Government announces plans to review whistleblowing system

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson has launched a Call for Evidence to ensure the whistleblowing system maintains its high standards.

It aims to specify whether or not there is enough support for people to report wrongdoing in the workplace, finely scrutinising the current laws that are in place.

Meanwhile, the government has announced a wider of package of measures as part of the Parliament-long review of Employment Law and through the Employment-Related Law Red Tape Challenge.

These include changes that will streamline the employment tribunal system and also help employers make the offer of settlements or use early conciliation to resolve disputes.

Ms Swinson believes ironing out any issues within the current system will be of benefit to the whole of the UK, not just employers and staff.

"We believe the current whistleblowing system works well," she said. "However, we cannot be complacent and recent events have put the spotlight on these protections."

"We have already introduced significant changes which have strengthened the protections, but in order to better support those who take the often difficult decision to report wrongdoing at work, we are launching a call for evidence to help us see if further changes are required in light of this."

Employment tribunals will be made easier to understand as part of the changes, as well as more efficient, while weak cases which should not proceed will be identified earlier and dealt with more effectively.

Alterations to legislation, and supporting guidance and tools, meanwhile, will make settlement agreements much simpler to use as a means of resolving workplace dispute, including where an employment relationship isn't working out.

The government also intends to remove some of the regulatory burden on business and focus regulation where workers are most at risk of exploitation, as well as concentrating more on helping the most vulnerable employees.

Other measures outlined were the government's response to the consultation on Early Conciliation, which sets out the government's commitment to make early conciliation a key component of the workplace resolution process, and the Unfair Dismissal award cap of 12 months' pay.

Copyright Press Association 2013