A new version of the Civil Service Code has now been published.
There are a few minor changes which might affect whistleblowers, as it now more clearly forms part of the contract of employment of a Civil Servant.
Even Special Advisors , who are exempt from the sections dealing with political impartiality, are still expected, by the Civil Service, at least, to comply with the rest of the Code.
However, although there is now a mention (in a footnote on the last page) , of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 no real guidance is given as to when this might, or might not apply.
The whistleblowing legislation (the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998) may also apply in some circumstances.
The supposedly independent Office of the Civil Service Commissioners of will, apparently now sometimes take complaints from Civil Servants directly, rather than only after all the internal management complaints processes have been exhausted, something which was and which may still be deeply flawed at the Home Office.
The Commissioners will also consider taking a complaint direct.
However they do not offer any confidential telephone hotline, or SMS text message, or anonymous or encrypted email or web form facilities, which means that some Civil Servant whistleblowers are not going to trust them to keep their complaints confidential from their line managers and work colleagues.
similarly, the duty of confidentiality has now been reduced to the very simple yet catch-all:
6 You must not:
- disclose official information without authority. This duty continues to apply after you leave the Civil Service.
There is no guidance about, for example, the publishing of anonymous work blogs by Civil Servants, so it is really hard to see how the press releases and speeches claiming that the Civil Service is fitr for the 21st Century can be completely true..
When will there be a legally enforcable Ministerial Code of Conduct ?