The Whistler's view on crowdfunding for PIDA legal representation
We have great respect and empathy for those whistleblowers who seek crowdfunding for their PIDA cases and we totally understand why they have been driven to do so in hoping to get justice. It is shameful that whistlers are put in this situation for doing the right thing.
Please note that the following applies only to our view on PIDA cases in the UK, not to international cases which request public funding.
Here are the reasons we do not take part in crowdfunding to pay legal bills for UK PIDA cases:
1. There are many UK whistleblowers needing legal support for PIDA cases and crowdfunding will not be able to raise enough to help them all.
2. Even if a whistleblower's case gets good publicity and is clearly in the public interest, it is extremely difficult for most to raise enough money to cover all the legal costs.
3. Even if enough is raised to pay a barrister, there is still no effective law to provide justice - there is only PIDA, which is employment law and does not deal with the wrongdoing and risk, sometimes criminal, reported by whistleblowers.
This is why we do not take part in discussions on "reforming PIDA" or "whistleblowing commissions" - PIDA needs to be scrapped completely, not reformed.
Our very limited resources are used most effectively in running our helpline and campaigning for Edna's Law so that in future the State will prosecute, instead of expecting the whistleblower to save up to pay for legal proceedings before speaking up.
We wish all whistlers well and we know of a few who have been successful in crowdfunding to pay rent, mortgage, household bills etc.
This is very positive as it shows that many people do appreciate them for acting in the public interest and want to help, and we believe that for most whistlers any crowdfunding money they can raise is better used for those purposes than for PIDA cases.
To ensure our independence we do not accept funding from national or local government, law firms, banks, businesses and corporations or the media.
We are not interested in selling stories or making money from any disclosures
(this includes any print, broadcast or online media outlet).
For this reason, we have no association with “whistleblowers’ agencies” such as Whistleblowers.uk.com or any other similar commercial organisations.
We are not connected to any print, broadcast or online media outlet.
We also have no association with business-financed groups seeking compromise, in-house accommodation and gagging orders,
where the whistleblower may be exposed in front of the very people he or she has blown the whistle against.
For this reason we have no association with Public Concern At Work, which incorrectly describes itself as “independent”.
Any organisation selling policies, procedures and helpline services to employers, as PCAW does,
cannot claim to be independent in a dispute between their paying customer and that customer's whistleblowing employee.
This is why many have a vested interest in PIDA even though
it does not provide justice for whistleblowers or protect the public.
The Whistler has no such conflict of interest.
We work only for whistleblowers and for the public interest.
Please click on images above to read about
David and Reva Logan
and the work of the Logan Foundation
Thank you to the
Reva & David Logan Foundation
whose generosity enabled the launch of The Whistler
A note on the Polkey Deduction
(or as we call it "doing the hokey Polkey")
Large compensation awards by employment tribunals are sometimes in the news and the public perception may be mistaken about how much the whistleblower actually keeps after legal costs are paid.
There is also the "Polkey deduction". Under Polkey, employment tribunals may award compensation to a successful PIDA claimant but then impose deductions, even up to 100%
(as Ian Perkin explains on the Failures of PIDA video on the Edna's Law page).
So some whistleblowers won their PIDA cases but still ended up with very little compensation or even none at all, sometimes due to huge legal bills, and sometimes due to the Polkey deduction, or a combination of both. Some are even left in debt with legal bills still to be paid.
The employment tribunals are not interested in any wrongdoing or risk, and have no power to remedy them.
Instead they focus solely on employment law.
No-one should have to face an employment tribunal alone because it is extremely stressful for a claimant even to prepare and present their case, let alone undergo cross-examination by an experienced barrister, doing their best to shred the whistleblower's reputation by referring to their work history, how many jobs they have had previously, saying they would have left soon anyway, or claiming there were personality clashes with colleagues etc.
This is why we try to provide volunteer court companions for whistleblowers whenever possible.