Effective Whistleblower Programmes and Their Impact on Ethics, Culture and Conduct
In Risk & Compliance magazine’s expert forum, FTI Consulting’s Wayne Anthony and Piers Rake discuss the importance of whistleblower programmes and how to ensure whistleblower confidentiality while conducting an effective investigation with Novartis’ Robert Sikellis and Withers’ Meriel Schindler and James Hockin.
This is an extract from Risk & Compliance, from their Apr-Jun 2021 issue. The entire publication can be read here: https://riskandcompliancemagazine.com/effective-whistleblower-programmes-and-their-impact-on-ethics-culture-and-conduct-apr21
"Sikellis: Could you explain why having a whistleblower programme has become so important for companies?
Schindler: Without proper protection and systems for whistleblowers, companies lose the early warning signal when a whistleblower spots that something is not right. The whistleblower charity ‘Protect’ was founded after the Clapham rail crash, the collapse of BCCI and the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise. In each case, employees had known that something was amiss but been too frightened to come forward. Indeed, in the case of Enron, Sherron Watkins wrote to the chief executive, Ken Lay, raising concerns about accounting irregularities in the firm’s financial statements and concerns that he was being deceived by several high-level subordinates. Instead of investigating, he buried her letter and inquired about how he could get her fired months before the company’s collapse. It is essential to have a culture backed up by proper policies and training to encourage people to come forward when they believe that there is wrongdoing. That is vital for the health and success of a business as it reduces risk exposure, including avoiding whistleblowing claims from those who blow the whistle but are retaliated against for doing so."
This article has been reprinted with kind permission from Risk & Compliance magazine.