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Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015


76.During the passage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, the Government committed to run a call for evidence on whistleblowing in order to establish if there was a case to make changes to the existing statutory framework. The responses to the call for evidence included comments on the role of regulators and other bodies who are prescribed as recipients of whistleblowing disclosures for the purposes of Part 4A of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The comments indicated a lack of consistency in the approach taken by these “prescribed persons” and a lack of communication by them. Section 148 aims to address these problems by giving the Secretary of State a power to require prescribed persons to report annually on the whistleblowing disclosures they receive.

77.On 11 February 2015, Sir Robert Francis QC published the report of his whistleblowing review (“Freedom to Speak Up”) which considered how to build an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS. The report stated that legal protection should be enhanced and referred specifically to job applicants who faced discrimination by employers (about whom the protected disclosure had not been made) on the basis that they had previously made a protected disclosure. Section 149 aims to address such discrimination and provides the Secretary of State with a power, through regulations, to prohibit defined NHS employers from discriminating against a job applicant because it appears to the NHS employer that the applicant has made a protected disclosure.

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