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OPRA sets up whistleblower “traffic light” system

UK – The UK’s occupational pensions regulator has set up a “traffic light” system to simplify the procedure for whistleblowing when a scheme gets in difficulties.

“A new traffic light system will reduce the number of minor reports OPRA receives and free the regulator to focus on investigating cases where there is a genuine risk to members' benefits,” the body said.

Breaches of the 1995 Pension Act are to be classified as red, amber or green, where red is the most serious. Green signifies “no significant risk to members”. Amber refers to situations “where the risk to members' interests is less clear”.

The system is to help whistleblowers exercise their professional judgement in deciding whether or not they need to make a report.

"This is one of a number of changes we have put in place in response to the reviews of OPRA at the end 2002,” said chief executive Tony Hobman.

“Our experience has shown that very few reports concern serious breaches of the law - most are administrative failings that do not seriously threaten members' benefits.”

OPRA has been criticised in the past for focusing too much on details and is now taking a “more risk-based, segmented approach to regulation”.

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