As with many legal documents, there's no one-size-fits all whistleblowing policy.
What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is when a worker reports certain types of wrongdoing – usually something they’ve seen at work and the wrongdoing they disclose is of public interest.
What should be in a Whistleblowing policy?
As with many legal documents, there is no one-size-fits all whistleblowing policy and it will vary depending on the size and nature of your business.
Many businesses may choose a standalone whistleblowing policy whilst others might choose to implement their policy into a code of ethics document.
A whistleblowing policy should be clear, simple and easy to understand.
Tips of what a policy should include
- An explanation of what whistleblowing is
- A clear explanation of the organisation’s procedures for handling whistleblowing, it’s a good idea to communicate this through training too
- A commitment to treat disclosures fairly and consistently, as well as the reasonable steps to maintain confidentialty of the whistleblower where requested, unless disclosure is required by law.
- What feedback a whistle-blower might receive, as well as an explanation that anonymous whistle-blowers ordinarily won’t be able to receive feeback and that any action taken to look into a disclosure may be limited
- The timeframe for handling any disclosures raised
- Where employees can seek information and advice if they’re thinking of ‘blowing the whistle’
It’s important for managers to lead by example to ensure they are committed to creating an open culture where disclosures are welcome.
Often written policies are not enough
It’s good practice to provide all employees with training on the key points of the policy. Employees with whistleblowing responsibilities, such as managers, should be given additional training so that they can confidently provide guidance to workers.
Whistleblowing disclosures can be included as part of discipline and grievance training for managers and staff, and at regular points to make sure it’s fresh in manager’s minds. Efforts should be made to ensure that new employees understand what the policy and procedure is.
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