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Better Regulators Campaign

The Better Regulators Campaign aim....

Protect wants whistleblowers who raise a public interest concern with a regulator to start achieving better outcomes and responses - and to see regulatory action taken when needed.

The Better Regulators campaign will see Protect target regulators and work closely with them to share and learn best practice and achieve a sea change in whistleblowing.

Regulators have come under fire for many high-profile scandals in recent years, where they have either failed to act on concerns raised by whistleblowers or there has been a deathly silence from workers in the sector before the scandal broke.  Both scenarios leave the general public exposed, whether it's banking customers through the HBOS fraud, or vulnerable children and adults as we saw in the Oxfam sex for aid scandals.

Protect Head of Policy Andrew Pepper-Parsons, said,  "Too many of our callers who approach their regulators find this is a dead end for their concerns, and instead of feedback, face stony silences.

"Our Better Regulators campaign will see a diverse range of regulators come together to discuss how we can improve whistleblowing in the regulatory sector.  Early indicators show there is a willingness and enthusiasm for the campaign, which is fantastic."

New reporting duties

The Government made it compulsory for the most powerful UK regulators - those with legal powers - to start annually reporting on the number of whistleblowers approaching them with concerns from their sector.

Organisation Compliance star ratingReported (Published)Number of concerns reportedRegulatory action takenImpactOverall CompliancePopup content - must be in column H
Audit Scotland4

Compliant

Row 2
Care Quality Commission4

Compliant

Row 2
Care Inspectorate1

Compliant

Children’s Commissioner3

Partial

Children’s Commissioner for Wales4

Compliant

Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland4

Compliant

Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland1

Compliant

Competition and Markets Authority3

Partial

Criminal Cases Review Commission1

Compliant

Financial Reporting Council3

Partial

Financial Conduct Authority2

Partial

Food Standards Agency2

Partial

Food Standards Scotland2

Partial

General Chiropractic Council4

Compliant

General Dental Council4

Compliant

General Medical Council4

Compliant

General Optical Council4

Compliant

General Pharmaceutical Council4

Compliant

Health & Care Professions Council4

Compliant

Health & Safety Executive4

Compliant

Health and Care Professions Council4

Compliant

Healthcare Improvement Scotland4

Compliant

Health Education England1

Compliant

HM Revenue and Customs0

Warning

Homes and Communities Agency4

Compliant

Independent Office for Police Conduct4

Compliant

Information Commissioner's Office4

Compliant

National Crime Agency0

Warning

National Guardian's Office4

Compliant

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children4

Compliant

NHS Counter Fraud Authority1

Compliant

NHS England4

Compliant

NHS Improvement4

Compliant

Nursing and Midwifery Council4

Compliant

Ofcom1

Compliant

Office for Nuclear Regulation4

Compliant

Office of Rail and Road2

Partial

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator4

Compliant

Ofgem4

Compliant

Ofqual4

Compliant

Ofsted4

Compliant

Ofwat2

Partial

Older People's Commissioner Wales1

Compliant

Osteopathic Council4

Compliant

Prudential Regulatory Authority and Bank of England4

Compliant

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales4

Compliant

Qualifications Wales1

Compliant

Registers of Scotland4

Compliant

Revenue Scotland1

Compliant

Scottish Environment Protection Agency1

Compliant

Scottish Housing Regulator4

Compliant

Scottish Social Services Council4

Compliant

Serious Fraud Office2

Partial

Single Source Regulations Office3

Partial

Social Care Wales1

Compliant

The Auditor General for Wales4

Compliant

The Certification Officer1

Compliant

The Charity Commission for England and Wales4

Compliant

The Civil Aviation Authority3

Partial

The National Audit Office4

Compliant

The Environment Agency4

Compliant

The Lord Advocate, Scotland1

Compliant

The Pensions Regulator3

Partial

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission1

Compliant

The Scottish Information Commissioner1

Compliant

The Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland1

Compliant

Wales Audit Office3

Partial

 

Better Regulator Table

Our Better Regulator League Table ranks how the various regulators are doing with the new reporting duty around whistleblowing.  The Government made it compulsory for regulators to be more transparent and report on all cases of whistleblowing they have received each year and details of action/impact they have taken. The reporting duty applies to the regulators classed as a Prescribed Person under the whistleblowing law - the Public Interest Disclosure Act. The Government maintains a list of all prescribed person regulators. A Prescribed Person is a body you can make a whistleblowing disclosure to, such as a regulator.  Raising a concern to one of these bodies is an easier route for whistleblowers to gain legal protection against detriment or dismissal than a wider disclosure, such as to the press. The most powerful regulators on the list include the Financial Conduct Authority, Care Quality Commission, National Audit Office.  A full list of those regulators can be found here. There are some bodies who are Prescribed Persons but are nonetheless excluded from publishing annual whistleblowing reports, and include:
  • MPs
  • Ministers of the Crown (UK, Scottish and Welsh ministers)
  • the European Securities and Market Authority
  • and an auditor appointed by smaller Local Authorities
In the interests of making the Better Regulator League Table easy to view to we have excluded large local authorites who are Prescribed Persons.  The League Table captures the level of compliance for the remaining bodies who are required to report in this area.

The regulators who have to report each year must provide the following anonymised information:

  • The number of whistleblowing disclosures made
  • A narrative on the action taken in relation to whistleblowing disclosures made
  • A narrative on the impact of whistleblowing disclosures

This approach is to encourage not just a report on the number of whistleblowing concerns, but also to examine what action is taken and how this impacts on the way the regulators work.  These three elements are the core of the reporting duty. It is also a requirement for regulators to publish their reports in an appropriate way -  typically regulators have published reports as stand alone documents or webpages on their websites or as part of their annual report.

 

The Better Regulator League Table scores the various regulators on their level of compliance in reporting on whistleblowing rules.

Comparing the number of whistleblowing disclosures received is almost meaningless given the difference in size of some of the bodies, for example, there is no real comparison between the Care Quality Commission who receive thousands of concerns, from the Certification Officer who oversees the election process amongst Trade Unions.  What our Better Regulator League Table sets out to do is compare which regulators are /are not complying with the new reporting duty, which came into force for the first time in 2018.

Star System
We're awarding stars for compliance across the four categories that make up the reporting duty.  Four stars is the maximum a regulator can receive if they are doing a good job. The four categories are

1 star  - If the regulator has published a whistleblowing report
2 star - If they have reported on the number of whistleblowing disclosures received
3 star - If they have provided a narrative of actions taken over whistleblowing concerns
4 star - If they have provided a narrative of the impact these whistleblowing concerns have had on their operation as a regulator.

Traffic Light Dots

The Better Regulator League Table is comprised of the four elements of the reporting duty (listed above).

  = is awarded where a regulator is compliant with a particular element, while = indicates where a regulator is not being full compliant. A red dot will mean that one of the four elements is missing from the published report.

⚠= indicates regulators who have published a report but have received no disclosures, these regulators are technically compliant with all parts of the duty but only because they have received no whistleblowing concerns.  We have used to indicate this situation as it questionable as to whether these regulators could be doing more to promote whistleblowing in their sector.  They have also received one star for publishing the report.


Final Judgement

Finally those that are compliant across the four elements, or have reported no disclosures will be judged as Complete, meaning completely compliant.  While those who are not compliant with a particular element of the duty will be tagged as Partial, meaning partially compliant with the duty.  Regulators who have not published a report, have been given a Warning as they have not complied with the reporting duty.