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A third of UK companies do not have a whistleblowing system

Friday 17 May 2019

Thirty five percent of UK companies have no system in place for employees to raise concerns about behaviour of colleagues, but it has a more firmly entrenched culture that other European countries.

A total of 1,392 companies across the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland were surveyed as part of an applied research and development project at the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, Switzerland in cooperation with EQS Group.


The Whistleblowing Report showed In the UK companies surveyed, 39 per cent received complaints last year about misconduct on matters such as bribery, theft or fraud. Misconduct was more frequently reported (46% of cases) in large companies with more than 249 employees. 29% of these unearthed potential financial losses f between £9,000 and £90,000 via whistleblowing channels.

  • 39% of British companies surveyed received complaints last year about misconduct on matters such as bribery, theft or fraud.
  • Misconduct was more frequently reported (46% of cases) in large companies with more than 249 employees.
  • 29% of these unearthed potential financial losses of between £9,000 and £90,000 via whistleblowing channels (16% identified over £90,000).
  • UK companies were most likely to introduce a whistleblowing system to strengthen reputation as an ethical, moral company in comparison to France where avoiding financial losses was cited as the primary reason. 
  • The UK has a more firmly entrenched whistleblowing culture than many other countries.

EU Whistleblowing Directive

'Whistleblowing' means the reporting made by employees of suspected misconduct, illegal acts or failure to act within the means of their employment. The aim of a whistleblowing system is to encourage employees and others who have serious concerns about any aspect of their work to come forward and voice those concerns.

The EU has adopted the Whistleblowing Directive which will strengthen whistleblowing provisions across Europe and must be implemented into member state laws by May 2021.

This requires companies and public sector organisations with over 50 employees to set up channels and procedures for whistleblowers to be able to safely report and includes a duty of confidentiality.

The UK would not be obliged to implement it in the event of Brexit and while currently a leader in the international league for whistleblowing protection, could fall behind.

Propertymark resources

Propertymark has a range of resources to help and guide our members on various topics including a complaints procedure template. Log in to the Members Area to take a look through what’s available.

Propertymark also offer a range of training courses, including online-based tuition in order to suit every business need - a discounted rate is given to our members.