Sunday, October 25, 2009

Protecting a whistleblower

A question I am often asked is – how do you protect a whistleblower?

Maintaining confidentiality is always the best alternative, but it is often impractical. A great summary of the practical problems that arise with maintaining confidentiality, along with practical alternatives has been prepared by the New South Wales Ombudsman.

A summary of these practical examples, being the minimum steps to be taken in all cases are:

  • Supporting the whistleblower;
  • Providing guidance to the whistleblower of what is expected of them;
  • Provide the whistleblower with information about how the disclosure will be dealt with;
  • Responsibility should be given to someone senior to make sure it is dealt with appropriately and expeditiously;
  • Conduct a prompt investigation; and
  • Respond appropriately.

For more detail on these practical alternatives as well as for when the identity of the whistleblower is or is not likely to become known, click here for the article from the New South Wales Ombudsman.

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