BSI issues whistleblowing code of practice

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LONDON – The British Standards Institute (BSI) and the independent authority, Public Concern at Work, have published new guidance for organisations on whistleblowing arrangements. Whistleblowing arrangements – Code of Practice (PAS 1998:2008) explains why whistleblowing is now seen across private and public sectors as an essential element of risk management and how it can be used as a key tool in tackling fraud and crime.

While the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act is recognised as an international benchmark, recent research suggests only 40% of UK businesses provide a comfortable environment for staff wishing to report misconduct. The new paper seeks to change this, as it guides organisations on how to run, promote and review effective whistleblowing arrangements.

Key recommendations for organisations include building fail-safe channels and providing confidential advice, as well as improving employee trust and providing for external disclosures. Other issues such as anonymity, public concerns and private complaints, whistleblowers with ulterior motives, and bullying and harassment are also included.

By implementing these guidelines, firms can demonstrate they are deterring wrongdoing, demonstrate to stakeholders and regulators that they are accountable and well managed, and reduce the risk of anonymous and malicious leaks, which will minimise costs and compensation from accidents, investigations and litigation.

Mike Low, director of BSI British Standards, says: “PAS 1998:2008 meets a real need for guidance in this area. Every organisation faces the risk of something going wrong. Rather than shying away from whistleblowing, good organisations know that allowing employees to raise issues in a supportive environment brings real benefits.”

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