Jun 10

Updates to Whistleblower policy and the benefits of an independent reporting service

Serious complaints of inappropriate behaviour are often not reported because employees don’t feel comfortable or secure to report to a manager. The earlier a complaint is received, the quicker it can be dealt with and often the outcomes are far more beneficial. Investigations Support Officer, Emine Yavuz discusses how an independent whistleblowing service should be a key part of an organisation’s risk management policy. 

Current changes to the legislation have pushed large companies to update and implement a whistleblower policy. From 1 January 2020 under the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act (2019), it is now a requirement to have a whistleblower policy in place.

Some of the changes under the act now include:

  • Clear outline of how and who reports can be made to. Reports can be made to an ‘eligible recipient’ this can be an entity recognised by the company or an independent whistleblower service.
  • Protection from detriment, victimisation, and reprisals
  • Disclosures now  include misconduct, an improper state of affairs, or a breach in law.
  • An eligible whistleblower now includes:
  • Staff
  • Former staff
  • Families of staff and former staff
  • Contractors
  • Other parties with clear connections to your entity
  • Disclosures are no longer required to be made in ‘good faith’
  • In specific circumstance a whistleblower can make a disclosure to journalists or parliamentarians.

The current protections under the act ensure that individuals who come forward with reports on potential misconduct or breach of law are protected. These protections provide that whistleblowers are no longer required to identify themselves. In the event of an unauthorised disclosure of identify, heavy penalties are put in place.

Whistleblower Services

The change in legislation provides a clear message that whistleblowers will be protected and are encouraged to come forward with their concerns. In line with your existing grievance and or complaint whistleblower system, it is beneficial to explore external hotlines or whistleblower services.

Integrity Line is a service run by Worklogic, the service was set up as we recognised that there was an underreporting of workplace issues. Having an external hotline is valuable, it encourages staff to come forward with concerns and promotes a clear message that your company is serious about upholding workplace standards.  Misconduct can be difficult to detect, there is a reliance on employees coming forward, therefore having a system that encourages reporting and is easily accessible is vital.

Worklogics Integrity Line ensures accessibility to a 24-hour online reporting service and a hotline that operates within business hours. Our operators assist in demystifying the complaint process, while offering a neutral, impartial service. The service provides for a clear system of reporting. In order to maximise our contribution to the effective management of a whistleblower report made through Integrity Line, we have adapted our report form to allow for three levels of anonymity:

  • Not anonymous
  • Fully anonymous
  • Partially anonymous

A guarantee of confidentiality is significant. A significant feature implemented is the partially anonymous option. Partially anonymous reports ensure that an individual making a report can make their contact details known to Integrity Line on the strict undertaking that we will not make those details known to their employer unless expressly stated.  Partially anonymous reports allow us to ‘manage’ the confidentiality of a would-be whistleblower, a legislated obligation for any organisation.

Having an external hotline or whistleblower service offers a valuable extra for any organisation. By providing a independent, secure channel for employees to voice their concerns,  they are more likely to report inappropriate behaviour. A whistleblower service empowers employers to be proactive with any issues that may come up.

Worklogic works with employers to fairly address inappropriate behaviour at work and advise on building a positive workplace culture.  We do not act for individuals.

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