New guide attempts to turn the tide on perceptions of whistleblowers

A new guide is providing guidance for dealing with whistleblowing for employers, advising on how to respond to and carry through a complaint, in response to the perceived stigma associated with raising issues of concern within the workplace.

 Issued by the Chartered Insurance Institute, it recommends six steps on how organisations should "respond appropriately" to the prospect of employees who raise concerns of "a dangerous activity or a serious risk to the business" and outlines the difference between blowing the whistle and complaining.

 The guide identifies the stigma surrounding those who "blow the whistle" at work, stating that it is usually associated with "disloyalty". But it refutes this claim, conversely proposing that firms view whistleblowing as a positive thing. Through appropriately handling the concerns raised by employees, businesses can address problems and forfeit any "financial and reputational impact".

 The Director of Impetro Consulting Ltd, Paul Hubbard, has proposed that employers and counter-fraud managers in particular should "take whistleblowers more seriously" calling for greater attention to paid to dealing with those who hold internal criticisms.

 Mr Hubbard corroborates the claims made in the guide and extols the virtues of providing appropriate protection to those who raise issues and also the progressive aspect of responding to internally raised criticism.


Cultural perception

 He said: "Think how many more people would provide information to catch fraudsters within their businesses if they felt comfortable that they would be treated fairly and not subject to any negative repercussions.

 "Counter-fraud managers especially should be treating whistleblowing more seriously and investing more time and effort in this area."

 Despite the cultural perception of whistleblowing, legislation is in place that prevents the dismissal or victimisation of an employee following them having made a protecting disclosure of information.

 The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 then defines a protected disclosure as a piece of information, such as a criminal offence, dangers to health and safety or miscarriages of justice, that is in the public interest to be disclosed

 The guide proposes six steps that intend to assist employers in dealing with whistleblowing, beginning handling the instance where the concern is raised, right through to advising the individual that they will not suffer any detriment as a result to taking action and finally, rectifying the issue.