Lloyd’s of London’s internal whistleblowing hotline – the only anonymous channel for employees to report concerns – was not operational for almost a year and a half, it has emerged.
The insurance market, which has been trying to stamp out bad behaviour and improve its image following claims of bullying and sexual harassment, admitted to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) – the Bank of England’s supervisory arm – and the Financial Conduct Authority that its staff whistleblowing telephone system had not been operational from 1 October 2017 until 15 February 2019, when it became aware of the issue and reported it to the authorities.
Although other whistleblowing channels, including an app, were available during this period, the telephone line was the only method of raising a complaint anonymously.
Lloyd’s has now agreed to submit annual reports on all whistleblowing activity to the PRA until 2022. Its reports will include the whistleblowing channels available to staff during the preceding year; the training that staff have received on whistleblowing and how to raise a complaint; the number of whistleblowing reports received; and its whistleblowing plan for the next year.
According to the Guardian, Lloyd’s had outsourced its corporate whistleblowing hotline but failed to come to a new agreement when the contract with its previous supplier came to an end in autumn 2017.
A Lloyd’s spokesperson told the Guardian: “We are extremely disappointed by this failure in our internal controls, which serves to remind us all about the need for constant vigilance when it comes to these essential services.
“Lloyd’s employees can feel confident that we now have all the right mechanisms in place for them to report any wrongdoing, and that these systems are regularly monitored.”
Last month it emerged that a senior lawyer at Tokio Marine Kiln Group – an insurance company that operates in the Lloyd’s market – is to take TMK to an employment tribunal, claiming that managers sought to undermine his credibility after he blew the whistle on sexual harassment complaints. A date for the tribunal has not yet been set.