Confidential or anonymous reporting: the need for secure whistleblowing systems
With the recent publication of two reports » about the protection whistleblowers and the preparation » of a proposal on whistleblower protection legislation by the European Commission, protection of whistleblowers is in the spotlights. It is likely that a growing number of people shares the conviction that anonymous whistleblowing is generally a good thing, which serves society. We see a strong growth in interest from all kinds of organisations for whistleblowing systems and its benefits ».
Offering the option of confidential or even better: anonymous reporting is essential when implementing a sound whisteblowing system. From the perspective of a whistleblower, (fear of) the risk of retaliation is a very serious one. Although some countries have legislation in place aimed at whistleblower protection, anonymous whistleblowing is the easiest way to avoid any repercussions. In the EU, presently only Spain and Portugal prohibit anonymous reporting. In other jurisdictions, anonymous reporting is generally not encouraged with the reasoning that it makes it more difficult to investigate anonymous reports. Another reason to leave the option of anonymity open is the practical issue that generally, the whistleblower does not trust the organisation sufficiently to report in any other way than anonymously. After all, anonymous whistleblowing is often a last resort.
Already at the stage of design of the WhistleB whistleblowing system, data security and building a trustworthy infrastructure was a primary consideration. The WhistleB system allows for anonymous reporting, maximising the chances of receiving reports on misconduct. The system can be adjusted for use in markets where anonymous whistleblowing is not allowed or undesired by the customer. In this way, the whistleblower’s security is ensured and the organisation is more likely to hear about wrongdoing, at an early stage. We are eager to see the protection offered to whistleblowers strengthened on an international scale. Meanwhile, organisations have the opportunity to offer their employees a secure whistleblowing system that allows for confidential or anonymous reporting.