Helplines vs. hotlines

A helpline can be contacted by employees seeking information and confidential advice on whether and how they can raise a concern, internally or externally.[1] Conversely, a hotline is a reporting facility to which an employee can make a disclosure. An internal hotline will operate within an organisation and refer an employee to a designated officer within the organisation, whereas an external hotline will typically be a commercial reporting service, outsourced by the organisation, which passes reports back to the designated officer within the organisation.[2] It is worth noting that these terms are sometimes loosely and interchangeably used.


  • [1]

    See, for example, the helpline service description offered by Public Concern at Work

  • [2]

    British Standards Institute, 2008. Whistleblowing arrangements code of practice, p.9 and 16

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