Corporate governance is the backbone of any successful organisation, and a significant aspect is having a robust whistleblowing program in place.
We’re delighted to see the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) shine a light on whistleblowing in the August 2023 issue of Company Director magazine under the headline ‘When the Whistle Blows‘.
In this article, CEO of Your Call, Lauren Witherdin, discusses the importance of protected disclosures in maintaining transparency and accountability within our organisations.
Top 10 Takeaways
Here are our top 10 key takeaways from the article.
- Boards are increasingly supportive of whistleblowers and recognise the value of a good whistleblowing program in identifying compliance and risk management issues within organisations. Boards and directors need to be well-informed about the whistleblowing process, their responsibilities, and the protections afforded to whistleblowers.
- Whistleblowing provides valuable insights into an organisation’s culture and can reveal systemic or cultural problems before they become legally and reputationally risky. Whistleblowing disclosures can result in tangible changes within organisations, including policy adjustments, leadership changes, and improved control environments.
- There is a shift towards proactive director oversight and a focus on the well-being of whistleblowers, driven in part by legislative and regulatory changes.
- The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has emphasised the importance of whistleblowing in the risk and governance framework of corporations.
- Financial services sectors are ahead in implementing mature whistleblowing programs, and the scope of reported matters is broadening, including workplace issues like harassment and modern slavery.
- External whistleblowing services, such as Your Call, are becoming more popular, and organisations are focusing on demystifying whistleblowing to encourage more reporting.
- Directors play a crucial role as eligible recipients of protected disclosures and need to be vigilant in identifying and handling such reports.
- There is a need for additional resources and an independent authority to support whistleblowers and resolve complex cases.
- Australia is lagging international best practices in protecting whistleblowers, and a review of the Corporations Act whistleblowing provisions is expected in 2024.
- Ensuring anonymity and confidentiality for whistleblowers is crucial, and leaders must create a safe environment for reporting.