The Halfway House is Only Halfway Built: Reforming the system of prescribed persons and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 is now 20 years old. The Act provides a way for claimants to take action against their employer if they suffer detrimental treatment or are dismissed for blowing the whistle. The Act does not place requirements upon organisations or authorities to deal with the whistleblower or the concern in a particular way. There is now growing recognition that the law could be improved. In this article the authors provide a detailed analysis of one particular aspect of the law, the role of ‘prescribed persons.’ The authors highlight several inadequacies with the current scheme identifying that there are certain important regulators missing and that there are sectoral imbalances. The authors explore several options for reform, consider the positives and negatives of establishing a new whistleblowing agency and recommend that the list of prescribed persons should be either updated to include the important regulators who are currently missing or better still be entirely replaced by new legislation.