Have You Met Your Whistleblowing Champion?

Have You Met Your Whistleblowing Champion?

If you work in the financial services sector in London or elsewhere it’s likely that your employer is caught by new rules on whistleblowing. Among the new obligations is the requirement that a senior manager is appointed as ‘whistleblowing champion’.

The rules – in the making since the financial crisis of 2008 – came into force fully at the beginning of this month. The new regime is designed chiefly to reassure employees by letting them know that if they make disclosures there are adequate procedures in place to protect them.

What Do The New Rules Mean For Financial Services Employees?

Employees in affected firms will notice several obvious changes. They are geared toward encouraging whistleblowing in a sector that has not traditionally welcomed negative disclosures. Changes include:

  • The appointment of a senior figure as whistleblowing champion. He or she will be responsible for informing employees of changes to company policy so they know their rights and for presenting an annual report on whistleblowing to the Board.
  • Extension of legal protection to more workers, including contractors and ex-employees.
  • Widening the nature of ‘reportable concerns’. Now a breach of an internal policy that an employee thinks may have a negative impact on the firm is reportable.
  • Introducing more stringent internal whistleblowing policies.
  • A requirement that settlement agreements clearly state that the making of protected disclosures is not prohibited.

Who Is Covered By The New Rules?

The rules apply only to certain categories of firms at present, including banks, building societies and credit unions. But they act as non-binding guidance for other financial services firms such as mortgage advisors and stockbrokers. They could be extended to this type of firm in the future.

Winston Brown, Principal solicitor at Brown & Co. advises employees and employers on their rights and obligations in relation to whistleblowing and other aspects of employment law. He also offers fixed-fee packages to develop bespoke internal HR policies and procedures for companies across London. These tailor-made packages can cover updated whistleblowing policies. Call 020 8858 5996 or contact us online.

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