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'.

Report to us in confidence

We value the role whistleblowers can play in ensuring financial services are regulated effectively. Whistleblowing provides vital sources of confidential information and helps to identify risks to the firms we regulate.

If you think a firm or individual is involved in wrongdoing within the financial sector, and you want to report it confidentially, contact our dedicated and independent whistleblowing team whistleblowing@bankofengland.co.uk. They will provide advice and guidance to anyone who requires it.

We understand that a decision to provide confidential information can be difficult. If you have concerns about someone you work with, or another person, you may be unsure what to do or how to act for the best. Many types of wrongdoing cannot be acted upon unless someone decides to report it or they may only become known once an amount of damage or loss has been caused.

We encourage the reporting of wrongdoing at the earliest opportunity and will protect the identity of individuals who provide information. Every whistleblowing report we receive will be fully considered and treated as confidential.

Whistleblowing

Who should contact us?

  • If you are an employee or ex-employee who has witnessed wrongdoing at work, you can report your concerns to us with confidence.
  • You may want to report concerns on behalf of someone who is an employee in a financial regulated firm who has witnessed wrongdoing. You can speak to us confidentially.

If your concerns relate to a firm regulated only by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or if the matter relates to conduct issues, contact the FCA.

Protecting your identity and personal details

We recognise that disclosing information to us is a big decision. We have strong protections in place for whistleblowers. We will never confirm externally that a whistleblower exists, and we will protect your identity at all times from the organisation or individuals you are reporting. We will only disclose your identity with your consent or if we are legally obliged to do so.

If you raise your whistleblowing concern anonymously, we will treat all queries equally and investigate it as appropriate. However, it may be more difficult for us to assess and investigate your concern effectively and to communicate with you.

It is therefore helpful to provide us with your contact details (an email address, for example) and preferred method of contact. Where possible, please do not use shared email addresses or email addresses from your place of work to contact us, as this may risk your identity becoming known.

Regardless of the details, you provide to us, we will store it securely, treat it as confidential and access will be restricted to members of our whistleblowing team.

Find out more about how we handle your personal data.

How we deal with your disclosure

When you make a disclosure to us, a member of our dedicated whistleblowing team will contact you. They will discuss the whistleblowing process and answer any questions you may have.

We will create a unique confidential case from your disclosure and only share details to relevant Bank of England colleagues to assess the information and decide on the next steps. For example, if you are reporting on wrongdoing in an insurance firm, we will share with the appropriate insurance supervisors for that firm. When we share details of the case, we do not share personal details and we will redact all information that could disclose your identity.

If the firm you are reporting against is a jointly dual-regulated firm (regulated by both the Prudential Regulation Authority and the FCA), then we will share that information with the FCA’s whistleblowing team.

We will try to keep you updated as your case progresses, but we may be unable to discuss in detail what we have or have not done with the information you have provided. We hope that you will understand that ‘in confidence’ applies equally to whistleblowers, firms and other individuals.

Annual reports

Since 1 April 2017, ‘prescribed persons’, such as the Bank of England, have been required to produce an annual report on whistleblowing disclosures under the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill. Although the report must include certain facts, figures and an explanatory summary, the report must not contain confidential information.

We published our first report in September 2018. You can find our reports on the News, publications and events section of our website, by searching for ‘prescribed persons’.

How to blow the whistle

Making a report

If you have decided to disclose information to us, we ask you to provide as much detail as possible. It is helpful to know the following:

  • The firm’s or individual(s) name
  • What is the suspected wrongdoing?
  • Who is aware of the wrongdoing?
  • How long has it been going on for?
  • Where is the wrongdoing occurring?
  • Who else you have reported this information to, either internally at your place of work or externally outside of work?
  • If you have any supporting documentation or evidence you can share with us. We only ask to receive information, which is already in your possession, and do not encourage trying to obtain further information, which may place you at risk.

Other areas of consideration

  • Have you approached your firm’s internal whistleblowing team? We encourage individuals to use their employer’s whistleblowing channels first, unless they feel this is not a viable option or have already tried with no progress. If an individual wishes to report to us in parallel with raising an internal disclosure, we will be more than happy to assist.
  • Who regulates your firm? We will assist you with whistleblowing related matters and provide you with relevant guidance. However, did you know the Financial Services Register provides regulatory oversight information on firms?
  • Do you have a consumer complaint? We do not investigate individual complaints from consumers or customers about firms of individuals, however, the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to assist.
  • Do you require legal advice? Unfortunately, we cannot give legal advice. However, you can contact Protect, an independent charity that gives confidential advice on your rights as a whistleblower.

Whistleblowing and the law

The Employment Rights Act 1996, as amended by the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) 1998, allows workers to make disclosures of information in the public interest, by giving them protection from victimisation or detriment by their employer.

Under the law, you must generally make your disclosure either to your employer or the relevant ‘prescribed person’ in order to receive protection. We have a prescribed role for the financial services sector under the PIDA 1998 and you may report directly to us and qualify for the same rights as if you had made a report to your employer.

You may need to demonstrate that you are making a disclosure, which you reasonably believe is in the public interest and substantially true and the information tends to show either:

  • A person has failed or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation to which they are a subject, including the firms’ regulatory obligations to the PRA
  • A crime has been or is likely to be committed, for example fraud
  • A miscarriage of justice has occurred or is likely to occur
  • The health and safety of any individual has been or is likely to be endangered
  • The environment has been or is likely to be damaged
  • The covering up of any wrongdoing

Contact us about whistleblowing

We deal with all disclosures in a confidential manner.

  • Email: whistleblowing@bankofengland.co.uk 
  • Phone: +44 (0)203 461 8703 during office hours
  • Write to: IAWB (Legal Directorate), Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH

We record all calls to ensure we capture information effectively.

Due to Covid-19, there may be significant delay in receiving letters due to reduced office-based working. Where possible, please use email or phone.

This page was last updated 22 October 2021

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