Thursday, 11 October 2018 08:00

Whistleblowing: What is it and why is it so important?

Whistleblowing, in its simplest form, is the reporting of misconduct within the workplace, which can range from minor issues, or to complex, corporate-changing deeds of bad behaviour leadership.

Whistleblowing is an essential tool that is necessary within businesses to protect their employees, customers, and the organisation itself. Many industries are now routinely implementing whistleblowing policies and codes of conduct within their workplaces, providing their employees with a clear structure and direction on the procedures as required.

Protected Disclosures

In the UK, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 provides the right for a worker who makes a disclosure to be protected from retaliation as long as they reasonably believe two things;

  1. They are acting in the public interest
  2. They reasonably believe that the disclosure show’s past, present or future wrongdoing

The wrongdoing disclosure must also fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • criminal offences such as fraud
  • failure to comply with an obligation set out in law
  • miscarriages of justice
  • endangering of someone’s health and safety
  • damage to the environment
  • covering up wrongdoing in the above categories

The legislation provides the right for a worker to take their case to an employment tribunal if they have been victimised at work or they have lost their job because they have ‘blown the whistle’.

Why is it so important?

In a busy workplace, it is easy for issues, which may be troubling individuals or teams, not to be brought to attention to the senior management, often due to fear of repercussions. This is especially true if there is not a clear process in place for reporting any inappropriate behaviour.

By being open and honest, following through on procedures, treating employees with respect, in confidence, and investigating the issue thoroughly, a positive whistleblowing culture can be created. This provides businesses with the opportunity to minimise fraud and other forms of misconduct and enables employees to focus on their core business needs, and the success of the organisation.

Here are our tips for promoting a whistleblowing culture:

  • Create a robust whistleblowing policy
  • Emphasise the companies’ stance that retaliation for whistleblowing will not be tolerated
  • Promote the organisation’s commitment to whistleblowing
  • Undertake prompt and comprehensive investigations into all genuine whistleblowing concerns
  • Ensure whistleblowers receive adequate feedback and support when they raise a concern
  • Ensure there is training for all staff on the importance of whistleblowing

Whistleblowing is an essential tool for any organisation. Without it, fraud and misconduct may harm their business. For more information on how SeeHearSpeakUp can help your organisation contact the team on +44 1224 625111

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