Corporate Investigation and FSA Whistleblowing in UK
Internal investigations and whistle blowing are becoming more popular, particularly in light of the recent Anti-Bribery and Corruption Act as well as other regulatory and related legislations. It begs clarification that while internal investigation can be performed by an organisation for the verification of its level of compliance with various rules and regulations, it is more common for regulatory bodies and in more serious cases, prosecuting bodies to conduct an internal investigation into the affairs of an organisation. It is also very often the case that such investigations come after particular activities of the organisation which appear illegal have been reported to the investigating authority in what is known as ‘whistle blowing’.
The heavy scandals that have rocked the corporate world over the last few decades have necessitated an unprecedented increase in the level of scrutiny organisations are now subjected to in their daily operations. More than ever before, there is a very high demand on corporate entities for accountability, transparency and good governance in the way they conduct business. The public and subsequent legal expectation is therefore for breaches, failures and non-compliance with relevant industry regulations to be promptly reported and commensurately punished.
The common practice in today’s corporate world is for organisations to conduct internal investigations into the effectiveness or otherwise of their own policies and procedures and by so doing, to identify areas which may require further attention. One of the vital advantages of this practice is the subsequent ability of the organisation to decide if there are areas of such significant concern as to warrant self reporting to the relevant authorities.
In such cases, London’s most prominent criminal defence law network, as the internal investigators, will scrutinise your policies and procedures and provide expert advice as to the necessity of self reporting. Our corporate legal experts will also ensure that remedies are put in place to enable you evidence to the authorities or regulatory body that corrective action has already been taken and more effective measures put into place for deterrence of future errors. The Financial Services Authority, the Serious Fraud Office, HMRC and other investigating and prosecuting bodies are much more lenient with companies that are proactive in their approach to compliance.
FSA investigations and other corporate investigations launched by regulatory and/or prosecuting bodies are almost always on the back of whistleblowing either from within the organisation or externally. The FSA Whistleblowing line is open to employees who are concerned about the activities of their employers and wish to bring such activities to the attention of the FSA. Whistleblowing in the United Kingdom is also known as the disclosure of illegal or wrongful activities at work in the public interest. Although employees may take advantage of their internal whistleblowing policy and procedure, the FSA whistleblowing desk can also be contacted by those whose organisations do not have such policies in place. It is highly recommended for organisations to have a Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure in place which protects employees who raise their concerns over aspects of the company’s operations they deem to be illegal and potential dangerous to public interest. This is also an area where our specialists can be of assistance; the drafting of whistleblowing policies and procedures most relevant to your line of business.
Internal, Corporate, FSA and other external investigations can therefore be said to go hand in hand with whistleblowing. If you require assistance in any aspect of internal investigation, whether you are a whistleblower on another organisation’s illegal activities which endanger public interest or where your organisation is facing imminent external corporate investigation, call us today for an initial discussion of your matter. We will thereafter be able to provide you with a tailor made service best suited for and to your needs.