Previous Article Next Article HR HartleyOn 23 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Encourage workers to blow the whistleWhat in HR’s name was management at the Immigration and NationalityDirectorate (IND) doing in the case of whistleblower Steve Moxon? It didn’t putHR in a good light – especially as the case was all over national TV. There was Moxon on the steps of the IND building in Sheffield, unable toenter as the system had been changed to reject his ID swipecard. This incident, shown on main evening news bulletins, was a PR disaster forthe IND and aspects of its HR policies, as well as embarrassing for theGovernment. It should know that public sector whistleblowers enjoy near-herostatus in the media and among much of the British public. Moxon’s ‘crime’ was to tell the public he serves about malpractice in adepartment that it pays for. He also showed that Beverley Hughes, minister forimmigration, is about as in touch with her department as Bernard Manning iswith his feminine side. The IND failed to tell her that it had ignored immigration regulations whileprocessing about 11,000 applications from Eastern Europeans wishing to stay inthe UK. Really? This latest whistleblowing episode comes as no surprise and must concernpublic sector HR managers who can expect more of the same. Recently, GCHQ linguist Katherine Gun and former minister Clare Short haveboth breached their obligations under the Official Secrets Act and givendetails of secret government spying practices. Gun wasn’t prosecuted fully andShort not at all. This gives the green light to other whistleblowers. If they haven’t done soalready, HR managers – especially those in the public sector – must preparewhistleblowing policies. They could start by reading the 1999 Public InterestDisclosure Act, which offers some protection to whistleblowers who keepcomplaints in-house. But that is not enough. Organisations must encourage genuine whistleblowersto come forward. They should have a published policy on whistleblowing and asenior manager tasked with handling cases. Otherwise they might just switch on the TV and see an employee ranting abouttheir organisation’s shortcomings on the evening news. Hartley is an HR director at large Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.