Whistleblowing and the Prudential Regulation Authority

Whistleblowing is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. This is officially referred to as ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.

Overview

A worker can report things that aren’t right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties, including:

  • A criminal offence (this may include, for example, types of financial impropriety such as fraud)
  • a breach of a legal obligation
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • danger to the health or safety of any individual
  • damage to the environment; or
  • the deliberate covering up of wrongdoing in the above categories

Personal grievances (e.g. bullying, harassment, discrimination) aren’t covered by whistleblowing law, unless your particular case is in the public interest. 

The Prudential Regulation Authority does not investigate individual complaints from consumers or customers about firms or individuals. The Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Conduct Authority may be able to assist.

We encourage whistleblowers to use the procedures in their own workplace, but they may contact us instead if they think their employer:

  • will cover it up
  • would treat them unfairly if they complained
  • hasn’t sorted it out and they’ve already told them, and
  • there is a public interest element

What we expect of Firms

Firms, as defined in PRA’s supervisory statement 39/15, and individuals working in the financial services sector should comply with the PRA rules on whistleblowing.

PRA supervisory statement 39/15 has been designed to work in conjunction with the Senior Managers Regime and Senior Insurance Managers Regime.

Please note that changes to supervisory statement 39/15 come into effect on 10 December 2018.

The requirement for UK branches of non-European Economic Area (EEA) deposit-takers; UK branches of non-EEA Solvency II insurers; and UK firms that are the UK subsidiaries of non-EEA deposit-takers with a UK branch can be found in Policy Statement 8/17.

Other regulated firms are encouraged to voluntarily comply by setting up appropriate internal procedures that will assist workers with concerns to blow the whistle. 

 

Who should contact the PRA about whistleblowing?

  • Individuals who work in the financial services industry who have concerns relating to their employer or other firms or individuals
  • Former employees in the financial services industry who have concerns about their employer or other firms or individuals 
  • Firms and individuals who want to understand more about our guidance, policy and procedures on whistleblowing.
     

Our expectations of whistleblowers

Whistleblowers should provide a disclosure which makes clear the nature of wrongdoing concerns, the identity of those involved and the public interest factor.  When a disclosure is made we do expect sight of any available supporting evidence. We do 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 us. 

How to report concerns

Before making a disclosure you need to reasonably believe that the Prudential Regulation Authority is the appropriate organisation to disclose your concerns to.

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, or if you are unsure if we are the appropriate organisation for your concerns then contact us on +44 (0)203 461 8703 during office hours. Alternatively, you can email us at PRAwhistleblowing@bankofengland.co.uk or write to us at: Confidential reporting (whistleblowing), PRA, 20 Moorgate, London EC2R 6DA.

Disclosures can also be made to the Financial Conduct Authority on +44 (0)20 7066 9200 during office hours or leave a message. Alternatively, email them via whistle@fca.org.uk or write to them at: Intelligence Department (Ref PIDA), Financial Conduct Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, London E14 5HS.

Please note: we record all calls and do so to ensure we have captured all the information correctly. We expect the vast majority of information provided by whistleblowers to be provided in writing, even if initial contact is made by telephone. We occasionally hold interviews with whistleblowers, which are usually attended by a minimum of two PRA staff.

 

What happens next?

We will:

  • look at the information
  • look at any other supporting information
  • contact you if we need more information (unless you have asked us not to or we think it is unsafe to do so)
  • decide if we will take further action

All information is securely stored. The whistleblower may or may not be identified in any subsequent reports which are clearly marked as related to a whistleblowing disclosure. This marking system should help alert staff to the fact that neither the information, nor the whistleblower's identity, should be disclosed internally or externally without reference to the whistleblowing team. During investigation we may collect other information about you.  This may include personal data from other sources such as regulatory records or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We process this personal data as necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the Bank. Our privacy notice is set out below.  

When whistleblowers first contact us we will explain that we will be unable to supply any more than very limited feedback to them. In many cases, statutory restrictions on the disclosure of information we obtain in the course of exercising our functions are likely to prevent such disclosure.

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 the Financial Conduct Authority (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 published their conclusions on financial incentives for whistleblowers. In summary, both regulators considered that providing financial incentives to whistleblowers would not encourage whistleblowing or significantly increase integrity and transparency in financial markets.

Legal advice for whistleblowers

We 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 that gives free, legal and confidential advice.

We do not have the power to intervene in employment relations. Employment related advice, including whistleblowing, can be sought from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service at ACAS.

 

Privacy notice

How we use your information

Information we collect

By contacting us, the Bank of England (‘we’ or the ‘Bank’) may collect personal data about you.

This information may include contact details, professional information, and any other further information you decide to share with us.

Where personal data is processed, the Bank takes steps do this in a manner that is fair and transparent and that protects individuals’ information rights.

Why we need your personal data

We collect your personal data to process the information you provide to us under the whistleblowing scheme.  As such, we process your personal data as necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the Bank.

What we do with your personal data

Safeguarding your personal data is important to us.  The Bank is committed to information security and we use a range of layered information security measures. Personal data will be put into a secure intelligence database with restricted access arrangements. Reports are clearly marked as related to a confidential and sensitive whistleblower's disclosure. The whistleblower may or may not be identified in the report. This protective marking system highlights the fact that neither the information, nor the whistleblower's identity, should be disclosed internally or externally without reference to the whistleblowing team.

We may share this information in confidence with other regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority, or law enforcement agencies such as the Police.  In complying with applicable laws and for law enforcement purposes, we may also disclose data in confidence (for example to a relevant government entity or regulatory authority). This may mean that personal data is transferred outside the European Economic Area.

We will keep your personal data for as long as the Bank needs in order to fulfil its obligation with regard to your whistleblowing report. 

Further information about how we handle personal data can be found here at Privacy and the Bank of England.

Your rights

You have a number of rights under data protection laws.  For example, you have the right to ask us for a copy of the personal data the Bank holds about you.  This is known as a ‘Subject Access Request’.  You can ask us to change how we process or deal with your personal data, and you may also have the right in some circumstances to have your personal data amended or deleted. 

To contact us about those rights, including making a request for the personal data we hold about you or to make a complaint, please see the Privacy and the Bank of England page or write to us at: 

The Privacy Team
Bank of England
Threadneedle Street
London, EC2R 8AH

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data not in accordance with the law you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

More information

The Bank’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted via the details above and you can also find out more about how the Bank deals with your personal data via the Privacy and the Bank of England page.

This page was last updated 28 August 2018
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