Guidance on what employers should consider when developing and improving whistleblowing management protocols has been published by international standards body BSI.
The new international standard states that organisations’ procedures for managing whistleblowing claims should be based on the principles of trust, impartiality and protection.
It provides guidance to organisations for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving a whistleblowing management system, whether stand-alone or part of a wider system, and has been developed by an international committee of governance experts.
David Fatscher, head of environment, social and governance standards at BSI said: “Studies show that a large proportion of wrongdoing comes to the attention of the affected organisation through reports from someone within or close to the organisation. This has led organisations to introduce or improve internal whistleblowing policies and processes.
“We are proud to have led the development of the first whistleblowing management system that can help organisations of all sizes to set-up and maintain a robust process. This is an important people-centric standard that can build organisational trust by encouraging a culture of openness, transparency, integrity and accountability.”
The document, BS ISO 37002:2021, Whistleblowing management systems, Guidelines, says that an effective system for managing protected disclosures should involve the following:
- receiving reports of wrongdoing
- assessing reports of wrongdoing
- addressing reports of wrongdoing
- concluding whistleblowing cases.
It says a successful whistleblowing management system should:
- encourage and facilitate reporting of wrongdoing
- support and protect whistleblowers and other interested parties involved
- ensure reports of wrongdoing are dealt with in a proper and timely manner
- improve organizational culture and governance
- reduce the risks of wrongdoing.
The guidance is intended for all types and size of organisation in the private, public and third sectors.
The government has said it would review the legal protections offered to whistleblowers following claims of a surge in employees who were dismissed by their employers after they raised a concern about Covid-19 related issues.
According to analysis by the Telegraph earlier this year, 2,289 employment tribunal claims for whistleblowing detriment were made between April and December 2020 and the number of cases have more than doubled since 2014/15.