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From: Business Leader
By: Alice Cumming
November 2, 2022

NAVEX, integrated risk and compliance management software, announces the findings of its 2022 Regional Whistleblowing Hotline Benchmark Report.

The regional report contains European findings of its global survey which tracked and analysed organisational compliance trends. Based on more than 1.37m global incident management reports made to nearly 3,500 organisations in 2021, the regional report measures whistleblowing accounts from organisations headquartered across Europe.

Notably, the EU Whistleblowing Directive has had significant impact across Europe with the regulation shaping whistleblowing activities across the European Union.

The EU Whistleblowing Directive

The regional benchmark findings identify the impact of the EU Whistleblowing Directive in the run-up to December 2021, as the Directive went into effect. Initial findings show that reporting volumes across Europe remained static at 0.5 reports per 100 employees.

However, when removing UK data from the equation, Europe saw a steady increase in reporting volume in the last three years – from 0.4 reports per 100 employees in 2019 to 0.6 reports in 2021.

The introduction of the Directive across EU member states has clearly been successful in raising awareness of whistleblowing and driving increased reporting.

Although the EU directive does not apply to the UK following Brexit, there are reasons for UK businesses to take note. For example, UK businesses that operate in both the UK and EU are still subject to member state transpositions of the directive. Additionally, the UK is developing whistleblowing legislation of its own, which is believed to be aligned with the Directive.

Employees in organisations headquartered in Europe take longer to report compared to North America. European reporters take a median of 47 days to voice their concerns, whereas North American reporters have the shortest time at 21 days.

The time it takes for people to report concerns in Europe suggests that more needs to be done in Europe to encourage a speak-up culture where reporting is done right away.

Digital intake continues to be the primary reporting method. 39% of organisations in Europe saw the majority of their reports submitted via web intake channels. Reports from telephone hotlines grew across Europe, with it representing the primary intake method for 27% of organisations.

Jump in telephonic reporting whilst inquiry rate remains low. With the return to in-person working, there is a greater opportunity to witness and experience potential issues.

This is reflected in a growth in telephonic reporting, the NAVEX report finds a significant rise in the use of telephonic reporting by European organisations. In 2021, the number rose from 21% to 27% of all reports. Notably, employees are choosing to report an allegation rather than inquire first.

Jan Stappers, EU Whistleblowing Specialist at NAVEX, commented: “Risk and compliance professionals continue to face challenges in adapting to a post-pandemic world with significant changes to working patterns and changing whistleblowing regulations.

“They need to be prepared to reflect these changes within the workplace. As the Directive gets transposed across Europe, risk and compliance officers in Europe and beyond need to be prepared to comply with the regulations, encourage a positive speak-up culture, grow trust and use knowledge from reports to continuously improve internal reporting processes and awareness.”