Whistleblowing - Its a Right

Whistleblowing breaking the culture of Silence.

Do we maintain the culture of silence or instigate change and speak up to safeguard the employees and organisations in the workplace?

Growing up some of the general rules in my childhood were –

· “No one likes a tell tail”

· “Don’t tell stories

· “Say nothing”

· “I didn’t see anything”

· “Tell the truth”

Anyone who broke a rule would be the subject of teasing by other school children at best or threats and acts of physical payback at worse. Invariably any child who did report wrongdoing ended up victims of exclusion and mistrust from other children and friends.

As adults, society in general does not encourage people to openly speak up against wrongdoing, why? The reasons are numerous, complex and varied, I suspect the fear of reprisal or exclusion from the group are important but understandable drivers.

Reporting wrongdoing in the workplace is a right and I believe one which should be supported by employees and employers alike. It’s a challenge to all involved but the benefits of actively encouraging people to speak up, actively supporting those who do, proactively implementing solutions to remove or mitigate the risks identified will ensure a change of culture in the organisation.

The ability of organisations and employees to remove the culture of silence is predicated on trust, transparent and the integrity of the investigation of the wrongdoing identified. In the majority of incidents those charged with conducting whistleblowing allegations are not trained to sufficient standards to conduct internal impartial investigation, never mind allegations of whistleblowing which are inherently more complex.

Recent regulatory actions.

An updated UK Corporate Governance Code was recently introduced. The new code is accompanied by updated guidance on board effectiveness and UK Corporate Governance Code 2018 highlights.

It provides additional guidance and requirements directly connected to the management of whistleblowers and the appropriate training of those involved in the investigative processes.

The EU set itself the objective of upholding democracy and the rule of law and thus guarantees its citizens freedom of expression; whistleblowing is a fundamental aspect of the freedom of expression and information, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. .http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?lang=en&reference=2016/2224(INI)

Solutions

Organisations must develop strategies and enforceable policies to demonstrate how whistleblowers will be protected against victimisation. Those involved in the investigative process must have appropriate and accredited training.

If you or your organisation would benefit from training, we have designed a bespoke Whistleblowers Investigations Management Course so you can meet your obligations under the whistleblowing legislation and rules.

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UK and Northern Ireland          . Republic Of Ireland

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