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Labour Party committed to Whistleblowing?

The UK General Election is set for the 4th of July 2024, setting out potential changes to UK governance of whistleblowing. The current Whistleblowing Bill before Parliament is not going to become law. It was sponsored as a Private Members Presentation bill by Conservative MP, Mary Robinson. Because Parliament has been prorogued this bill has fallen. Here’s what says about Private member presentation bills to pour further doubt on this ever becoming law via the Private Member route…

Presentation Bills

Any Member may introduce a bill in this way as long as he or she has previously given notice of their intention to do so. Members formally introduce the title of the bill but do not speak in support of it – they rarely become law.

To ensure that Ballot bills take precedence at the start of a new session, Private Members may not apply to bring in a bill in any other way until after the ballot bills have been presented to the House. This restriction does not apply to government bills.

Labour Whistleblowing reform

Labour have pledged to give financial rewards to whistleblowers who expose stolen assets, sanctions breaches and recover misappropriated funds. The policy also used in the US can see whistleblowers rewarded with up to 30% of fines if they provide evidence that leads to an enforcement action. Nearly 70% of the $72bn recovered by the US DOJ came from whistleblower tip offs.

Failure to prevent sexual harassment

Labour have committed to amending the Equality Act to introduce a legal duty for employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment, likely backed up by a failure to prevent offence if appropriate policies, training and reporting mechanisms are not in place. This is likely to result in whistleblowing claims if there is widespread cases in any company.

Dual discrimination rights

The Equality Act 2010 will be expanded to enact protections against dual discrimination. This is where a person faces discrimination because of a combination of protected characteristics, such as a person who is gay and disabled. The new rules would allow a person to bring one discrimination claim for multiple instances of discrimination, this will potentially reduce tribunal cases by hearing all in a single tribunal case.

Tax evasion and money laundering

Senior Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Anti-Corruption has demanded more action against legal tax avoidance and loopholes. She wants criminal prosecutions of aggressive tax avoidance, and is likely to push for more corporate criminal sanctions against tax avoiders. What Labour have repeatedly failed to do while in power, is enforce good governance standards on firms in the British Overseas territories. This is despite those places being used to syphon tax out of the UK and being seen as global hotspots for money laundering.

AI protections

Labour plans to put into law a framework to ensure AI can be used to deliver better public services, to ensure public trust and also that AI will be used to uphold the privacy and security rights of people. A pledge to build the world’s most competent regulatory environment for AI and automation has been made, while ensuring that the regulatory environment appropriately and proportionally mitigates the potential harms that AI could cause by taking a principles-based approach to tech and AI. From across the pond, AI workers employed by ChatGPT/OpenAI are calling for whistleblowing protections to be strengthened to ensure adverse developments can be reported upon quickly and stopped.

Financial services reform

More consumer protection and regulation in the payday loan and buy now, pay later consumer credit market is promised. Private finance will be required to align investments with the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change, more backing for credit unions, and a pledge to maintain high international financial standards. No talk of increasing the power of whistleblowing in a sector where more than half of finance workers have witnessed fraud but less than half are willing to report it (probably due to fear of losing their jobs)

Modern slavery and supply chains

A commitment to embedding modern slavery protections and tackling human rights and labour abuses in both public and private supply chains with CSRD-style due diligence rules. They will mandate the use of human rights protection clauses to tackle modern slavery in supply chains.

You choose!

The politics is always clear, it’s a two horse race in the UK, but the sideliners are gaining greater influence as the population becomes more and more disillusioned with politicians. At least in this article we can see some of what Labour propose to do if they get into Government.