Today I am going to talk about Ethical Whistleblowing.
What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is the term used when a person passes on information concerning wrongdoing, such as corruption, sexual harassment… This can be referred to as “blowing the whistle”, “making a disclosure”, “making a whistleblowing report”, or otherwise. The person is usually closely associated with the organisation, often an employee, but also sometimes a supplier or a customer. They become a whistleblower when they observe behaviour or actions that they believe to be misconduct, illegal and not in line with the company’s Code of Conduct, and report that suspicion as a whistleblowing matter.
Organisational whistleblowing is a preventive tool for organisations to reduce the risks of malpractice and irregularities. Empowering employees and other relevant stakeholders to blow the whistle increases the chances of managers obtaining information on irregularities that should be acted upon at an early stage. Organisations that take their Code of Conduct seriously will therefore put in place mechanisms to enable organisational whistleblowing, such as a secure corporate whistleblowing system or hotline and a whistleblowing policy or guidelines.
Public whistleblowing In organisations where trust is low, the above mechanisms are not in place, or there is no possibility to be an anonymous whistleblower, the person may be more inclined to blow the whistle publicly. This may include reporting to the police, media or through online social channels, which of course brings a greater risk of reputational damage for organisations. In some instances, though, there is a duty to blow the whistle to a professional body or regulator.
Who is a whistleblower?
whistleblower is a person who exposes secretive information or activity within a private or public organization that is deemed illegal,unethical, or not correct.
What should be reported
Criminal offences ( fraud, bribery, corruption, money laundering, modern day slavery, supporting or involvement in terrorism).
Failure to comply with legal obligations or regulatory requirements;
A miscarriage of justice.
Endangering someone’s health and safety.
Damage to the environment.
Covering up wrongdoing.
Elements of ethical whistleblowing.
There are four elements of ethical whistleblowing.
1. The whistle-blower
2. The whistle-blowing act or complaint
3. The party to whom the complaint is made
4. The organization against which the complaint is lodged
Steps for a whistleblowing.
- The company code of conduct must be easy to embrace and take pride in.Management involvement, anchoring of the code and follow-up on deviations are important for making it trustworthy.
- Ensure your whistleblowing policy is prepared for correct processing of whistleblowing cases.
- A secure whistleblowing service increases the chance of obtaining business-critical tip-offs. An independent third-party solution is a safe option for both the company and the whistleblower.
- A user-friendly reporting channel, which allows follow-up questions to be posted also to anonymous whistleblowers, may be vital for the investigation process.
- A well-supported whistleblowing service safeguards high standards of business ethics and a transparent business environment. Positive roll-out of the service and recurring information on its objectives are the key to success.