In a recent speech the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services has outlined the Government’s commitment to strengthening the legal framework to increase whistleblower protection by providing whistleblowers with the confidence and the protections to make disclosures at the same time as providing procedural fairness to those who are the subject of a whistleblower’s disclosure. Background.
She said that whistleblowers feel more confident in making disclosures through anonymous reporting and protection of their identity. The Government will expand the scope to include a broader class of people who can qualify for protection and improve access to compensation should whistleblowers be the subject of reprisals.
However she did not commit the Government to introducing a US bounty-style reward system as an incentive for whistleblowers.
She outlined areas where the current law was deficient:
- the scope of protection is too narrow and doesn’t extend to former employees or contractors, which means that an employee who blows the whistle on misconduct after leaving an organisation is not protected under the current regime;
- the law needs to facilitate effective investigations of misconduct reported to the regulators, while protecting the anonymity of the whilstleblower’s identity at the same time;
- There is also the need to clarify and strengthen the position in relation to compensation for whistleblowers who suffer detrimental treatment in response to them blowing the whistle;
- the need to toughen and harmonise corporate whistleblower protections with those in the public sector and to introduce comparable protections for those who blow the whistle on tax misconduct.
The Minister indicated that draft legislation would be released in the near future.