Better communication in the workplace could help prevent whistleblowing, says Eversheds

Audrey Williams, a partner at Eversheds, has commented on the news that the Home Office will consider encouraging whistleblowing by financial incentives in cases involving fraud, bribery and corruption and enabling whistleblowers to receive a share of financial penalties levied against a company guilty of fraud against the government.

Williams said: ‘A very real dilemma is highlighted by today’s reports. Clearly, exposing fraud, bribery and corruption is a matter of significant public interest and reflects the sorts of issue that lie at the heart of legal protection for whistleblowers.

‘But perhaps what is really needed is better communication between employers and staff so that genuine concerns can be expressed without fear, so that employers are also able to deal with those without genuine public interest motives without penalty.’

Since June, employers have had a legal responsibility to actively protect against the detrimental treatment or bullying of whistleblowers. However, Williams said that although this change could ‘start to engender much wider cultural change, having a policy by itself will not be enough’.