National Audit Office – Whistleblowers warned over protection.

Whistleblowers in public bodies not audited by the NAO do not enjoy the same level of protection as those in mainstream public bodies, David Davis, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee has warned, writes Gavin Hinks. Questioning Treasury chief secretary Andrew Smith over the Resource and Accounts Bill last week, Davies said NAO audit should be extended to all public bodies. Davies 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, whistleblowers working in those bodies are not protected by the legislation. But experts who helped draw up legislation last year to protect whistleblowers, believe the fears are unfounded. Guy Dehn of Public Concern at Work, who contributed to the whistleblower Bill, said Davis was wrong. He said as long as informants had a ‘reasonable belief’ the public body concerned was audited by the NAO, they would be protected.

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