleblowers.
Over the past few months there have been a number of developments. In August, the Government released a consultation paper about the proposed new requirement to make the relevant regulatory bodies publish generic information in their annual reports about how they have handled information received from whistleblowers.
Earlier in the Summer the influential House of Commons Public Accounts Committee published a report about whistleblowing in the public sector. Its headline conclusion was that “far too often, whistleblowers have been shockingly treated”.
In a final bit of tidying up in time for the new academic year a new prescribed persons order has been published. It contains the definitive list of regulatory bodies to whom whistleblowers can make disclosures. It comes into force on 1 October.
The theme emerging from a number of quarters is that good policies are of little benefit unless they are properly policed and enforced. A statutory code of practice still appears some way off, but educational institutions and public sector bodies can expect to see increasing pressure from relevant regulatory bodies or funders to make sure that their whistleblowing policy is more than a piece of paper, however well-drafted.