14 August 2013

Devising whistleblowing strategies

PricewaterhouseCoopers is launching new guidelines to encourage businesses to devise more robust strategies on whistleblowing.

By Charlotte Mullen

PwC urge companies to check their whistleblower protection policies Andrea Danti

Head of PwC’s business ethics practice, partner Tracey Groves, said: ‘We have seen a number of high profile whistleblowing cases in recent weeks that are really making companies sit up and take stock of existing policies, and assess if they are adequate under the recent changes brought about by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.’
This new legislation, according to Gov.uk, ‘will bring in a new regime giving shareholders more say on directors’ pay, improve dispute resolution through reform of Employment Tribunals, establish the new Competition and Markets Authority and enshrine the aims of the Green Investment Bank.’   

Levels of protection

PwC’s paper – Striking a Balance – has been compiled by the firm’s whistleblowing experts and aims to challenge firms to check the levels of protection their policies would offer to whistleblowers, underlining the boundaries between confidentiality and anonymity – how a whistleblower can choose not to be identified or be open about their identity.  
‘When we asked companies what format they used to keep employees abreast of whistleblowing arrangements we found that the majority, 85.6%, used a Code of Conduct or policy manual.  The reality though is that in an ever evolving digital age there are multiple channels to speak up.  Engaging employees and gaining their trust in the whistleblowing process is critical in order to avoid potentially damaging repercussions if the company’s whistleblowing procedures are not utilised correctly,’ said Ms Groves.

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