BETTER REGULATORS PROJECT
About the Project
Regulators exist to keep the public safe, by overseeing their industries and regulated entities to make sure they are complying with their legal duties and operating ethically. This means the public can rely on industries to uphold certain standards, for example in food production or healthcare.
Whistleblowers speak up to regulators to report wrongdoing and risks in their workplace, so that regulators can inspect, act and resolve matters of concern, making things safe again. Although many regulators are aware of the value of the information whistleblowers bring them, Protect often hear that whistleblowers feel ignored, let down and even victimized by regulators.
This needs to change. Our Better Regulators Project aims to explore how regulators can improve, and understand the challenges faced by both whistleblowers and regulatory bodies.
Is my regulator compliant?
Since 2018, it has been compulsory for formally recognised regulatory bodies to publish an annual report in relation to the whistleblowing disclosures they have received and the action they have taken as a result. See if your sector’s regulator has been compliant in the past year.
How will this work? (What we aim to do)
Listen and support: At the start of the project we engaged with a range of organisations performing regulatory roles, including both ‘prescribed persons’ and other bodies who oversee particular industries or practices. Providing a forum for discussion proved very beneficial to understanding how regulators see their role in relation to whistleblowing, and the reality of the limitations they face. We combined this feedback with our own experience and secondary research from BEIS guidance and a National Audit Office report to produce our ‘Better Regulators Guide’. The guide aims to show regulators how they can achieve practices which support and encourage whistleblowing in their industries, thus maximizing the intelligence they receive.
Accountability: Since 2018, it has been compulsory for formally recognised regulatory bodies, also known as ‘prescribed persons’ to publish an annual report in relation to the whistleblowing disclosures they have received and the action they have taken as a result. Protect has been monitoring compliance with this duty each year, the results are published in our Better Regulators League Table.
Awareness: Protect frequently publish articles and blogs to raise awareness of instances where regulators have engaged with whistleblowers, some recent blogs can be seen below. To ensure that individuals know how to contact the relevant regulator for their concern, Protect is producing a “Who’s My Regulator?” search tool, to increase accessibility and public awareness of the presence and remit of regulators in the UK.
Law: Protect’s proposals for legal reform would impose mandatory standards on regulators, such as the provision of feedback and inclusion of the whistleblowers views in any final report. At present, there is no way for a whistleblower to hold a regulator to account if they don’t investigate. Our proposals would change that too. Find out more here.
How to get involved
We embarked on our Better Regulators campaign two years ago, publishing our first Better Regulators League Table in 2018.
We thank all those who have been involved in the round tables and provided feedback which has given rise to an understanding of the different ways good practice can be implemented, and how to meet the various challenges along the way. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with those in regulation and collaborating to promote whistleblowing best practice throughout all sectors.
If you’d like to get more involved the Better Regulators campaign, or have any questions, please contact our Policy Officer Laura Fatah via email firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest updates and ways to engage.
Effective whistleblowing works for everyone.