The Protection for Whistleblowing Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced in the House of Lords by Baroness Kramer (Liberal Democrat) on 13 June 2022. The bill’s second reading debate is scheduled to take place on 2 December 2022.

The key purpose of the bill is to increase the protection of whistleblowers in Great Britain. This followed concerns raised by parliamentarians and whistleblowing support organisations about the effectiveness of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 in providing adequate and comprehensive protection to whistleblowers and the public.

The bill would introduce several protections for whistleblowers, including the establishment of an independent Office of the Whistleblower. The office’s principal duty would be to protect whistleblowers and oversee the process of whistleblowing. It would do this in a variety of ways, including by setting minimum standards for whistleblowing policies and enforcing compliance of organisations with those standards. The bill would also create offences relating to the treatment of whistleblowers and the handling of whistleblowing cases. It would repeal the UK’s current whistleblowing legislation: the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. 

Baroness Kramer introduced a similar version of the bill during the 2021–22 parliamentary session. The previous bill focused on the establishment of an Office of the Whistleblower. It received its second reading debate on 25 June 2021, but failed to make it any further before the end of the parliamentary session.

Baroness Kramer’s latest bill is almost identical to a private member’s bill introduced by the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Whistleblowing, Mary Robinson (Conservative MP for Cheadle), in the House of Commons on 26 April 2022. This House of Commons bill fell at the end of the 2021–22 parliamentary session, before it could receive a second reading.

Several whistleblower support organisations have welcomed the bill, specifically the establishment of an Office of the Whistleblower. However, not all have agreed that the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 should be repealed and have argued that the legislation should be reformed instead. The government has committed to undertaking a review of the UK’s whistleblowing legislation. In October 2022, it said the scope and timing of this review would be set out in due course.

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