WhistleB Partnership Programme – 5 quick questions to our partner in Germany
The WhistleB Partnership Programme is expanding at speed. With the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive set to come into force later this year, law firms are understandably interested in a modern whistleblowing solution that they can recommend to their clients to help them comply. For a law firm, being able to offer their clients a one-stop-shop from whistleblower report receipt to a completed and closed investigation is a clear value proposition of a partnership with WhistleB.
“The WhistleB software is as plug & play as it can get: Easy to handle, no explanation needed and …it just works!”
In this blog post, Alexander Möller, who is a Partner and Certified Expert for Employment Law at our German partner SKW Schwarz, provides some insight into the German market. In particular he highlights the value of our joint offer for mid-sized and smaller companies facing the challenges of the EU Directive.
1. Tell us a little about your firm.
SKW Schwartz is a full-service law firm, with a clear focus on media and entertainment, corporate, intellectual property, GDPR and labour law. The typical SKW client is a mid-sized company, with around 300–4000 employees. In some parts of our business, we also advise German corporations that are listed on the German stock index (DAX). Our Berlin office is closely connected to the Berlin start-up scene. Since we are a national law firm we only advise in the German market. However, due to our participation in international networks, we manage international projects too.
2. How do you expect the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive and its national transposition to affect companies in Germany?
I don’t anticipate major issues for the bigger market players or those companies that are already very active in the US or the UK markets. For various reasons, these companies have already been forced to implement specific whistleblowing and compliance tools.
However, since the threshold of the Directive is rather low, smaller and medium-sized companies will face a significant workload in the near future as related tools are still not so common in the German market, and thus not broadly implemented.
3. When it comes to anti-corruption and/or corporate misconduct, what are the most significant issues that your clients are currently facing, or will face over the next few years?
From my perspective, the most challenging issues are practical ones. First, generating an atmosphere in which whistleblowing is not considered as something bad but as something that helps the company and the workforce. Secondly, providing the technical infrastructure that enables a successful implementation of a whistleblowing tool.
4. How do you see that clients can benefit more broadly from complying with the new EU Whistleblower law?
The aim of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive is to set minimum standards for protection of whistleblowers, as they are a main source of information on wrongdoings. If all competitors play by the book and a more transparent business climate emerges, the focus will definitely shift from doing anything to keep up with the competition to improving one’s products/services. This could be a next kick-start to innovations and thinking outside of the box, which will in turn bring benefits to us as consumers and society as a whole.
5. Why did you choose to partner with WhistleB specifically?
The WhistleB system is made for people like me – people that are keen on new technical developments but who don’t have the time or the skills to develop technical knowledge. These people have to rely on plug & play technical devices – and the WhistleB software is as plug & play as it can get: Easy to handle, no explanation needed and …it just works!
Since the start of our partnership with SKW Schwarz we have held a number of webinars together to help German companies understand what they need to think about in implementing a whistleblowing solution that is compliant with both the new Directive and the GDPR. One of the webinars that took place in February is available on demand via Lexology webinars at this link:
More information about the WhistleB Partnership Programme is available on our website, or feel free to contact us.
Jan Tadeusz Stappers, LL.M.
Senior Manager, Partnerships