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Silence in the City? Whistleblowing in Financial Services

We have published the above report with support from Slater & Gordon Lawyers, into the experiences of whistleblowers working in financial services who contacted our advice line between 2007 and 2012.

The full report

Press release

Media coverage

Findings

This report on whistleblowing in the financial services industry follows on from a detailed review of calls to Public Concern at Work’s confidential advice line. We analysed 320 calls from workers in the financial services sector. An in-depth analysis of these calls provides a unique insight into the barriers and challenges people working in the sector face.

The findings reveal many workers are quick to make disclosures to a regulator, though the majority are also silenced after one attempt to raise a concern. There are some key messages for business in the data including an urgent need to build trust in their internal systems, more needs to be done to encourage workers to speak up and crucially business must respond effectively to the wrongdoing. Also revealed is the fact that many workers are dismissed when they first raise a concern, suggesting the starting point must be the development of a culture where there is zero tolerance of the victimisation of whistleblowers.

As we have seen with scandals in other sectors, such as at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, a culture of silence and victimisation of whistleblowers can have devastating consequences. With the financial services industry so crucial to Britain’s economy and recovery, we need proper accountability and transparency within the sector. Whistleblowers are a vital safety net in the system, but in this sector they appear to be silenced far more quickly than in any other. There is much work to be done.

Media coverage

Deaf Ear turned to most whistleblowers
The Financial Times, 20 May 2013

Financial whistleblowers 'not being listened to'
The Global Legal Post, 20 May 2013