Initial considerations

Commitment from leadership

Support “from the top” in the form of vocal and practical endorsement (through, for example, supporting statements and raising awareness) from the board, executive directors and senior management has been identified as a crucial foundation for a culture of openness and integrity in an organisation as a whole.[1] Thus, an essential starting point for any effective whistleblowing policy is a genuine desire from the board or governing body for employees to raise concerns as well as sincere commitment at the management level to support them to do so.[2]

Whistleblowing regimes are most effective where governing bodies and management have a clear understanding of the benefits of whistleblowing mechanisms in general and of the nature of whistleblowing procedures in their organisation in particular. Equally important is that management is seen to support internal reporting in practice (for example, reports are dealt with appropriately and thoroughly, whistleblowers are supported and protected) in order to not to discourage other potential whistleblowers. Management can be held accountable for their handling of whistleblower concerns, for example, by including this as an aspect of their performance review.[3]

Consideration of costs and resources

Although internal reporting mechanisms are generally not considered costly to set up or maintain,[4] careful consideration by employers of the costs and staff time required for the promotion and maintenance of a reporting mechanism, investigation of disclosures and follow-up of complaints and staff training helps to ensure that adequate resources are dedicated to a mechanism’s effective design and upkeep. Consultation with staff, management and any relevant unions is also often recommended to better understand issues which may shape resource allocation and planning, such as past experiences of whistleblowing in the organisation.[5]


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