Corporate schemes on whistleblowing are a relatively new phenomenon in Europe. Whistleblowing schemes can be expected to receive a great deal of attention in the future. Within the last three years, a significant number of large and medium-sized companies have publicly registered that they have established a whistleblowing scheme. This has been done in accordance with the Danish Data Protection Agency’s rules on the obligation to register whistleblowing schemes. Certain companies are directly required to introduce a whistleblowing scheme. Other companies consider introducing a whistleblowing scheme as a natural part of international corporate governance development.
What are whistleblowing schemes?
A whistleblowing scheme is an information system. It allows for electronic, telephone or manual reporting to the management of severe problems within the company. It can be, for example, about the wasting of resources, abuse of power, corruption, illegalities, dishonesty, poor management, or the like.
Recent examples have shown that whistleblowing schemes have revealed inadequacies worth millions of Danish kroner. Establishing a practical “tattletale” for senior management will, therefore, in the long run, be able to save significant funds for many companies. Thus, it will eventually be visible on the bottom line.
Therefore, today’s whistleblowing schemes are perceived as a valuable contribution to the company’s risk management and development. The schemes are often integrated into the context of the company’s standard set of values, which are intended to ensure that all employees and other persons acting on behalf of the company know what correct company behaviour is. Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility are also considered a new branding arena for companies in general.
In addition, establishing whistle blowing schemes follows the latest recommendations from the Committee on Corporate Governance (2010). It is recommended that “the supreme governing body decides whether to establish a whistleblowing scheme. The purpose must be to allow for appropriate and confidential reporting of serious offences or suspicions.”
The recommendation, which has a natural connection to a company’s CSR initiative, cf. section 99a of the Danish Financial Statements Act, must be expected to have great practical significance for all Danish companies with professional management for many years to come.
We can help you
Advokatgruppen now offers a concept regarding introducing whistleblowing schemes for companies as small as 20 employees and up to several thousand – adapted to the company’s needs. We advise all types of companies.
The concept includes the handling right from the considerations of introduction, the implementation phase, and the scheme’s ongoing operation. The employee side is naturally involved when the management has decided to introduce a system. The concept is adapted to the individual company, and the basic idea is: “keep it simple”.
A course can also be offered, providing a comprehensive overview of the area for companies that have already introduced or intend to introduce a whistleblowing scheme. The complicated international and national rules that apply to whistleblowing schemes in the various areas of law are thoroughly reviewed and made clear based on recent case law. The course can be arranged so that it forms part of the scheme’s introduction or the considerations thereof.