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UK in two minds about whistleblowers, says survey

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Research published today by Greenwich University shows that four out of five British workers believe they should be supported for revealing serious wrongdoing, even if it means revealing inside information. However, under half of the respondents (47%) thought whistleblowing is an acceptable thing to do in society. Most would report wrong-doing in their organisation, but fewer people think that society finds whistleblowing acceptable.

Almost nine out of 10 of people surveyed believe whistleblowers should be able to use the media to draw attention to wrongdoing.

Three-quarters of respondents also stated that if they observed wrongdoing, they would feel personally obliged to report it to someone in their organisation.

Dr Tim Vandekerckhove from the Work and Employment Relations Unit (WERU) said: "If we don't make it safer for employers to speak up inside their organisations, people will support those who blow the whistle to the media.

Benedict Hamilton, a managing director at risk management firm Kroll, said: "It is crucial that companies respond very quickly and in an appropriate manner to a whistleblowing allegation to understand the facts behind it and ensure the best outcomes are achieved.

"Many companies find that using a third party investigator provides them with a level of reassurance that the right decisions have been made. This can help to limit financial and reputational damage, and where appropriate, recover or avoid losses."

The online survey of 2,000 British employees was conducted in October 2012.