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Legal
Whistleblowing

Whistleblowing guidelines: what you need to know about ISO 37002

At the end of July 2021, the International Organisation for Standardisation published ISO 37002:2021 (ISO 37002 Whistleblowing management systems - Guidelines). This standard is a guide for the effective implementation of an internal whistleblowing and  management system related to this. Together with previously published standards (in particular ISO 37302), it forms the first global standard to fully address whistleblowing. The new ISO 37002 provides guidance for establishing and maintaining an effective whistleblowing system based on the principles of trust, impartiality and protection. The standard can therefore prove to be a very useful guide for employers in establishing and using internal whistleblowing systems in accordance with legislative requirements (the EU Whistleblowing Directive and the forthcoming Czech Whistleblower Protection Act). However, unlike the legislation, it does not focus so much on whistleblowers, but targets organisations directly. It seeks to minimise the negative impact of any possible wrongdoing. According to ISO 37002, the important elements are: information securityensuring an anonymous dialogue with the whistleblowerprotection of whistleblowers The FaceUp platform is fully compliant with all current legislative requirements and the recommendations of the new ISO 37002 standard. What can ISO 37002 help you with?While the legislative requirements generally tell you what you need to do, ISO 37002 provides very specific and detailed instructions on how to do it. The standard can be implemented in any private, public or not-for-profit organisation, regardless of size or business sector. It is a broadly applicable standard - it emphasises consideration of the context, needs and expectations of the organisation and adapts the whistleblowing management system to these actualities.  According to ISO 37002, you should devote plentyt of time and attention to the  preparation and planning of an internal whistleblowing system, from securing all resources, allocating responsibilities, determining how to communicate through an ethical line or other whistleblowing channel, to documentation, etc. The standard sets out the content of the obligations for employers, defining individual roles, responsibilities and authorities. A substantial part of the standard is devoted to the actual process of managing the whistleblowing notifications received, which is naturally the most important part of the whole whistleblowing management system. On the other hand, the standard also emphasises the importance of other consecutive follow-up  (e.g. planning or subsequent evaluation of the effectiveness of the system).  The whole whistleblowing management process is divided into several key steps: Receipt of the notification of the violation,Assessment of the notification ,Management of  the whistleblowing - this  also includes providing protection and support to whistleblowers,Closing the case.According to ISO 37002, it is also necessary to focus on assessing the effectiveness of the internal whistleblowing system and to address its monitoring, analysis and subsequent evaluation. The recommendation is to conduct regular internal audits, the findings of which should help improve the whistleblowing management system. At the same time, it foresees that the system can be adapted at any time during its use to better suit the needs of your organisation and to be truly effective. Certification options and other standards for compliance management systemsAs stated directly in the title of the new ISO standard (Whistleblowing management systems - Guidelines), it is one of the so-called guidelines, i.e. standards of a more general nature, and therefore cannot be certified. However, you can certify your internal whistleblowing channel as part of a complete compliance management system according to ISO 37301 Compliance management systems - Requirements with guidance for use. In the context of whistleblowing, the (also certifiable) ISO 37001 Anti-bribery management systems standard, which deals with the protection against corrupt behaviour and establishes anti-corruption management systems, is also frequently referred to. Implementing these standards will ensure that your organisation's internal whistleblowing channel is truly effective and in line with all international standards. Interested in implementing ISO 37002 or any of the other ISO standards listed? We would be happy to explain the specific requirements and help you with the certification process. Let's talk. 
2022-03-21T09:40:05.238Z3 min read
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Legal
Whistleblowing

Who actually is a whistleblower?

Whistleblowers – who are they, and why will we hear more about them this year? A whistleblower, in its literal sense, is the one who blows the whistle. Not at a football match, but in a situation where they witness real-life unfair practices. Either as an employee, a customer, or a supplier. It can often concern corruption, but it can also be in situations where someone’s health or the environment is at risk. Whether ignorance, corruption, or something else leading to bad decisions resulting in accidents, damage to health and the environment, or even misappropriation of public finances. But whistleblowers don’t wait around the corner to catch someone in the act. It can be someone who accidentally witnessed injustice, and is struggling to decide, whether to come out with the truth or keep everything to themselves. Usually, the first ones to find out about such slips are employees who notice iniquities during their work that could cause difficulties for their employer or management, or stumble across information that suggests possible harm or threat to the public interest. Therefore, by reporting the wrongdoings, the whistleblower can protect the public interest. Unfortunately, this often puts both the professional and personal life of the whistleblower at risk. This fear of retaliation also becomes the main reason why people are afraid to report unfair practices. The general approach to protecting whistleblowers varies significantly in different jurisdictions. In France, for example, there is very little specific statutory protection for whistleblowers. However, the French National Commission for Data Protection and Liberties (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés) (CNIL) imposes a duty to protect those who make a complaint.  However, some jurisdictions have a unified approach to whistleblower protection. In Japan and the UK, for instance, a single law provides protection for whistleblowers in both the private and public sectors and covers complaints related to a broad range of misconduct. Protection for whistleblowers in other jurisdictions such as the US is set out in various sources, including: federal and state law and statutory and common law. European Union Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of whistleblowers came into force on 16 December 2019. EU member states now have until 2021 to incorporate the directive into their own national laws. FaceUp aims to be the tool that will help companies with adjusting to the whistleblowing protection law. It aims to ensure law compliance to the employer and offer support for employees, who can feel safe if they ever need to ‘blow the whistle’ to help uncover unfair practices at work or more.
2021-04-07T10:36:04.179Z2 min read
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