The Future of Whistleblowing

Click here to take part in the survey

The Madoff Ponzi scheme; HBOS; the NHS: in recent months the business pages have been filled with a positive orchestra of whistleblowers. Many organisations are following the lead of the World Bank and tightening their internal policies to encourage whistleblowing; possible new regulations are being discussed. In the United States, Mary Schapiro has made headlines with her suggestion that whistleblowers should be offered financial rewards.

These are important issues. And it’s vital that they are debated fully and intelligently.

Over the coming months we are planning a series of articles on aspects of whistleblowing. The centrepiece of our research will be a survey of whistleblowing trends. We are asking major national and international companies and organisations about whistleblowing policies and trends. Should queries be handled by internal units, or outsourced to whistleblowing hotlines? We’ll be seeking and reporting the latest experiences of these and other practical issues.

We will also be looking at how businesses can change their culture to encourage people to come forward with information on fraud. When they do come forward, how should the whistleblower be treated? Should they be rewarded, as Mary Schapiro wants? How can they be relocated within companies? What should be the procedure if the whistleblowers themselves are implicated in the activities they complain about? We’ll also be investigating the psychology of whistleblowers themselves-what makes some people more likely to come forward than others?

Then there’s the issue of regulation. Businesses have been shown to benefit from an internal culture that is intolerant of fraud. So do we need more formal regulation or is enlightened self regulation enough? Has Sarbanes-Oxley forced companies to address their failings or just added a layer of bureaucracy?

As the first such survey, our aim is to establish the facts-how often companies experience whistleblowing incidents, whether they have formal policies in place and so on. Your input is important to the understanding and management of whistleblowing issues so we invite all readers and members to take part in the survey. Please also feel free to forward the questions on to colleagues you think may have valuable insight. Most of the questions in this short survey require only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, so it won’t take you more than a few minutes to respond. We look forward to hearing from you.

To take part in the survey, click here.

Matthew McLennan

Nick Burkill, founder member of the Anti-Fraud Network, is a partner and head of Dorsey’s London Trial department . He has advised clients on numerous actions aimed at recovering the proceeds of fraud and corruption throughout the world. He regularly advises on internal investigations and investigation techniques.

Nick Burkill

About Nick Burkill

Nick Burkill is Co-head of Advocacy in the London office of Dorsey and Whitney and the co-chair of the firm’s Anti-Corruption Practice Group. He is ranked as one of the top commercial and fraud litigators in the UK and identified by the Chambers UK directory as an expert on the UK’s Bribery Act. He has extensive experience in domestic and international investigations and disputes concerning fraud and corruption. Nick is an accredited mediator, solicitor advocate and a regular speaker and commentator.

Contact Details:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7826 4583

About Dr Suzanne Cawsey

Dr Suzanne Cawsey is Director of PanLegal, a specialised research company. She was previously head of marketing (Europe) for a US publishing company launching for the first time across England, France and Germany, then head of marketing for a professional association, where she advised government departments and liaised closely with the national media. Moving to the legal sphere, she worked for legal publishers Chambers & Partners and has worked with a number of City, UK and international law firms.

Contact Details:
Tel: +44 (0)7801 431633

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