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01/06/17

Whistling While They Work 2 – benchmarks for assessing whistleblowing practices

As part of the 'Whistling While they Work 2’ project, a world-first ranking of the strength of whistleblowing processes across Australia’s business and government sectors led by Professor A J Brown from Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy, the Strength of Organisational Whistleblowing Processes - Analysis from Australia report has been released.

The report is based on results from 634 organisations across 18 industry groups and public sectors and provides the first benchmarks for organisations to assess strengths and weaknesses in their whistleblowing processes across 5 key areas including incident tracking, support strategy, risk assessment, dedicated support and remediation.

The research shows that most participating organisations had systems for recording and tracking wrongdoing concerns, but:

  • 23% of organisations had no particular system in place nor any particular support strategy for staff who raise wrongdoing concerns; and
  • over 80% did not have processes for providing compensation or restitution to whistleblowers if they suffer detrimental outcomes, and

Professor Brown has also commented that:

  • the gaps between better and worse sectors were large and real;
  • while government institutions performed better in the analysis, it is clear that there are still shortcomings; and
  • similarly, in private industry, the finance and insurance sector have clearly been making stronger efforts than other industries, but the variations show there is plenty for different companies and sectors to learn from each other, through better research and smarter benchmarking.

Whistling While They Work 2 involves Griffiths University, Australian National University, University of Sydney and Victoria University of Wellington and is supported by the Australian Research Council and 23 partners.

See also Griffith University media release dated 3 May 2017 and the Whistling While they Work 2 project site.

ASIC, one of the partners supporting the project, has welcomed and strongly endorsed the second phase of the project and encouraged companies, officers and directors to support the groundbreaking research.  See ASIC media release dated 3 May 2017.

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