The SFO has now established a hotline for confidential reporting of suspected fraud or corruption. The line is targeted at anyone in an organisation or connected through business or providers of professional services. A new on-line reporting form underpins the service.
In a message to potential whistleblowers, SFO Director Richard Alderman said, "I want people to come forward and tell us if they think there is fraud or corruption going on in their workplace. Company executives, staff, professional advisors, business associates of various kinds or trade competitors can talk to us in confidence. I have set up a special team to make the SFO readily accessible to whistleblowers, with trained staff sympathetic in dealing with any anxieties people might have about coming forward. I want whistleblowers to feel comfortable about it and use SFO Confidential to help flush out fraud."
The new "SFO Confidential" reporting service is designed to cater specifically for people who, though not themselves the victim of fraud or directly disadvantaged by corruption, have knowledge through their professional activities of situations that appear to be suspicious. Whistleblowers can call a special number and talk through their concerns with an "SFO Confidential" advisor. A whistleblower's identity will be securely protected, though contact can be made anonymously if preferred.
The "SFO Confidential" contact number is 020 7239 7388. It operates from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Firms will have to consider how this interacts with their own internal whistle-blowing hotlines, as often it will be in the firm's best interests to manage any reporting to the SFO, to take advantage of the benefits of self reporting.