Third of UK firms have no whistleblowing policy in place

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More than a third of British companies have no system in place for employees to raise concerns about the behaviour of colleagues.

The Whistleblowing Report 2019, published today by technology provider EQS Group with the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur in Switzerland, showed that 39 per cent of British companies received complaints about misconduct last year on matters such as bribery, theft or fraud.

Only Germany had a higher rate.

Misconduct was more frequently reported in large companies with more than 249 employees. Twenty nine per cent of these unearthed potential financial loss of between £9,000 and £90,000 via whistleblowing channels while 16 per cent identified over £90,000.

The UK has a more firmly entrenched whistleblowing culture than many other countries. Last month the EU adopted the Whistleblowing Directive which will strengthen whistleblowing provisions across Europe and must be implemented into member state laws by May 2021.

Viviane Joynes, UK managing director at EQS Group, said: “Whistleblowing channels are an important risk mitigation tool for organisations of all sizes. As mandated in the EU directive we believe that companies should offer effective, confidential and secure reporting channels to their stakeholders to protect their own and the public’s interest.”

Last year a new parliamentary group was established to give enhanced protections to whistleblowers.

The Financial Conduct Authority has seen an increase in the number of reports it receives.

There were 1,340 whistleblowing disclosures recorded for financial year 2014/15 against 1040 in 2013/14.

In the financial year 2007/08 the then Financial Services Authority received only 138.

Read more: Stronger protections needed for whistleblowers