On 1 August, RMIA CEO, Simon Levy, and Your Call‘s CEO, Lauren Witherdin, co-hosted a webinar for RMIA members, where they shared practical insights from ASIC’s Report 758 – Good Practices for Handling Whistleblowing Disclosures.
The webinar aimed to provide participants with an understanding of current whistleblowing regulations and good practices to better manage whistleblowing programs.
Here are our 10 key takeouts from the webinar.
1. ASIC’s Report 758 outlines seven key pillars of good practice for whistleblowing programs including:
- A strong foundation
- Building a speak up culture and providing whistleblower protection
- Training and resources for employees, managers and boards
- Monitoring, reviewing and continuous improvement of the program, based on data-led evidence
- Proactively using information from whistleblowing disclosures
- Senior executive accountability
- Effective director oversight.
2. ASIC is encouraging organisations to improve their arrangements for handling whistleblower disclosures and ensure they are effective and encourage people to speak up.
3. Most of the sample firms reviewed by ASIC in Report 758 used a disclosure service provided by a third party, such as Your Call.
4. Annual training is crucial for eligible recipients, and those involved in delivering the whistleblowing program need to be able to recognise potential protected disclosures to comply with the whistleblower provisions in the Corporations Act 2001.
5. Specialist training is valuable for different functions within the organisation, such as legal practitioners and HR practitioners. Board members are also eligible recipients under the whistleblowing laws and should be provided with specialist training that addresses director’s obligations and responsibilities.
6. Whilst the Corporations Act does not specifically impose responsibility on a board for whistleblower programs, ASIC considers that the board is ultimately responsible, as part of the organisation’s broader risk management and corporate governance framework. Senior executive accountability is essential for setting the tone at the top and driving the whistleblowing program effectively.
7. There was a discussion around terminology for whistleblowing and whether to call the policy a “whistleblower policy” or a “speak up policy.” It was noted that using positive terminology like “speak up” may encourage more individuals to come forward.
8. It is rare for organisations to see an influx of historical reports when they first implement a whistleblowing hotline. It usually takes time for individuals to feel comfortable to trust the program.
9. Assessing the effectiveness of the whistleblowing program may include considering the volume of reports, benchmarking, obtaining stakeholder feedback, and looking at the organisation’s overall reporting culture.
10. The TerraCom case was discussed as a case study demonstrating the potential consequences of breaching the whistleblowing laws.
ASIC encourages organisations to review their whistleblowing program against the elements in Report 758. Start this process by using Your Call’s ASIC Report 758 checklist to identify gaps and take steps to uplift your whistleblowing program.
What webinar participants told us
- 25% of webinar participants said they are responsible for leading the whistleblower program for their organisation.
- 50% of participants indicated they they are unsure or they know that their whistleblowing program doesn’t follow ASIC’s 758 good practice recommendations
- 20% of participants called out “training and resources” as an area they need to focus on.
- Download Your Call’s ASIC 758 whistleblowing health check to help you identify gaps and areas for improvement in your whistleblowing program
- Read the key take outs from an article by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) that shines a light on whistleblowing
For independence, integrity and expertise, talk to Your Call today about your whistleblowing program.