MPs’ fears that public sector whistleblowers lack protection dismissed

Experts who helped draw up legislation last year to protect whistle blowers, believe the fears are unfounded.

Concerns were expressed by Davis when the PAC questioned Treasury Chief Secretary Andrew Smith last week regarding the Resource and Accounts Bill which is intended to bring commercial accounting practices to government departments.

He and fellow committee member, Charles Wardle, believe that because 80 non-departmental public bodies, such as the Environment Agency, are not audited by the NAO whistle blowers working in those bodies are not protected by the legislation.

However Guy Dehn of Public Concern at Work, who contributed to the whistle-blower bill, said Davis was wrong.

He said as long as whistle-blowers have a ‘reasonable belief’ the public body concerned is audited by the NAO they would be protected.

On Tuesday the standing committee debating the bill was expected to consider one of the PAC’s major amendments – to allow the NAO automatic right of access to all public bodies.

Alan Williams, a PAC member drafted onto the standing committee, said the fact that 80 public bodies spending £3bn were not audited by the NAO, represented a democratic challenge to parliament.

Calls last night for audit watchdog to be given greater powers to probe government

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