Whistleblowing and the Bank of England

Whistleblowing is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. This is officially referred to as 'making a disclosure in the public interest'.


A  can report things that aren’t right or are illegal, or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties, including:

  • a criminal offence (this may include, for example, types of financial impropriety such as fraud)
  • a breach of a legal obligation
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • danger to the health or safety of any individual
  • damage to the environment 
  • the deliberate covering up of wrongdoing in the above categories.

Personal grievances (eg bullying, harassment, discrimination) aren’t covered by whistleblowing law, unless your particular case is in the public interest.

Our approach to whistleblowing

We believe that whistleblowers can play an important role in helping us protect the economic interests of the United Kingdom, and prevent and detect wrongdoing in the financial services industry.

We encourage whistleblowers to use the procedures in their own workplace, but they may contact us instead if they think their employer:

  • will cover it up
  • would treat them unfairly if they complained
  • hasn’t sorted it out and they’ve already told them, and
  • there is a public interest element.

What is our whistleblowing remit?

The Government maintains a list of organisations (‘prescribed persons’) that whistleblowers can lawfully make public interest disclosures to.

The Bank of England, including its Prudential Regulation Authority, has responsibilities for:

  • functioning of clearing houses (including central-counterparties)
  • administrating and overseeing SONIA, including  calculation and publication
  • payment systems and securities settlement systems
  • the treatment, holding and issuing of banknotes by the Scottish and Northern Ireland banks authorised to issue banknotes (and their agents)
  • the custody, distribution and processing of our banknotes under the Bank of England’s Note Circulation Scheme
  • the carrying on of deposit-taking business, insurance business, or investment business and the safety and soundness of persons authorised for such purposes.

You can find more information here:

We do not investigate individual complaints from consumers or customers about firms or individuals. The Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to assist.

Who should contact us about whistleblowing?

  • Individuals who work in the financial services industry who have concerns about their employer, or other firms or individuals.
  • Former employees in the financial services industry who have concerns about their former employer or other firms or individuals.
  • Firms and individuals who want to understand more about our guidance, policy and procedures on whistleblowing.

How to report public-interest concerns

Before making a disclosure you need to reasonably believe that the Bank of England is the appropriate organisation to disclose your concerns to.

We would encourage you first to use the whistleblowing procedures in your workplace. If there aren't any, or if you don't feel able to do so, or you are unsure if your concerns are relevant to the Bank then please contact us. You can:

  • call: +44 (0)203 461 8703 during office hours.
  • email: whistleblowing@bankofengland.co.uk.
  • write to: Confidential reporting (IAWB team), Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH.

Please note: we record all calls to ensure we have captured all the information correctly. We expect the vast majority of whistleblowers to provide information in writing, even if they contact us initially by telephone. We occasionally hold interviews with whistleblowers, which are usually attended by at least two staff.

When you contact us, we may collect personal information about you. This may include your name, contact details and any other personal data you choose to disclose. 

We process this personal data as necessary to perform a task carried out in the public interest or in exercising official authority vested in us. Our whistleblowing privacy notice is set out at the end of this page. You can find more information about how we handle personal data at Privacy and the Bank of England.

For dual-regulated firms disclosures can also be made to the Financial Conduct Authority. You can:

  • call: +44 (0)20 7066 9200 during office hours or leave a message.
  • email: whistle@fca.org.uk.
  • write to: Intelligence Department (Ref PIDA), Financial Conduct Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London, E20 1JN.

Our expectations of whistleblowers

Whistleblowers should provide a disclosure that makes clear the nature of their wrongdoing concerns, the identity of those involved and the public-interest factor.

When a disclosure is made we do expect to see any available supporting evidence. We do not encourage whistleblowers to proactively obtain any further information from any source, whatever the circumstances, as this action might infringe the law. However, we may ask whistleblowers to clarify the information they have already given us.

What happens next?

We will:

  • look at the information
  • look at any other supporting information
  • contact you if we need more information (unless you have asked us not to or we think it is unsafe to do so)
  • decide if we will take further action.

All information is securely stored. The whistleblower may or may not be identified in any subsequent reports that are clearly marked as related to a whistleblowing disclosure. This marking system should help alert staff to the fact that neither the information, nor the whistleblower’s identity, should be disclosed internally or externally without reference to the whistleblowing team. 

During investigation we may collect other information about you. This may include personal data from other sources such as regulatory records or the Financial Conduct Authority. We process this personal data as necessary to perform a task carried out in the public interest or in exercising official authority vested in us. Our privacy notice is set out below.

Find more information about how we handle personal data at Privacy and the Bank of England.

What whistleblowers can expect from us

We try to guarantee that we treat anyone who contacts us with confidentiality. Unless you choose to disclose your identity to the firm concerned, we’ll make sure it is protected unless a court asks us to provide this information. 

We’ll respond to everyone who contacts us unless we think your confidentiality would be undermined or you have not provided contact details. We also provide as much feedback as we can, although the confidentiality restrictions of UK and European law mean this can be fairly limited. We’ll inform you of our decision to proceed with or discontinue the case. 

Financial incentives for whistleblowers

Further to the final report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, ‘Changing banking for good' (published in June 2013), the PRA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) agreed to further research the impact of financial incentives on encouraging whistleblowing in the US working with the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and to publish the conclusions.

On 30 July 2014, the PRA and FCA published their conclusions on financial incentives for whistleblowers.

In summary, both regulators considered that providing financial incentives to whistleblowers would not encourage whistleblowing or significantly increase integrity and transparency in financial markets.

PDFNote on financial incentives for whistleblowers

Legal advice for whistleblowers

We cannot give legal advice to a whistleblower. Whistleblowers may wish to take legal advice from a lawyer at their own expense. Alternatively, they can contact Protect, an independent charity that gives free, legal and confidential advice.

We do not have the power to intervene in employment relations. Employment related advice, including whistleblowing, can be sought from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service at ACAS.

Annual reporting of whistleblowing disclosures

The Bank of England and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) are both Prescribed Persons as defined by Parliament under.

The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014 requires ‘prescribed persons’ to disclose.

Since April 2017, all ‘Prescribed Persons’ must publish workers’ (whistleblowing) disclosures they receive each year. Our current and historic reports are below.

Current report

Historical reports

Privacy notice

How we use your information

Information we collect

By contacting us, the Bank of England (‘we’ or the ‘Bank’) may collect personal data about you.

This information may include contact details, professional information, and any other further information you decide to share with us.

Where personal data is processed, the Bank takes steps to do this in a manner that is fair and transparent and that protects individuals' information rights.

Why we need your personal data

We collect your personal data to process the information you provide to us under the whistleblowing scheme. As such, we process your personal data as necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the Bank.

What we do with your personal data

Safeguarding your personal data is important to us. The Bank is committed to information security and we use a range of layered information security measures. Personal data will be put into a secure intelligence database with restricted access arrangements. Reports are clearly marked as related to a confidential and sensitive whistleblower's disclosure. The whistleblower may or may not be identified in the report. This protective marking system highlights the fact that neither the information, nor the whistleblower's identity, should be disclosed internally or externally without reference to the whistleblowing team.

We may share this information in confidence with other regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority, or law enforcement agencies such as the Police. In complying with applicable laws and for law enforcement purposes, we may also disclose data in confidence (for example to a relevant government entity or regulatory authority). This may mean that personal data is transferred outside the European Economic Area.

We will keep your personal data for as long as the Bank needs in order to fulfil its obligation with regard to your whistleblowing report.

Further information about how we handle personal data can be found here at Privacy and the Bank of England.

Your rights

You have a number of rights under data protection laws. For example, you have the right to ask us for a copy of the personal data the Bank holds about you. This is known as a ‘Subject Access Request’. You can ask us to change how we process or deal with your personal data, and you may also have the right in some circumstances to have your personal data amended or deleted. 

To contact us about those rights, including making a request for the personal data we hold about you or to make a complaint, please see the Privacy and the Bank of England page or write to us at: 

The Privacy Team
Bank of England
Threadneedle Street
London, EC2R 8AH

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data not in accordance with the law you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

More information

The Bank’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted via the details above and you can also find out more about how the Bank deals with your personal data via the Privacy and the Bank of England page.

This page was last updated 06 November 2020

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