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Whistleblower support surges

Whistleblower support surges


Whistleblowing charity Protect reports a 23% increase in calls, addressing 3047 cases; majority from private sector

In 2023, Protect, the UK's leading whistleblowing charity, played a crucial role in the lives of thousands of whistleblowers by witnessing a significant surge in calls compared to the previous year. The charity, which provides practical and legal advice on raising workplace concerns, worked on a total of 3047 cases, marking a substantial 23% increase from 2022.

The distribution of calls reflected a diverse range of sectors, with 42% originating from the private sector, 24% from the public sector, and 23% from charities. Notably, health and social work dominated the statistics, constituting 30% of calls, closely followed by education at 15% and financial services at 7%. Health and social work experienced the most substantial increase, with calls skyrocketing by 48% between 2022 and 2023.

Despite common misconceptions, the majority of whistleblowers seeking Protect's assistance earned less than £30,000 annually, comprising 44% of callers. Another 23% fell within the income bracket of £30,000 to £50,000. These statistics debunk the stereotype of whistleblowers being high-paid executives in large corporations.

When reaching out to Protect's Advice Line, 41% of callers reported that their whistleblowing concerns had been ignored by their employers, while 21% indicated that their concerns were under investigation. Additionally, 15% stated that their employer had dismissed their concerns as invalid.

Protect's confidential legal Advice Line serves as a cornerstone for the charity's work. Staffed by legally trained advisers under the supervision of qualified solicitors, the Advice Line ensures that whistleblowers are well-informed about their legal rights for protection against harm from their employers. The charity also offers online templates to support legal claims, along with ongoing telephone and email support.

Elizabeth Gardiner, Protect's Chief Executive, acknowledged the influence of high-profile whistleblowing cases in the media, emphasising the increasing importance of Protect's services. She highlighted that nearly half of the callers were individuals earning less than £30,000, dispelling stereotypes about whistleblowers and emphasising their crucial role in holding organisations accountable.

One case study exemplifying Protect's impact involves Amal (not her real name), an employee of a charity providing wellbeing services to vulnerable adults. Amal's concerns about the safety of the charity's building were ignored until she sought Protect's assistance. Following their advice, Amal contacted the Health and Safety Executive, leading to an inspection of the premises.

Amal expressed gratitude for Protect's support, stating, "Protect really helped me at the beginning of my journey, giving me free confidential advice and support that I could count on. They have a kind, professional, and friendly approach. I always felt reassured and protected. It helped to give me the confidence to move forward with whistleblowing."

In conclusion, Protect's substantial impact on whistleblowers' lives and the increasing number of calls highlight the vital role the charity plays in supporting those who dare to speak up and protect the public interest. As whistleblowers become a more diverse group, the need for robust support mechanisms like Protect's Advice Line becomes increasingly apparent.

About Protect

Protect is the UK’s leading whistleblowing charity. We support whistleblowers by providing free and confidential legal advice. We support employers to implement effective whistleblowing arrangements and campaign for legal and policy reform to better protect whistleblowing.

Since 1993 Protect has supported more than 50,000 individual whistleblowers, and our free and confidential Advice Line supports around 3,00 cases each year.

Protect is lobbying for legal reform of the to strengthen whistleblowing and has drafted new whistleblowing legislation

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