Corporate Whistleblowing Declined Significantly as a Result of COVID-19

Corporate Whistleblowing Declined Significantly as a Result of COVID-19

NAVEX Global®, the leader in integrated risk and compliance management solutions, today announces the results of its 2021 Regional Whistleblowing Hotl

NAVEX Global®, the leader in integrated risk and compliance management solutions, today announces the results of its 2021 Regional Whistleblowing Hotline Benchmark Report. The findings reveal that global reporting volumes declined for the first time since the company began reporting whistleblowing benchmarking data over a decade ago. The sharpest reductions occurred in organisations based in APAC (57%) and the UK (37.5%), coinciding with the introduction of pandemic-driven regional lockdowns.

The report, compiled from anonymised reporting data collected from the world’s largest whistleblowing hotline and incident management database, found long-term trends in reporting changed due to effects of the pandemic. Reporting volumes, the types of allegations reported, and the channels that people use to report their concerns were significantly impacted, particularly for organisations based in Europe and APAC.

Possible Impact of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive

This year’s data suggests that European organisations may also be seeing a possible impact on reporting trends driven by the upcoming EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. “Although there are some positive trends in the data, of concern is that European organisations continue to lag behind their peers in case closure rates, which will become a regulated activity within the EU from December.” said Giles Newman, Managing Director, International at NAVEX Global.

NAVEX Global’s benchmarks showed it took a median of 75 days for European organisations to review and close a whistleblowing case in 2020. This compares to 37 days for North American organisations. Reducing case closure times is a vital step towards increasing employee trust in the whistleblowing process. The EU Whistleblower Protection Directive will require many EU-based organisations to meet minimum standards including the time taken to manage their whistleblowing cases.

Retaliation Remains a Concern

With retaliation reports constituting just 1.2% of all whistleblowing reports from European organisations, and with substantiation rates declining significantly by 36% last year, this data suggests that organisations should ensure they have adequate protections in place to protect those who speak-up. This is even more critical with the upcoming EU Whistleblower Protection Directive strengthening the need for antiretaliation controls for organisations based in the EU.

Newman adds, “Fear of retaliation is the number one concern that keeps an individual from making a report. When employees are not reporting instances of retaliation internally there’s every chance they will be taking these reports to regulators or the media, which can be hugely problematic for both private and public sector institutions.”

NAVEX Global has served European, Middle East and Asia Pacific customers since 2010. With regional headquarters and business operations based in the UK and Scandinavia, the company also operates data management and call-centre facilities in Frankfurt, Lisbon and Amsterdam. Customers across the UK and Europe rely on NAVEX Global for their whistleblower reporting system; in the past year alone, its communication specialists answered in excess of 250,000 report calls from European customers’ employees, 94% of which were handled in the caller’s native language, the rest supported by an interpreter.

To download NAVEX Global’s 2021 Regional Whistleblowing Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report follow the linkhere.

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