Why Implement a Whistleblowing Hotline?
There are many driving factors which make the implementation of a whistleblowing hotline an important and worthwhile task. If you find yourself asking whether your organisation needs to implement its own hotline, you should consider the factors listed below and the positive effects of a comprehensive whistleblowing procedure.
Comply with laws and regulation
A whistleblowing hotline can help an organisation comply with its legal and regulatory responsibilities..
The provision of confidential reporting channels, like a whistleblowing hotline, are a key feature of many whistleblower protection laws, such as the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive.
In the UK, whistleblowing channels are one of the six adequate procedures recommended by the UK Department of Justice for an organisation to prevent bribery and comply with the UK Bribery Act of 2010.
Organisations often introduce hotlines to allow employees to raise issues that they may feel uncomfortable discussing with a manager, such as sexual or racial discrimination, or information that might incriminate a peer.
This can help expose important issues that would otherwise remain undisclosed and help reassure employees that their concerns are taken seriously.
Gathering risk intelligence
For most organisations, there is no better information source than its employees.
But corrupt and illegal behaviour often goes undetected because employees fear the consequences of reporting them through existing internal channels.
Implemented correctly, a hotline can be a powerful tool in exposing illegal or unethical behaviour. Organisations therefore often place a high value on the risk intelligence that an effective hotline can provide.
Protecting brand reputation is often a key motivator when a business chooses to introduce a whistleblowing hotline.
If employees or third parties do not have access to a reporting channel provided by the organisation, they may choose to use alternative public channels, such as going to the press or taking legal action.
A whistleblowing hotline can give an organisation early insight into a potential issue and reduce the likelihood of potentially damaging information reaching the public domain.