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Rise in whistleblowing

Employment Law Review 21 February 2024

 

The whistleblowing organisation, Protect, has reported an increase of calls of almost a quarter to its advice helpline in the year from 2022 to 2023.

The charity, which provides free, confidential whistleblowing advice to anyone who has become aware of malpractice or wrongdoing in their workplace, was involved in 3047 total cases in 2023, up 23 per cent on 2022.

The majority of the calls came from the private sector (42 per cent) with just under a quarter from the public (24 per cent) and charity (23 per cent) sectors.

Calls came from every kind of industry/profession with most calls from health and social work (30 per cent), education (15 per cent) and financial services (7 per cent). Health and social work saw the biggest rise, with calls jumping by 48 per cent between 2022 and 2023. 

Although there may be an assumption that whistleblowers are highly paid execs working senior roles in big firms, Protect reports that most calls came from people with an annual income below £30,000 (44 per cent). It says that these are often workers on hospital wards and in small charities concerned about patient safety and the abuse of vulnerable people.  Just less than a quarter of calls (23 per cent) came from people earning between £30,000 and £50,000.  

At the time callers contacted the advice line: 

  • Two in five (41 per cent) said their whistleblowing concern had been ignored by their employer.
  • A fifth (21 per cent) said their concern was under investigation. 
  • And 15 per cent of callers said their employer had told them their whistleblowing concern was not valid. 

 

The organisation is not surprised at the increase in the number of calls, given the increase in high-profile cases reported recently in the media. These range from the consultants at the Countess of Chester Hospital who tried to raise concerns about the nurse Lucy Letby to the workers in Fujitsu trying to prevent the Post Office miscarriage of justice.

To contact Protect, click here or ring their confidential helpline number on 020 3117 2520.