2. Language provision
As you might expect, the more languages that will be covered by the service, the more the solution might cost. This reflects the additional costs that may be incurred by things like translation, on-call interpreters, multi-lingual operators and the set-up of multi-language online reporting options.
Where additional translation is required (eg. translation of submitted reports into another language), an additional cost may be incurred. Make sure you find out what these additional charges might be if they are not included as standard.
3. Supplier coverage
The addition of suppliers to your hotline service is likely to affect the factors listed above and will therefore influence pricing. While it might be tempting to control costs by excluding third parties from your hotline service, we advise our customers to consider this issue carefully.
Implementing a whistleblowing hotline can help you improve the ethical standards within your own business. But this may count for little if it does not extend to your supply chain – particularly if your products or services are supplied by a third party.
Recent high-profile cases in the retail sector have shown that ethical issues within the supply chain can severely impact brand reputation. Learn more about Third-Party Risk management.
4. Quantity and standard of reporting channels
It’s important to think carefully about the reporting channels you want to make available. While more reporting channels might demand a slightly larger investment, it is also likely to result in more reports and therefore more detailed, actionable risk intelligence.
Look at your employee profiles to gain a clearer understanding of their various working environments, locations, literacy and access to communications. Map the profiles to the most appropriate types of reporting channels to make it easy for your employees to report wrongdoing. It may be helpful to map out scenarios using various profiles to test your thinking.
A key component of your hotline’s effectiveness is the awareness programme you put in place to support it. As part of this, you should communicate not only its existence, but also how and when it should be used, and what will happen after a report has been made.
Vendors should be able to provide advice on how to promote your hotline, and some may also offer promotional materials or templates to help get you started.
These marketing materials may be free of charge or priced as an added extra – make sure this is clarified when you receive pricing from the provider.
6. Incident Management software
Before your hotline begins receiving reports, you’ll need to think about how your organisation will log and process the data your hotline generates.
For larger organisations or those who may receive a high volume of reports, a comprehensive Incident Management System might be the answer and is likely to require additional investment.
Specialist software will simplify reporting, allowing you to assign investigative actions to colleagues and record outcomes.
More importantly, it will provide a clear audit trail of all activity relating to a report and keep your sensitive whistleblowing data secure.
Incident Management systems are often overlooked in favour of cheaper, generic alternatives (such as Microsoft Excel). However, it is essential to weigh potential savings against data privacy and security obligations – particularly when dealing with highly confidential information about your business and its employees.
7. Training and implementation support
Some vendors may offer training to help you get the most out of your hotline - particularly where software has also been supplied – as well as implementation and launch support.
Make sure the provider specifies what training and support comes ‘as standard’, and which (if any) is priced additionally.
Other cost considerations
You may be able to secure a better deal from a provider by signing up to a longer-term contract. The length of the contract is likely to influence the size of any discount.
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you need when entering into negotiations with a hotline provider. Conversations are likely to expose new needs and requirements you hadn’t considered, so be prepared to consider a broader solution than you may have originally anticipated.
However, make sure your provider suggests a solution that reflects your specific needs and meets your overall objectives.
The cost of implementing a whistleblower hotline can be a key differentiator between providers, but rarely tells the full story. To find out about our service, please visit our hotline reporting and intake page.