Whistleblowing and the Bank of England

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:

  • 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)
  • covering up wrongdoing

Whistleblowing and Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes

FMI whistleblowing and confidential reporting

SONIA complaints and whistleblowing

The PRA's approach to whistleblowing

We encourage firms to consider setting up appropriate internal procedures that will encourage workers with concerns to blow the whistle. It is our policy to 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.

Who should contact the PRA about whistleblowing?

  • 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 our guidance, policy and procedures 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 +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.

Please note: we record all calls and do so to ensure we have captured all the information correctly. If a caller asks us not to record the conversation we will respect their wishes. 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 once I have blown the whistle?

When whistleblowers first contact us we will explain 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 we obtain in the course of exercising our 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 team.

Our expectations of whistleblowers

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 (or other organisations).

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.

PDFNote on financial incentives for whistleblowers 

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.

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 01 June 2018
Was this page useful?
Add your details...