To receive business critical tip-offs your employees need to trust the whistleblowing service and that cases are managed seriously. This raises two important questions that our customers often ask us: Who should be on the whistleblowing team and how should cases be escalated.
Who should be on the team?
We recommend that you aim for as tight a team as possible, but always more than one single person. This makes the process more transparent and trustworthy.
Further, you should aim to select non-operative people for the team receiving whistleblowing reports. Ideally, these would include non-executive roles such as compliance, internal audit, legal officers, board members, a representative of the owners or an external lawyer. More than any other type of whistleblowing service, an online service provides the opportunity to set up several teams of recipients so that appropriate gating can occur rapidly.
How should whistleblowing cases be escalated?
Transparency and efficiency are of foremost importance here. Cases need to be managed and sometimes escalated quickly and securely. Those responsible for receiving the cases should be supported by the following: guidelines on what is or is not considered to be a whistleblowing case; a non-retaliation policy; the rights of an accused person; and information on the investigation process, including how to manage personal data correctly.
At WhistleB, we have a recommended process for receiving and escalating whistleblowing cases. While each organisation is different, we usually recommend the following:
- If an issue concerns any of the individuals on the whistleblowing team, that individual should be excluded from the investigation.
- All accepted whistleblower issues should be reported to the CEO/MD.
- If a suspected whistleblower issue concerns the CEO/MD, the Chairman of the Board should be informed.
- If the whistleblower issue concerns a member of the Board, we recommend that all members of the Board be informed (alternatively, a representative of the owner should be informed).