If your organisation is implementing a whistleblowing system for the first time, WhistleB’s new whistleblowing handbook might be just what you need. The ABC guide for establishing a whistleblowing solution that increases customer and employee satisfaction summarises our most pertinent experience, thousands of customer discussions and the best practices from helping hundreds of organisations in implementing whistleblowing systems.
This article is the second in a series of summer blog articles in which we are publishing excerpts from the whistleblowing handbook, which covers data security, resources, how to get the cases in, legal aspects, culture and more.
Implementing a whistleblowing system prevents bad things happening to good companies
“Think of a whistleblowing solution as an effective insurance policy against threats to customer trust and satisfaction.”
Some years ago, when writing our handbook Sustainable Profit, we met many business leaders committed to ensuring that their organisations generated long-term success and sustainable profits. They did so by making sure that operations were well managed and responsibly managed throughout the value chain.
At that time, we also learned about incidents that had turned business operations upside down – incidents that had affected the company reputation to such an extent that customers switched to competitors instead. These were all remarkable stories with not-so-happy endings that might have been avoided if the board and management had only had better and quicker information to act upon. This opened our eyes to the benefits of well-run organisational whistleblowing systems.
Some industries operate in tougher environments than others, but all are at risk from misconduct. There is never any guarantee that all the people in your organisation or supply chain will act lawfully at all times. But you can prevent bad things happening. One of the simplest ways is to provide a secure whistleblowing solution for stakeholders to report suspected wrongdoings – think of it as an easy-to-implement, cost-efficient insurance for reducing business risks. With such a solution in place, you can encourage your employees and other stakeholders to alert you to any suspected unlawful activity in order to protect health, life, business operations and a sustainable profit.
When should the whistle be blown?
A whistleblowing system is used to alert the board and management team about serious risks affecting individuals, the organisation, society or the environment. A whistleblower does not need proof to sound the alert but should act in good faith.
Typical whistleblowing cases include:
- accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing matters, fighting against bribery, corruption, banking and financial crime, and
- other serious improprieties concerning the company’s or the group’s vital interests or the life or health of individual persons, for instance serious environmental crimes, major deficiencies in security in the workplace and very serious forms of discrimination or harassment.
For organisations with operations in the European Union, the EU directive on whistleblower protection defines matters on which a whistleblower can report for which they will be given protection. The directive focuses on protecting against misconduct that is a threat to public interests and therefore covers issues such as the environment, public health, consumer safety, public finances, anti-money laundering, corporate taxation, data protection and manufacturing and trading of unsafe or illegal products.
Gunilla Hadders, co-author and Senior Advisor at WhistleB, Whistleblowing Centre
+46 70 214 88 73