A recently published article serves as an important reminder for individual companies wanting to help ensure their whistleblowing systems are working effectively.
Based on the response from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the article stated that the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was still assessing hundreds of whistleblowing reports that it had received as long ago as 2019 and contained a statement from the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Whistleblowing stating that those submitting whistleblowing reports had the right to expect them to be dealt with in a timely manner.
It's a key point - if a whistleblower genuinely believes that any disclosures they make will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly, it increases the likelihood that they will be prepared to share and report their concerns.
To help reinforce that message, companies should consider publishing data about the volumes of reports received, the number of investigations conducted and high-level outcomes. This type of information can help demonstrate that whistleblowing reports are taken seriously and encourage trust.
Whistleblowing is a vital component of good corporate governance, compliance and risk management but for it to work effectively, it needs to be, and be seen to be, efficient so that whistleblowers feel confident using it.
It's therefore unsurprising that an increasing number of companies are turning to third party providers to help them manage their whistleblowing hotlines. This has a number of benefits including:
- greater employee engagement through enhanced confidentiality and independence;
- faster whistleblowing report assessments driven by service level agreements determining the time period in which disclosures have to be reviewed; and
- specialist input such as the identification of any legal or regulatory issues that require immediate escalation or action.
For more information on how to assess and improve the effectiveness of your whistleblowing hotline, or if you’d like to know more about managed whistleblowing services please contact Neal Ysart, Lead Regulatory & Investigations Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: +971 55 138 9250 or your usual Clyde & Co point of contact.
Mary Robinson MP (Con), chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Whistleblowing, said those bringing whistle-blowing concerns to the FCA had the right to expect those reports to be handled in a timely manner. "Whistleblowers are critical to the success of the FCA, they are informed insiders providing vital early alerts about wrongdoing across the financial services industry and they should expect their concerns to be handled in a timely and responsive way,"