Jan Tadeusz Stappers, LL.M., CIPP/E
Legal Counsel, WhistleB, Whistleblowing Centre AB
Through WhistleB’s annual survey on organizational whistleblowing, we ask our customers about how they use their whistleblowing system and the outcomes that arise from having a secure, digital whistleblowing system in place. These are some of the key findings:
An increased number of whistleblowing reports received.
Almost a third of all cases related to fraud, economic crime or money laundering.
The whistleblowing channel seen as a key tool for building trust.
Whistleblowing systems create trust
One of the most overwhelming findings this year was that more than 50% of the responses stated that building trust was the main benefit of having a whistleblowing system in place. While the key purpose of any whistleblowing system is to enable companies to detect and act on misconduct before it causes too much financial and reputational damage, the survey indicates clearly that WhistleB’s customers value the wider impact of being open to whistleblowing. Namely, that together with the rest of the organization’s ethics work, a whistleblowing system underlines a commitment to transparency and openness.
The number of whistleblowing reports received remains high
The steep upward trend in the total number of reports received by organizations continues for the second year in a row. We believe that an important contributing factor here is the more positive attitude to whistleblowers and whistleblowing. Positive media depictions of whistleblowers, increased regulation that requires organizations to have whistleblowing systems in place and regulation that protects the rights of whistleblowers are all likely contributing factors to this change in how whistleblowers are viewed.
Whistleblowing helps to detect financial irregularities earlier
Participants reported that almost a third of all cases related to fraud, economic crime or money laundering. Indeed, ever since we started this survey, financial irregularities have topped the list in terms of number of reports received. Customers also cite “Detecting fraud and corruption earlier” as a key benefit of having such systems in place.
Whistleblowing systems being opened to external stakeholders
Last year, we started to see a growing number of organizations open up their whistleblowing services to external stakeholders. This trend has continued this year, with results showing that 50% of organizations now invite customers, suppliers, partners and others to report suspicious conduct.
How can organizations build trust in the whistleblowing system?
Organizations choose to implement a whistleblowing system to access sensitive, hard-to-reach information on misconduct such as fraud, corruption and bribery earlier. But before reporting such information, a potential whistleblower needs to trust the system. So we also ask our customers what they see as the most important factors for building that trust. The top responses this year were:
Ensuring the right team and a thorough process are in place for handling reports
Having a secure system that enables anonymity for the whistleblower
Sharing communication about the purpose of the system
Download a copy of the WhistleB fourth annual customer survey on organizational whistleblowing here.
About WhistleB Whistleblowing centre
WhistleB provides a whistleblowing service for companies, authorities and organizations. WhistleB has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of compliance and corporate sustainability. We are committed to helping customers minimize their risks and strengthen their performance through high ethical procedures and a leading whistleblowing service. Visit www.whistleb.com for more information.