Protect has today published guidance for regulators and professional bodies in a bid to drive up public duty standards to investigate and improve whistleblower handling.
“Over 2019 our Better Regulators campaign set out to engage and collaborate with both regulators and professional bodies on how we could offer our whistleblowing expertise to see if we could help how whistleblowing was being handled by regulators” said Protect’s Head of Policy, Andrew Pepper-Parsons.
A series of open and insightful round tables with more than 30 regulators and professional bodies and the discussions and findings have helped to shape the guidance, ‘Better Regulators: Principles for Recommended Practice’ aimed at regulators, professional bodies, and law enforcement bodies who regulate professionals and those on the prescribed persons list.
“What we found through the round table discussions was a wide variety of approaches to setting standards. We were surprised some regulators did not see themselves as having a role here – while others thought that any standards would be too onerous for the diverse and numerous bodies that they regulated. We also found variation in how regulators themselves treat whistleblowers who approach them – how they act on concerns, and how they learn from the concerns raised” explained Protect’s Head of Policy.
The round table findings mirror data from Protect’s Advice Line, which handles around 3,000 whistleblowing cases each year who say their experience of regulators is ‘patchy and inconsistent’ with many finding regulators a ‘dead end for their concerns’.
Protect hope ‘Better Regulators: Principles for Recommended Practice’ will encourage higher standards in the regulatory landscape, offering insight on what a regulator or professional body needs to understand to run an effective whistleblowing system: accessibility, confidentiality, feedback and addressing victimisation.
“If regulators themselves respond better to whistleblowers, they will encourage others to raise concerns and harm will be stopped sooner. Whistleblowers who have had the courage to speak up will be respected and treated fairly. The wider public will benefit because wrongdoing is addressed” explained Protect’s Head of Policy, Andrew Pepper-Parsons.