UN Labour agency discusses public sector whistleblowing

28 September 2022

Ida Nowers

UN Labour agency discusses whistleblowing: International Labour Organization hosts meeting on protection of whistleblowers in the public sector

This week, (26 – 30 September 2022) the International Labour Organization – the United Nations body mandated to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards - will host a technical meeting on the protection of whistleblowers in the public sector. 

This technical meeting brings together Government representatives as well employers and workers (known as “tripartite”) representatives to discuss the topic of whistleblowing – in particular the protection of whistleblowers in the public service and public oversight bodies. The aim of the meeting is to adopt conclusions, including recommendations for future action by the ILO and ILO members.

Participants will discuss three key questions:
  • What are the main challenges that countries face in ensuring the independence of public servants, and persons working in public-sector oversight bodies, in relation to their ability to disclose wrongdoing?
  • What effective legislation and policies have countries adopted to protect public servants, and persons working in public-sector oversight bodies, from retaliation, harassment and violence for reporting wrongdoing, and what lessons have been learned from these experiences?
  • What recommendations should be made for future action by the International Labour Organization and its Members regarding the protection of whistle-blowers in the public service sector, and persons working in public-sector oversight bodies?
A background report was prepared by the ILO office as a basis for discussions. The paper examines whistleblowing policies and practices at the national, regional, and international policies and practices, recognising the protection of whistleblowers as a critical strategy for ensuring integrity in public services.

Read more: ILO report: The Protection of Whistle-blowers in the Public Sector

A panel discussion between participants can be viewed online here. Taking place on Wednesday 28 September from 13.30 - 15.00 CEST, the purpose of the panel is to provide a platform for governments, employers, and worker's representatives to discuss gaps, difficulties, and opportunities in the application of the current whistleblower protection frameworks in the public service sector.

Watch live: ILO panel discussion: Whistle-blower protection in the public service sector: Challenges and opportunities

The Whistleblowing International Network (WIN) is participating in the meeting as a civil society observer. Two WIN member organsiations are also participating in the meeting: Eurocadres, in the working group, and PPLAAF as an official observer. Along with Transparency International, WIN & PPLAAF will attend plenary discussions and make a statement made during the opening plenary.

Read more: WIN Statement to the Opening Plenary of the ILO technical meeting on the protection of whistleblowers in the public services

Further links:

Meeting timetable

List of participants

Ida Nowers is Law and Policy Coordinator at the Whistleblowing International Network and leads the EU Whistleblowing Monitor which monitors the transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing into member States national law.