Rise in whistleblowing may spur on changes in reporting and prevention, says Eversheds

Audrey Williams, partner at Eversheds, has commented following news that the number of whistleblowing tip-offs in the UK has risen.

Allegations of wrongdoing have been the subject of much publicity this year. According to Williams, an explanation for this increase in reporting may be that whistleblowing is more prominent in the media than ever.

She said: ‘The US already has a regime that enables a whistleblower to be rewarded if a significant financial loss to the government is identified and redressed as a result of whistleblowing or if monies are recovered as a result of fraud being proven. It has been reported that, in the UK, the Home Office is considering introducing some form of “bounty system”.’

Williams added that there has also been a call for regulators to be given a greater role in enforcement, particularly of good practice, as recommended by the recent report by Public Concern At Work.

However, she said that while financial reward or a bounty system sound effective, in reality it is the impact on organisations and individuals, and the ability to take preventative steps, ‘that is paramount’.

Williams continued: ‘In some cases, more confidence in whistleblowing procedures could have prevented serious repercussions and even fatalities, showing that prevention truly is better than cure.’