The recent European ACFE conference, held entirely online, featured WhistleB’s Jan Stappers as one of the speakers. The ACFE, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, is the world’s largest anti-fraud organisation. Jan provided the audience with an overview of the latest state of affairs on whistleblowing management and related topics, such as the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive and ISO 37002, a forthcoming guideline for organisational whistleblowing.

The fact that whistleblowing is a topic of broad interest was illustrated by the various questions received during the presentation. Some of the issues raised by the ACFE conference audience are addressed below:

When is the ISO 37002 guidance expected to be ready?

ISO37002 on whistleblowing management systems will provide practical guidance to organisations regarding a broad array of whistleblowing management aspects. ISO 37002 is a guidelines standard, meaning that it does not specify requirements but provides guidance on whistleblowing management systems and recommended practices. The international standard will be non-sector specific and will be suitable for organisations of all sizes, from SMEs to multinationals. Based on the principles of trust, impartiality and protection, ISO 37002 aims to guide organisations in managing the full cycle of whistleblowing:

  • Identification and reporting of concerns of wrongdoing
  • Assessment of concerns of wrongdoing’
  • Means of addressing concerns of wrongdoing’
  • Closing of whistleblowing cases

ISO 37002 is scheduled for completion by the end of 2021. Here you can find more information on ISO 37002. 

What internal roles are the most appropriate for dealing with whistleblowing cases?

This is one of the most challenging aspects of having an effective whistleblowing management infrastructure in place. WhistleB’s most recent Customer Survey on Organisational Whistleblowing 2020 addresses the question of which roles are typically represented in the group of people managing whistleblowing reports. Usually the receivers of the reports decide when a message should lead to an investigation and bring the appropriate competences, internal and/or external, into the investigation process. Customers tend to appoint a mixed internal team of roles receiving the reports, with representatives from a range of functions. This mix of roles helps to create trust and ensure cases are dealt with in a secure way. Legal and compliance types of roles remain the most common representatives on whistleblowing teams. People in these roles are most likely to possess the right knowledge and training for dealing with the sensitive, often anonymous, whistleblowing cases. Other professional backgrounds often found in whistleblowing management teams are human resources, internal audit and risk and ethics.

For more information about this subject, read two of our previous blog posts here:

Does the EU whistleblower protection directive apply to international institutions as well?

The application of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive is very broad; not only are companies and NGOs covered, but also associations and local authorities. Both at EU and national level institutions and agencies fall under the scope of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. Here you’ll find further analysis of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. 

To what organisations does the Italian whistleblower protection law apply?

The Italian whistleblower protection legislation applies to both the private and public sectors. It provides protection to employees and self-employed individuals in both sectors. Companies adhering to the so-called Model 231 are obliged to have an internal whistleblowing infrastructure in place. However, extensive requirements for whistleblowing channels are not provided by the law, which is why currently email addresses tend to be used as “dedicated whistleblowing reporting channels”. Taking into account the specific elements that whistleblowing procedures must have in place under the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive, many organisations in Italy are expected to need to embrace more sophisticated whistleblowing management solutions in the months to come.

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