A slew of changes to whistleblowing rules are set to make the raising of concerns in the workplace easier for employees. The new rules will mean that banks will have to appoint a senior manager as a ‘whistleblowing champion’ who will have the responsibility of supporting internal whistleblowers through the process.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) working in conjunction with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have made the changes in direct response to the financial crisis and the series of financial scandals that have followed it. The changes are also a result of concerns voiced by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
As well as appointing a whisleblowing champion, financial institutions will also have to put in place confidential systems to ensure that complaints are handled properly and are passed on to regulators when necessary. Steps must also be put into place to make sure whistleblowers are not victimised because of their actions.
The new rules state that settlement agreements must contain an explanatory term that makes plain that the employee can not be prevented from making a protected disclosure. Agreements can also not contain warranties that suggest that the employee is not aware of or has not made any protected disclosures.
Financial institutions must appoint a ‘whistleblowing champion’ by the 7th of March 2016. The chosen manager then has until the 7th of September 2016 to ensure that their company has the systems in place to be compliant with the new rules.