The charity Protect, which offers free, confidential whistleblowing advice and which recently succeeded in calling on HMRC to re-open its fraud reporting hotline, is campaigning to reform the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

The charity has therefore put forward a draft bill calling for change, alongside two other bills, all of which seek to reform the current legislation. Although all three bills call for a Whistleblowing Commissioner to be established, there are also variations in their proposals.

The bill proposed by Protect seeks wider protection of more people than is allowed under the current legislation. For instance, it wants protection for non-executive directors, volunteers, self-employed people and job applicants. It also wants to see the introduction of a duty on employers to prevent victimisation; as well as the introduction of a Whistleblowing Commissioner, a new independent body to set standards and administer penalties.

The second bill, which has been proposed by Dr Whitford MP, calls for the repeal of the current Act, the introduction of a criminal offence for victimising whistleblowers and the creation of a Whistleblowing Commission with wide ranging powers to advise, investigate and provide compensation.

A third bill has also been proposed by Baroness Kramer who is co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Whistleblowing, which includes setting up an Office for the Whistleblower to fund legal support and provide compensation for whistleblowers.

Amid reports of increasing furlough fraud, HMRC recently re-opened its fraud hotline after calls from Protect for reassurance that whistleblowers would not be liable to pay back fraud debts under new Finance Bill powers granted to HMRC.

Although HMRC has re-opened its fraud hotline telephone service on 0800 788 887, it advises anyone wanting to report suspected fraud that they should use its online form on the basis that it provides the quickest way to contact the service.

For more information on Protect’s proposed reforms to whistleblowing legislation, go to:

To access HMRC’s information report form to report fraud, go to: