An independent authority has launched new guidelines to mark the tenth anniversary of the Public Interest Disclosure Act
A new code of practice on whistleblowing arrangements is available for organisations.
Building on the Public Interest Disclosure Act, the code (PAS 1998:2008) explains the value whistleblowing has as an early warning system and how it can be used to prevent corruption, fraud and other types of crime.
The code authors said allowing employees to raise issues in a supportive environment brings real benefits. But recent research shows only 40% of UK businesses provide a comfortable environment for staff wishing to report misconduct.
Guy Dehn, director of Public Concern at Work, which published the guidelines in association with British Standards Institute, explained that whistleblowing arrangements demonstrate responsibility and openness to employees, shareholders and regulators.
“The management time and resources saved mean that whistleblowing procedures are a cost-effective early warning system for firms.
The Financial Services Authority
An effective policy should communicate to employees the confidence to go directly to regulators if they are aware of wrongdoing, he said. 'Hotlines can be a useful tool but shouldn’t be relied upon because they abrogate responsibility outside the organisation.'
The Financial Services Authority, charged with tackling market abuse in the City of London, commented on the value of whistleblowing: ‘The management time and resources saved mean that whistleblowing procedures are a cost-effective early warning system for firms.’
Steve Bundred, chief executive of the Audit Commission, added: ‘Whistleblowing arrangements are a vital component of good internal control arrangements within well run organisations.’
Whistleblowing is now seen across private and public sectors as an essential element of risk management. Public bodies and listed companies are obliged to have whistleblowing policies in place.
PAS 1998: 2008 recommends that key elements in making whistleblowing work are:
Fail-safe channels and confidential advice
Building employee trust
Providing for external disclosures
The role of leadership