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  • Writer's pictureJoe Styles

Protecting whistleblowers requires acknowledgement that we have a problem.

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

UK banks fail to assess, escalate whistleblower reports consistently - FCA

See full article: by Kirstin Ridley Commentary on: UK Banks and their response to whistleblower reports.

Most banks in Britain are not assessing and escalating whistleblower concerns consistently and some need to improve arrangements to protect those who lift the lid on wrongdoing from victimisation.

The treatment and protection of whistleblowers is an increasingly hot topic in Europe after Howard Wilkinson, a Briton, helped expose a 200 billion euro (174 billion pounds) money laundering scandal at Denmark’s Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO).

The FCA review of whistleblowing procedures was published on the day Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) settled a drawn-out case over how it had handled a report by a one-time employee who had alleged former bosses had concealed a vast fraud at one branch.

How is the problem being addressed? The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that some banks should improve how they document whistleblowing investigations and should differentiate training programmes for staff, managers and internal investigators.

Adopting one-size fits all attitude toward whistleblowing is ineffective and does not adequately protect whistleblowers.

As seen in the Lloyds Banking Group case, there is a clear necessity for transparency on all levels in order for authentic protection and accountability for whistleblowing cases. Publishing the FCA review of Lloyds Banking Group procedures sends a real message out to big businesses in the UK. There is no more room for piecemeal protection and box-ticking exercises. Transparency is a key tool ensuring procedures and systems effectively handling the assessment and escalation of whistleblowing reports.

“The senior management and board of firms are responsible for clearly communicating and fostering a culture that welcomes discussion and challenge, so that wrongdoing is identified early and addressed promptly to stop actual or potential harm developing,” FCA said in a statement.

Changing the culture and perception surrounding whistleblowers is paramount in affecting real and lasting change. These ideas are not new, they have been brought forward for years, it is only now that there are real steps being taken to ensure this change is made.



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