Headlines: August 18th, 2008

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Act which encourages whistleblowing, British Standards has published a code of practice to help organizations across the private, public and voluntary sectors. Whistleblowers are employees who raise a concern about a possible fraud, crime, danger or other serious risk that could threaten the organization or its reputation.

Research for the Institute of Business Ethics has shown that while one in four employees are aware of misconduct at work, more than half of those stay silent. It is hoped that the new publication will encourage more whistleblowing to promote good governance and a manifestation of a more open culture.

The code sets out good practice for the introduction, revision, operation and review of effective whistleblowing arrangements. It seeks to raise awareness of the role that whistleblowing plays and the benefits that it brings.

As an early warning system, whistleblowing can help alert employers to risks such as a danger in the workplace, fraud in the organization, offering or soliciting bribes, dumping damaging material in the environment, misreporting performance data or wanton neglect of people in care.

The code is particularly relevant to public bodies, listed companies and organizations where there is legislative or regulatory expectation that effective whistleblowing arrangements are in place.