These came into force on 7 September 2016 and apply to all employers who are banks, building societies and credit unions, as well as some investment and insurance firms.
Speaking to HR Grapevine, Emilie Bennetts, Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, explained the new measures: “To comply with the new rules, relevant firms must have already appointed, trained and resourced their ‘Whistleblowers' Champion’. Firms must now also produce annual whistleblowers’ board reports and implement a new whistleblowing policy and process - backed up by updated employment contracts, training and information. This includes extending protection for those raising ‘any concerns’ to the firm or to the financial regulator, even if concerns are not about a suspected breach. This is much wider than the current legal protection.
“The rules aim to encourage a culture where people can raise concerns without being ignored or punished. Regulatory reporting obligations and protections will trump other agreements, such as settlement agreements. There is no regulatory duty to blow the whistle but there is increased liability for those that harm whistleblowers.
“For banks, the intention behind the rules is to promote change to a culture that discourages and intercepts problems before formal compliance steps are needed. Many firms are finding it easy to adapt. Others are finding cultural change a much longer process.”