Whistleblowing is an exceptionally effective method to uncover serious misconduct and fraud – and to build a strong level of credibility and trust with your people and how they perceive your organisation. With legislation changes taking effect in January 2020, now a much broader group of people can become whistleblowers.
Companies need to be aware of their increased compliance obligations and associated risks. Those who actively manage whistleblowing not only protect their reputation and revenue but also support a strong ethical culture and robust corporate governance.
Who can be a whistleblower?
The enhanced legislation came into effect 1 January 2020. A wider group of whistleblowers are protected from victimisation for disclosing a broader range of suspected wrongdoings to a larger group of authorised recipients.
For a whistleblower to qualify for protection, that person:
- can be a former trustee, officer, employee or contractor
- can now also be a current or former supplier
- can now also be a relative or dependent of a current or former officer, employee, contractor or supplier
- no longer needs to be acting in good faith
- no longer has to disclose their identity.
There are also changes around:
- the expansion of eligible recipients of a qualifying whistleblower’s disclosure
- conduct that qualifies for protection
- corporate defenses to a whistleblower’s claim for compensation.
How we help
We help clients comply with these new obligations by identifying and assessing the Whistleblowing Framework in place and determining what gaps exist compared to the new regime. We also help remedy gaps in current Whistleblowing Frameworks, ensuring that an appropriate Whistleblowing Policy is in place and effectively implemented and maintained, including training and an independent reporting hotline.
As part of the Whistleblowing Policy and broader Framework, we are helping to ensure that adequate internal controls, policies and procedures are in place to protect eligible whistleblowers confidentiality and protect them from victimisation.
Finally, we also develop and implement Response Plans for our clients as to how to manage whistleblowing disclosures. It includes a preliminary assessment to determine if it is an eligible disclosure and what investigation may be required to substantiate and/or refute allegations made.
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