Public sector finance professionals have a key role in promoting whistleblowing to build public trust, according to an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) report.

The 2013 report, Setting high professional standards for public services around the world, calls for finance professionals to promote whistleblowing laws and policies, and the development of anti-corruption cultures and processes.

The ACCA report said "a single action that finance professionals can take is to promote the importance and adoption of whistleblowing legislation and policies with governments around the world."

This should be done alongside work with fellow stakeholders to eradicate malpractice through education, improving fraud-awareness and forensic accounting training. It also called for separation of accounting and auditing functions within all governments, which currently doesn’t exist in some countries, impairing transparency and accountability.

ACCA public sector department head Gillian Fawcett said it was "critical" for professionals to "feel able to speak out about genuine concerns" without fearing "serious repercussions"

"In the UK, a range of scandals, including in the health, social care and police sectors, would never have come to light unless public sector staff had felt able to raise concerns," Fawcett explained.

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"A proper scrutiny of accounts by an independent and strong audit function is critical if the public is to be re assured that money is being spent wisely and that the organisation represents value for money."

Related link

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants report: Setting high professional standards for public services around the world