Just under half of UK employees think their boss would turn a blind eye to the rules to keep their business up and running

Hayley Kirton
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Three-quarters of employees would back policies that promoted holding individuals to account (Source: Getty)

Just under half of UK employees feel their boss would bend the rules if it meant saving their business, a report out today reveals.

The EY Fraud Survey found 42 per cent of UK employees think senior management at their workplace would do something unethical if it meant their business would survive a rough patch, while just a quarter (24 per cent) heard their bosses talk about the importance of keeping up with ethical standards on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent believed the top dogs at their firm would offer cash payments to win or retain business, and 16 per cent said the same about personal gifts.

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The figures were so stark that EY warned the UK seemed to have made little progress since the survey was last run two years ago.

"The picture we are seeing from the survey and in our conversations with clients is that while many companies may think they have an effective compliance framework in place, in reality some are struggling to create a culture where it is in employees’ interests to do the right thing," said Jonathan Middup, partner at EY fraud investigation and dispute services.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of UK employees also said they would support further policies to hold individuals to account for wrongdoing.

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There have been some notable efforts made in recent years to discourage people from turning a blind eye to wrongdoing on their watch. The Senior Managers' and Certification Regime was introduced last year, and was extended to the latest batch of bankers last month.

However, Middup added: "Rules and regulation are only part of the solution. It’s critical that the tone is set from the top, with senior managers leading by example."

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