What is a committee for examining whistleblowers' reports?
A committee for examining whistleblowers' reports is the body that receives, records, and checks the validity of reports made by whistleblowers. Its tasks include taking up follow-up actions, as well as prevent future violations. It is the committee where whistleblowers make reports through secure reporting channels. The committee should also ensure the anonymity of the whistleblower.
The committee can be created by appointing its members from among the employees. It is also possible to entrust the duties of the committee to an external company.
Discussions on the effectiveness of the internal committee
The appointment of committee members from among the employees of the organization remains the subject of discussion. The main doubts are its effectiveness and neutrality.
Within an organization, it is naturally more difficult to be impartial about reports of violations. Whistleblowers are sometimes treated with hostility, which is not conducive to reporting. In many cases, reporting a violation to an internal committee may create a conflict of interest. An example of such a situation is reporting a violation against a committee member or superiors. Another problem is the possibility of reporting a violation by the committee member himself. From this perspective, to remain neutral, it is necessary to establish several independent committees or an extensive system of analyzing applications by the committee. The functioning of the internal committees also creates a confidentiality problem, as the larger the group of people involved in setting up the reporting system, the less anonymous the actual reporting becomes.
The obligated organization is also not indifferent to personnel changes among employees who are members of the committee. In the event of personal changes in the committee, the obligated organization must appoint another person, again exposing the whistleblower to the loss of anonymity. The organization also has a duty to ensure that the previous member of the committee maintains confidentiality as to the information held, which may be difficult to obtain in practice.
To ensure the proper functioning of the internal committee regular inspections are also required.
An alternative to an internal committee
Entrusting the function of the committee to an external company might be an atractive way to avoid the above-mentioned problems. Examination of the reports by an entity unrelated to the organization eliminates conflicts of interest, as the reports of whistle-blowers do not concern committee members or their superiors in any way. The obligated organization, when outsourcing the tasks of the committee, does not have to take care of confidentiality and employee rotation - these obligations rest with the external company.
Given the potential problems, delegating the directive obligations outside the obligated organization seems to be a healthy balance for interests, guarantees compliance with the requirements, and provides convenience.
WeMoral offers its clients support in the process of implementing the WeMoral system and in handling whistleblowers' reports thanks to cooperation with specialists from SPG Legal Sawicki i Wspólnicy sp.k.