Working for the public interest

first_imgThe Public Interest Disclosure – or whistleblowing Act – will herald a newage of corporate accountabilityWe always made clear that we favoured legislation to protect workers andmanagers who blow the whistle from victimisation. I supported similarlegislation in Opposition, and am delighted that we have been able to fulfilour commitment in government.The Public Interest Disclosure Act came into force in July 1999. It islegislation that was much needed. Inquiries into major disasters of the past decade – such as the capsizing ofthe Herald of Free Enterprise ferry and the fire on the Piper Alpha North Seaoil platform – have found that workers had been aware of potential dangers or wrongdoingsbut were too scared to sound the alarm. But attitudes in the workplace are changing. I urge organisations to makesure this continues. The legislation, which received support from businessleaders and trade unions, is helping to encourage an open working environmentwhere employers and employees work together to deal with wrongdoing. Itprovides the basis for greater openness in the workplace where individuals canraise issues of concern without fear of recrimination. In the Civil Service, the timely legislation complements existingwhistleblowing procedures set out in the Civil Service Code. The code is partof all civil servants’ terms and conditions of employment. It was felt to beneeded for two reasons – to provide a statement of the core values of theimpartial Civil Service, and to put in place the establishment of anindependent appeals procedure for civil servants to raise matters of concernrelating to issues of propriety or ethical standards.Dealing effectively with wrongdoing and failures should be an integral partof good working practices. All of us – whether employer or employee – have akey role in working together to prevent problems arising and to ensure that anyfailures are resolved quickly.The Government’s role is to provide a robust legal safety net. Many of thedisasters we have experienced must not be allowed to happen again.We have ensured that if people blow the whistle in the public interest, theycan do so in the knowledge that they are protected against action by theiremployer. If action is taken, unlimited compensation can be awarded.Whistleblowing is not about sweeping things under the carpet; it is aboutaccountability and responsibility. Above all, it is about making a difference. By Ian McCartney minister of state at the Cabinet Office Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Working for the public interestOn 21 Mar 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img