A whistleblower scheme aims to ensure a more open workplace and communication between employees. However, there are some things to bear in mind before reporting a case. Below, we go into more detail with them.
Know the scheme and the case before you report
The first thing you should do is to be sure about the whistleblower scheme at your workplace. There should be clear guidelines for employees who want to report problems at work.
You need to be sure about your workplace's whistleblower scheme to avoid breaching regulations and policies.
In addition, the regulations may also contain useful information so that you know exactly how to report a problem. This may include the difference between whistleblowing and a normal complaint, or explain what the procedure is when whistleblowing.
You should also decide whether you want to report the problem verbally or in writing - both of which will be anonymous when the final report is made. You should also find out which member of staff to contact - whether it is the union representative or someone else in the department.
Consider the seriousness of the matter
The above-mentioned are a sample of reasons why it is a good idea to read through the scheme and guidelines before reporting a problem or an employee.
That said, it's also important to be sure that it's actually a whistleblower case you're dealing with. For example, if it is about people who have broken the law or violated safety rules, then it is most likely a whistleblower case.
If, on the other hand, you think your colleague is behaving badly or you feel you have too many tasks, then it is a matter to be taken to the union representitive, HR or your immediate manager, rather than being reported as a whistleblower case.
You can typically tell if a case is whistleblowing if it involves multiple people or is in the public interest. However, it should be noted that not all cases should be seen as whistleblower cases, so you should always read up on the regulations and the scheme in your organisation. This ensures that the case is dealt with properly and does not end up in the wrong place.
You are a witness
Another important point when it comes to whistleblowing is that you are only a witness. This means that you have only seen and observed the error or fraud that you want to report. In addition, it means that you shouldn't investigate the matter further.
If you start digging into the case and investigating things and people, the worst that can happen is that the case is not taken up at all. You may also find yourself breaking regulations and laws, for example GDPR, by getting information that was not reserved for you. As a general rule, you should, therefore, be a fly on the wall, simply reporting the matter and drawing attention to the problem.
Ideally, as a whistleblower, you should be able to provide as many details as possible - this does not mean that you have to investigate the matter further. If you discover an irregular incident at work, you can make a note of what is going on. This way you can give a concrete description of the event - you also avoid fumbling with details when reporting it.
Once you have the details in place, you can then go to the relevant staff with the report so they can take matters into their own hands.
Take advantage of the whistleblower scheme
Always remember that you have the whistleblower scheme on your side.
If you have to report an incident, you must do so as set out in the regulations. Depending on the size of your workplace, the systems to be used will also vary.
As I said, you should aim to include as many details as possible about a case - without having to investigate it yourself. That way, you avoid having to get involved in one way or another.
The whistleblower scheme helps to ensure that you can report an incident anonymously. It also ensures that you cannot be the victim of a retaliatory action by the parties involved. By being supported by the whistleblower scheme, more employees will hopefully report illegal incidents they witness. These can also be ethical and moral dilemmas, which are better to be reported to the whistleblower scheme rather than letting it go.
Having a whistleblower scheme ensures more open communication in the workplace - and transparency between employees. Having such a system is a proactive initiative to avoid fraud and administrative errors in the workplace. Therefore, it is a sensible system to put in place in the company so that everyone feels safe and dares to report whistleblowing.
When you know your wewhistleblower scheme, you'll also know exactly how to report any concerns. This can be to an email, a phone number or in the traditional way with a post box and physical letters. Again, it is important to know which method your workplace uses so that there are no misunderstandings.
Hopefully we've raised the awareness of the principles of whistleblowing so that you dare to report a case if you should witness an incident in your company.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.