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Francis’ report should have gone further, says Middlesex professor

Whistleblowing expert Professor David Lewis told BBC Radio Five Live today (19 February) that Sir Robert Francis QC should have gone further in his Freedom to Speak Up report, for which Professor Lewis was a lead researcher.

Professor David LewisThe Professor of Employment Law told Five Live Daily host Peter Allen: "There should be criminal sanctions against those who victimise and criminal sanctions for those who knowingly provide false information because that undermines the concept of whistleblowing.

"People are blowing the whistle in the public interest and they need to be protected, and society needs to indicate firmly that the victimisation of whistleblowers is unacceptable."


Professor Lewis' research found that: "despite all the evidence about bullying and harassment 71% of respondents said they were more likely to raise a concern again than 12 months ago, so I don't think that one should be pessimistic about this.

"The positive thing from Francis' report is that it establishes good practice which I say should apply to other sectors."

Lagging behind

Professor Lewis, who leads the Whistleblowing Research Unit at Middlesex, is also concerned about how the UK lags behind other countries in relation to legislation requiring whistleblowing procedures. He said: "New Zealand has required its public sector to have procedures since 2000. What's the case against having a whistleblowing procedure? Nobody can lose out from the existence of a procedure."

Click here to listen to the full interview from BBC Radio Five Live.

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