Backbench Business - Whistleblowingbackbench Business

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:34 pm on 3rd July 2019.

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Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 6:34 pm, 3rd July 2019

I am happy to meet colleagues to talk about things they would like done in this area, and I note that the right hon. Gentleman distinguished between guidance and a review, which I will come to.

I want to outline what the Government have done and what steps are being taken, though I understand that for some colleagues these have not gone far enough. We have increased the scope of the protections in whistleblowing legislation by extending them to NHS students, nurses, midwives and job applicants in the health sector. We have also fulfilled the commitment to keep the prescribed persons list up to date. In response to the recommendations from the Women and Equalities Select Committee, we have committed to adding the Equality and Human Rights Commission to the list of prescribed persons at our next annual update. It will be subject to parliamentary time, but we aim to present that to the House before the end of the year. As I outlined earlier, I will consider whether there are things we can do within that to make it clearer.

We have also introduced guidance for prescribed persons and employers to help them to support whistleblowers. The most recent reform was a new legislative requirement for most prescribed persons to produce an annual report on whistleblowing disclosures made to them by workers.