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In 2022 employers are aware of their obligations to support whistleblowing at work and provide a safe, supportive environment free of fraud, harassment and other serious wrongdoing.
The age when whistleblowers could be viewed as an unwelcome interruption to business-as-usual, or worse, a threat to it, are long gone.
Recent whistleblowing laws, such as the EU Whistleblower Directive from 2019, the Protection of Whistleblowers Act in New Zealand, the updated Corporations Act 2001 whistleblower protection regime in Australia (along with its host state-level regulations), and a plethora of other legal frameworks around the world, put the onus on organisations to support whistleblowers and protect them from retaliation.
It makes sense. Whistleblowers are the lifeblood of a company’s ethical wellness. A company’s eyes, ears and conscience, whistleblowers provide a crucial reality-check for organisations.
In New Zealand the law that legislates whistleblowing at work is The Protected Disclosures Act. The purpose of the Act is to protect people who raise concerns about possible wrongdoing in the workplace.
It also provides redress for employees who are dismissed or otherwise penalised for whistleblowing at work. The Act sets out the procedures that should be followed when making a disclosure, and provides protection to employees who do.
The law was updated in 2022 (‘Protection of Whistleblowers’), increasing protections for whistleblowers and extending the grounds under which protected disclosures can be made.
The updated Act also provides clearer protection for people to speak up about wrongdoing, ensuring confidentiality around who has made the disclosure, immunity from disciplinary action for making a protected disclosure, and protection from retaliation through the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993.
Ethical organisations don’t happen by accident. Rather, great company culture – the kind that supports its staff when they speak up about wrongdoing they’ve witnessed in the workplace – happens via the informed commitment of leadership to nurture healthy work environments.
Nevertheless, around 29% of businesses provide no fraud education to their staff at all (ACFE Fraud Awareness Training Benchmarking Report).
Making a commitment to this type of training is worthwhile however. Numerous studies now show that organisations that regularly provide training on compliance and ethics are much less likely to engage in dishonest or fraudulent behaviour.
Companies that frequently perform ethical training uncover fraud via tips 56% of the time, compared to 37% for businesses that don’t have anti-fraud training (2020 ACFE Report to the Nations).
Working with your company, external (or ‘third-party’) ethics training specialists can help you develop your organisation’s ethics and integrity policies, and support you to comply with The Protected Disclosures Act.
Third-party ethics training providers such as Report It Now offer a range of services, including ethics and compliance training, industry-specific ethical guidance and best practice advice, benchmarking, code of ethics development, whistleblowing software and hotline services.
On average, 5% of an organisation’s revenue is lost to fraud every year. The presence of anti-fraud procedures however is strongly correlated with lower fraud losses and speedier fraud detection.
Whistleblowing software such as Report It Now’s EthicsPro supports whistleblowing at work, disincentivises unethical behaviour, and offers organisational insight into bullying, harassment, fraud, and misconduct.
By providing a single, centralised database of reporting information, a clear paper trail for each submission, evidence of how submissions have been followed-up internally, along with automated reporting and analysis, EthicsPro lets users run, track and manage their ethical reporting responsibilities in an automated, intuitive, best-practice way.
Report It Now works with organisations of all shapes and sizes, including large publicly listed companies, large cooperatives (retail and B2C/B2B), regional government, retail outlets, hospitality chains, and small-to-medium businesses to minimise risk from unethical behaviour, such as fraud, bullying and harassment.
To learn more about how Report It Now™ and how EthicsPro® can support ethical behaviour in the workplace, get in touch.