What is a whistleblower system?
A whistleblower system is a confidential or anonymous channel for obtaining information about a company or agency from employees and outsiders. This includes whistleblowers who can report crimes or violations. Because of the anonymity, concerns about consequences such as termination or intimidation can be limited.
Although the introduction of a whistleblower system is partly required by law for companies, it also makes sense independently of this. Timely information from whistleblowers (e.g. suppliers, customers, employees or other persons) can sustainably prevent financial and image damage.
In principle, reports can be submitted via an internal reporting office, such as the whistleblower system, or via an external office, such as government bodies. Accordingly, it makes particular sense to set up an internal whistleblowing office in order to be able to respond to grievances internally at an early stage. The use of professional software enables compliance with the legal requirements for a whistleblowing system.
On December 16, 2022, the German Bundestag passed the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) for this purpose. In addition, the preceding EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of whistleblowers of the EU Parliament already came into force in 2019.
Implementing the Whistleblower Protection Act with antares CIRS
The protection and thus the anonymity of whistleblowers plays a central role in the anonymous reporting system antares CIRS. This is implemented, for example, by not storing login data so that the data cannot be traced back by the company.
Functions of the Critical Incident Reporting System:
- Automated translation.
- Adding suggestions for improvement already possible in the report form.
- Overview of all received, commented, published and deleted reports for the responsible administrator.
- Notification, for example, by e-mail to authorised agents when a new report has been received.
- Sending a query URL to the author after sending the CIRS case report to view the status and outcome.
- View CIRS reports and report CIRS cases in the start portal.
- Connection of further modules (analysis, reporting, planning) as required is possible without any problems.
How does a whistleblower protection system work?
The process begins with a violation by one or more persons involved in the company (e.g. employees or business partners). This incident is observed by another person and then reported anonymously via the internal reporting office or the whistleblower protection system.
After an initial check by the processor, the information is passed on to management or divisional management. These initiate an appropriate internal investigation and discuss measures. After considering proposals, a final decision is made, which is reported back to the anonymous whistleblower.
What does the Whistleblower Protection Act regulate?
The Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) serves as the national implementation of the EU directives. The German government let the deadline for implementation lapse and an investigation by the EU Commission was initiated. The new law on the protection of whistleblowers will therefore in any case be implemented promptly in Germany and become binding for most companies, municipalities and public institutions.
To whom is the Whistleblower Protection Act likely to apply?
As the Whistleblower Protection Act implements the contents of the previous EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of whistleblowers of the EU Parliament, the requirements for the already defined areas of application are expected to apply.
What are the EU Whistleblowing Guidelines?
The whistleblower guidelines are intended to provide better protection for people who become aware of incidents such as data misuse and report them. This is intended to better protect individuals and the common good, as whistleblowers thus ensure greater transparency and the detection of criminal acts.
All EU member states must transpose the adopted directives into national law by December 17, 2021. In addition, sanctions or penalties are to be established for non-compliance with national law.
To whom does the EU Whistleblower Directive apply?
Whistleblower protection policies apply to anyone who meets the following conditions:
- Legal entities with more than 50 employees
- Legal entities under public law
- Public authorities
- Municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants
The Federal Ministry of Justice on the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG)
- Why are whistleblowers so important for companies and society?
- Failure to implement EU directives
- What should the Whistleblower Protection Act look like?
- What can a concrete implementation for companies look like?
Source: YouTube; Federal Ministry of Justice; Better protection for whistleblowers: bill creates comprehensive whistleblower protection system.
What is a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is also colloquially called a discloser. These individuals make protected information public and thus often expose abuses or illegal activities such as data misuse or human rights violations. In most cases, whistleblowers put themselves in an unpleasant position, as they must expect serious consequences such as dismissal or criminal charges.
What is meant by the term "compliance"?
The term "compliance" is understood to mean adherence to rules and laws. In the area of companies, this often also means compliance with internally established guidelines. The aim is to avert risks and protect employees and the company. In some cases, compliance violations can result in far-reaching penalties.
What are the benefits of a whistleblower system?
- Early detection of grievances
- Avoidance of reputational damage
- Reduction of the risk for a financial loss
- Detection of improvement potentials
- Strengthening trust with the public
What is the aim of the Whistleblower Directive/Directive (EU) 2019/1937?
Better enforcement of EU law through uniform minimum standards. These are intended to ensure a high level of protection and reporting possibilities and to adequately protect whistleblowers.
What are the reasons for introducing a Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG)?
There are a variety of reasons for establishing uniform laws. These include:
- Whistleblowers help protect the public interest.
- Damage can be limited through prevention. People who are involved in public or private organizations usually notice violations early on.
- EU member states have different rules so far, affecting cross-border issues.
- A guarantee of minimum standards to improve law enforcement both nationally and internationally.
- and much more...
What are the requirements for "internal reporting channels" according to Directive (EU) 2019/1937?
- The confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower must be maintained.
- After a period of seven days following receipt of the report, the whistleblower must receive confirmation.
- Designation of an impartial person or department responsible for follow-up.
- Implementation of follow-up measures.
- An appropriate time frame for feedback.
- Reporting channels must be possible in written and oral form.
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