Benefits of the WhistleB Partnership Programme
What does Bech-Bruun, one of the leading law firms in Denmark, see as the benefits of the WhistleB Partnership Programme? In this interview, one of Bech-Bruun’s Copenhagen-based partners, Lise Lauridsen, explains why this digitally innovative law firm sees the WhistleB whistleblowing system as a way to help clients add value to their business.
“As I see it, WhistleB has succeeded in making a system with the highest security standard and simplified an otherwise complex system. This has been a decisive factor for us in choosing WhistleB over other suppliers.”
1. Tell us a little about Bech Bruun.
Bech-Bruun is one of the leading full-service law firms in Denmark with offices in Copenhagen, Aarhus, New York and Shanghai. The firm has more than 500 talented, dedicated and highly specialised employees that service a large section of the Danish corporate sector, the public sector and global enterprises. Bech-Bruun offers a broad range of legal services in all areas of commercial law.
2. When it comes to corporate misconduct, what are the most significant issues that your clients are currently facing, or will face over the next few years?
A number of cases regarding mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds have hit the headlines in recent times. I expect that we have not seen it all yet. Further, public awareness of ethical compliance is growing and will become a significant issue over the next years.
3. How do you see the market for whistleblowing services over the coming years?
The forthcoming implementation of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive will, of course, have a huge impact on the market for whistleblower services. However, I do not think that compliance will be the only driver. There is a steady flow of whistleblower stories in the media, and lately we have witnessed a surge in stories about ethical misconduct in workplaces. Organisations will be looking for tools to combat such misconduct, and whistleblower solutions will be an obvious choice.
I believe the market will develop in two different ways. Some organisations will implement a whistleblower solution for compliance purposes only, while others will implement the solution to obtain an active tool to combat misconduct. While these objectives are very different, I still believe that public and private companies will have the same needs to a large extent. They will be looking for a safe, hassle-free solution at a fair price. Only a limited number of organisations will be large enough for it to make sense for them to dedicate resources to specialise in managing a whistleblower solution, and so most organisations will opt to outsource this task.
4. What kind of whistleblowing-related services do you currently offer your clients?
Our solution, Safe2Whistle, is built on the WhistleB platform. By combining a top platform with our professional expertise, clients get a one-stop-shop for their whistleblower requirements. We offer various packaged solutions, tailored specifically to cater for our clients’ individual needs.
Our services include:
- Drafting of a whistleblower policy
- Preparing guidelines for handing of whistleblower reports
- GDPR compliance
- Screening of complaints and assessing the reliance of the outcome of the investigation
- On-going legal counselling
- Forensic investigations
5. While the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive is set to drive adoption of whistleblowing systems across Europe, how do you see that clients can benefit more broadly from complying with the new law?
The fact that several private and public companies already have a whistleblower solution even though it is not a legal requirement speaks for the value of having one. We see at least four key advantages for our clients to have a whistleblower solution:
- Detect unwanted behaviour. By giving employees and partners a way to speak up without the fear of repercussion, you are more likely to detect and react to unwanted behaviour before it escalates even more.
- Protection of reputation. By giving the whistleblower a possibility to report to the organisation private and public companies can protect their reputation by avoiding negative media.
- Pre-empt misconduct. By strongly signalling that the company will do what it can to fight misconduct one can hope that it will deter people from doing it in the first place.
- Attract employees. More and more employees speak up against unsafe working environments. While a whistleblower solution will never be able to guarantee this, it does send a strong signal to the employees that the organisation does its best to combat misconduct and create a safe working environment.
6. Why is now the right time for you to consider a partnership with a whistleblowing system provider?
The Directive will make a whistleblower solution necessary for basically all our clients. We have also experienced an increasing interest in our advice on whistleblower services. With the deadline approaching, demand will rise significantly and we strive to have built a strong partnership and the right processes once demand spikes so that we may give our clients the best experience.
7. What do you expect to gain from your partnership with WhistleB?
Creating and managing a whistleblower solution should be easy, secure and hassle-free, both for the whistleblower and for our clients. Through our partnership with WhistleB, we get a platform that enables us to offer our clients such a solution. We are convinced that, with this partnership, we will be able to help clients not only to meet compliance requirements, but also to add value to their business owing to their whistleblower solutions.
8. Why did you choose to partner with WhistleB specifically?
As I see it, WhistleB has succeeded in making a system with the highest security standard and simplified an otherwise complex system. This has been a decisive factor for us in choosing WhistleB over other suppliers. As we will be doing much of the work managing the whistleblower solution, our clients will rarely use the system. Usability is thus very important for us and I think that WhistleB have succeeded here. Usability it also extremely important for the whistleblower, if the system becomes too complicated one risks losing important information from whistleblowers.
9. Are you able to mention any client success stories that illustrate how you can offer the client a one-stop-shop for whistleblowing services, through the WhistleB Partnership Programme?
We were approached by a client who wanted to set up a whistleblower scheme. We helped the client drafting a whistleblower policy and guidelines for handling reports and setting up a whistleblower platform. The client was very pleased with how user-friendly the platform was. During a demo of the product, the client uttered in relief, “finally a software that I’ll actually be able to use.” We will be monitoring their whistleblower solution, which means that they barely use any resources on operating or managing their whistleblower solution.
“During a demo of the product, the client uttered in relief, “finally a software that I’ll actually be able to use.””
If you would like to know more about the benefits of the WhistleB Partnership Programme and whether it is right for your organisation, go to our dedicated web page for the programme or contact us directly.
Jan Tadeusz Stappers, LL.M., CIPP/E Legal Counsel
Senior Manager, Partnerships