Whistleblowing: UK FCA announces plans to avoid being the listener of last resort
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The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced plans to keep whistleblowers better informed about the way in which information provided to the FCA is being used and, in particular, the FCA’s rationale for taking or not taking action.
It is well known that one of the biggest frustrations for whistleblowers is the lack of feedback. However, the FCA’s commitment to finding a way to provide further feedback to whistleblowers, in a way that is consistent with its statutory confidentiality obligations, may be easier said than done.
Employers have been addressing this same issue by trying to move the dial on speak-up culture and are starting to keep individuals engaged during the process. However, an FCA survey identified the most common reason for whistleblowers reporting directly to the FCA was the whistleblower feeling that their internal complaint had been ignored. Employers need to be the listener of first resort, which requires not only dealing with disclosures but also reassuring whistleblowers that the disclosures are being investigated. Even where meaningful feedback cannot be given, something can be said to persuade the individual that their speaking up was valued and remedial steps will be taken, where appropriate.