28 April 2022. In the UK’s House of Commons, Mary Robinson MP gave a speech earlier this week calling for better whistleblower protections in the UK and introducing a whistleblowing bill to Parliament. “Changes to how we handle whistleblowing will save money,” Ms. Robinson said. Her proposal was to repeal the UK’s existing Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA 1998) and replace it with an Office for the Whistleblower, a central resource for regulators, organizations, the public, and potential whistleblowers. In her speech to the Commons, she cited a figure that the UK loses 190 GBP per year to fraud. “It is in government and society’s interest to prevent the hemorrhaging of money to criminals and to bring it back to communities,” she said in support of this Office for the Whistleblower. To change the culture of silencing whistleblowers, Ms. Robinson proposed that the Office for the Whistleblower would put an end to “coercive” non-disclosure agreements (NDA). This Office would also manage whistleblower compensation, fine non-compliant organizations, and mitigate retaliation. This bill has been introduced to Parliament before in 2020 in a different format, so we will see if and when the UK government makes changes to its whistleblower rewards, protections, and programs.
The United States is unique in its whistleblower reward programs. In most other cultures, whistleblowing is typically not encouraged, though this latest British initiative is positive progress. International whistleblowers can be key persons with knowledge of manufacturing fraud overseas, for instance, for products that the US imports and government agencies purchase and in the area of cyber fraud that crosses geographic boundaries.