What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. This is officially referred to as ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.
A worker can report things that aren’t right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties, including:
- someone’s health and safety is in danger;
- damage to the environment;
- a criminal offence;
- the company isn’t obeying the law (like not having the right insurance); and/or
- covering up wrongdoing
The PRA's approach to whistleblowing
Firms are encouraged to consider setting up appropriate internal procedures which will encourage workers with concerns to blow the whistle. It is the PRA’s policy to encourage whistleblowers to use the procedures in their own workplace, but they may contact the PRA's Whistleblowing Function if they think their employer:
- will cover it up;
- would treat them unfairly if they complained; and/or
- hasn’t sorted it out and they’ve already told them.
Who should contact the PRA Whistleblowing Function?
- Individuals who work in the financial services industry who have concerns about their employer or other firms or individuals and who want to know more about blowing the whistle.
- Firms and individuals who want to understand more about the Prudential Regulation Authority’s (PRA) guidance, policy & procedures are on whistleblowing.
How do I blow the whistle?
We would encourage you first to use the whistleblowing procedures in your workplace. If there aren't any or if you don't feel able to do so, then contact us on 0203 461 8703 during office hours. Alternatively, you can email us at PRAwhistleblowing@bankofengland.co.uk
or write to us at:
Confidential Reporting (Whistleblowing)
Please note: We record all calls and do so to ensure we have captured all the information correctly. If the caller asks us not to record the conversation we will respect their wishes. The PRA expects the vast majority of information provided by whistleblowers to be provided in writing, even if initial contact is made with the PRA by telephone. The PRA occasionally holds interviews with whistleblowers, usually attended by a minimum of two PRA staff.
What happens once I have blown the whistle?
When whistleblowers first contact the PRA it will be explained that we will be unable to supply any more than very limited feedback to them about the outcome of the provision and investigation of information. In many cases statutory restrictions on the disclosure of information obtained by the PRA in the course of exercising its functions are likely to prevent such disclosure.
The information will usually be put into a report which is saved on an intelligence database with limited access arrangements. Reports are clearly marked as related to a whistleblower's disclosure. The whistleblower may or may not be identified in the report. This marking system should help alert the limited PRA staff who can access the database to the fact that neither the information, nor the whistleblower's identity, should be disclosed internally or externally without reference to the PRA Whistleblowing Function.
PRA's expectations of a whistleblower
The PRA does not encourage whistleblowers to proactively obtain any further information from any source, whatever the circumstances, as this action might infringe the law. However whistleblowers may be asked to clarify the information they have already provided to the PRA (or other organisation).
Financial incentives for whistleblowers
Further to the final report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, Changing Banking For Good (published in June 2013), the PRA and FCA agreed to conduct further research into the impact of financial incentives on encouraging whistleblowing in the US, working with the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and to publish the conclusions.
On 30 July 2014, the PRA and FCA (the regulators) published its conclusions on financial incentives for whistleblowers. In summary, the regulators consider that providing financial incentives to whistleblowers will not encourage whistleblowing or significantly increase integrity and transparency in financial markets. The regulators will press ahead with the regulatory changes necessary to require firms to have effective whistleblowing procedures, and to make senior management accountable for delivering these. By the end of 2014, the regulators will publish proposals that address how to improve whistleblowing regimes within firms.
See the ‘Note on Financial Incentives for Whistleblowers’ in Key Resources below.
The PRA cannot give legal advice to a whistleblower. Whistleblowers may wish to take legal advice from a lawyer at their own expense. Alternatively they can contact Public Concern at Work, an independent charity which gives free, legal and confidential advice. You can contact them on 020 7404 6609 or www.pcaw.co.uk