A 2019 whitepaper has revealed that 35% of UK businesses surveyed online have no system in place for whistleblowing.
The report by EQS gathered online feedback from 1400 companies in Germany, France, Switzerland and Great Britain with the purpose of studying:
The varying degrees companies in different countries are affected by misconduct; and
How companies in those countries implement whistleblowing systems as a preventative tool against misconduct.
Whilst the UK scored the highest with 65% of respondents stating they had a whistleblowing policy, the fact 35% did not was surprising. The main reasons given by all respondents surveyed for not having a whistleblowing policy were:
They felt that they had a strong culture of integrity;
There is no obligation to introduce a whistleblowing system; and
A whistleblowing system would not be effective/useful in their organisation.
The benefit of having a whistleblowing policy for members of your organisation
The law protects whistleblowers if they have made a protected disclosure. However, it is essential that potential whistleblowers understand what would constitute a “protected disclosure”, how they go about reporting their concerns and to whom they should report. A well drafted whistleblowing policy would provide this information to your employees.
The benefit of having a whistleblowing policy for your organisation
Employers should actively encourage whistleblowing within their organisation so that any malpractice, illegal acts or acts that may bring the organisation into disrepute are quickly brought to its attention.
The EQS survey revealed that of the UK organisations surveyed, 39% received protected disclosures on matters such as fraud, theft and bribery. Misconduct was more frequently reported (in 46% of cases) in organisations with more than 249 employees. More than a quarter of these organisations revealed potential financial losses of between £9,000 and £90,000 via their whistleblowing procedures. Organisations that do not have a whistleblowing policy and no clear guidelines for employees may find that these types of issues remain hidden which could be disastrous.
Does your organisation have a whistleblowing policy?
If your organisation has a whistleblowing policy it is essential to review this regularly to ensure it is up to date. It is also essential to ensure people in your organisation know where to locate the policy and understand what they should report, how to report and to whom they should report.
If your organisation does not have a whistleblowing policy then we recommend that one is prepared as soon as possible in order to protect the organisation and those who work for you.
Boyes Turner can assist you with updating your whistleblowing policy, with preparing a whistleblowing policy or with essential whistleblowing training for your organisation.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.