Whistleblowing guide for employers
Whistleblowing hotlines are a relatively new phenomenon that have grown in popularity over the past two decades.
They initially found favour among ethically progressive organisations – particularly those that recognised the value of encouraging employees to ‘speak up’ about unethical practices or behaviours.
Whistleblowing hotlines have recently taken on a more important role among UK-based employers thanks to the Bribery Act 2010. This largely stems from the Ministry of Justice recommending their adoption as part of its guidance document.
What is a whistleblowing hotline?
A whistleblowing hotline is a service that allows employees (and sometimes third-party suppliers and families of employees) to report concerns about malpractice or unlawful or unethical conduct in the workplace.
Implemented correctly, whistleblowing hotlines are powerful tools for exposing fraud, bullying, malpractice, discrimination and more.
A well-managed hotline is compliant, accessible, free of charge at the point of use and inclusive. Ideally, employees should have access to the following:
- Robust internal and external reporting processes (for situations where it is not possible or appropriate to report to line management)
- 24/7/365 accessibility
- The ability to use the hotline free of charge
- Choice of reporting via telephone, email or secure web portal
- The option to speak to live interpreters
The benefits of having a whistleblowing hotline
An effective hotline promotes an open, honest and accountable culture where employees can express their concerns without fear of reprisal.
A whistleblowing hotline can also help employers identify risks the company may not be aware of. This can give senior management an opportunity to address wrongdoing swiftly and take remedial action, potentially limiting damage to the organisation.
It can also help an employer comply with its legal and regulatory responsibilities (eg. the UK Bribery Act 2010, FCA Policy Statement PS15/24).
How to plan and implement a hotline
Are you considering a whistleblowing hotline for your organisation?
If you are, you may be unsure where to start, or what a good service should look like. Our guide will give you the information you need, including:
- how to plan and implement a whistleblowing hotline
- how to promote your hotline within your organisation
- an 8-point checklist for setting up your hotline
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