Just four in 10 FTSE 250 companies provide whistleblower training for managers

Only four in 10 FTSE 250 companies provide training for managers on how to handle whistleblowers, while less than one-quarter offer training for potential users of the procedure, a report has found.

The survey of the UK’s top 250 public companies, funded by the British Academy, found that almost half of FTSE top 250 firms have a ‘hotline’ dedicated to the reporting of company concerns, with 31% providing the service internally.

But Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said training was not crucial to running these services.

“Those who have not provided training may feel that it is not needed,” he said.

“Whistleblowers have to have courage, often drawing attention to things that some individuals do not want broadcast. It is therefore more important for organisations to provide an environment where individuals feel comfortable enough to surface any concerns internally.”

The most common problem raised by whistleblowers was harassment and bullying, mentioned by half of respondents to the survey, followed by discrimination, computer misuse and alcohol or drug abuse.

Emmott said FTSE firms should already have policies to deal with issues such as financial irregularities and harassment to protect their reputations. The report found that 96% of respondents had reporting procedures in place.

“The CIPD recommends that managers obtain detailed advice on what to do when dealing with individual concerns. However, companies should have the flexibility to handle their policies based on their environment,” he said.

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