Making speaking up easy
Whistleblowers often suffer significant emotional distress. This can be as a result of the misconduct they are reporting, fear of reprisal after reporting issues and potentially even the experience of reporting it. That’s why it is crucial to make the process of reporting as easy, safe and convenient as possible for a reporter.
We understand that it can be hard to speak up and with that, sometimes the biggest challenge in doing so is taking the first step. Our Speak Up Integrity Hotline program allows reporters to submit a report through various channels when they have experienced or observed any wrongdoing within their organisation. We take a trauma-informed approach when dealing with reporters, conduct a triage and assessment process with every report received and assist our clients in managing reports within our secure online platform.
Read more about our process of taking protected disclosures and reports generally in this article.
Integrity is key when taking reports
Our trained Case Officers take each report seriously and act with the strictest of confidence, irrespective of whether the report is a protected disclosure and involves a whistleblower. We offer reporters the option to stay anonymous and offer different solutions depending on the channel they chose to submit a report. No matter which channel the report is received on, our Case Officers follow our trauma-informed approach.
When taking a report, we first ensure we receive consent from the reporter to do so after informing them about the potential outcomes and implications of making a report. This includes informing them of the process of submitting the reports and Core Integrity’s role in receiving reports on behalf of the organisation.
Our experts triage and assess every report we receive. During this phase, our Case Officers converse with the reporter, where necessary, to assure all the relevant information has been obtained. Our Case Officers then prepare a Summary Report in relation to the report. This confidential assessment assists organisations to take appropriate and effective action in a timely manner.
Here at Core Integrity, we provide multiple reporting channels to ensure that individuals can make a whistleblower report in the way they feel most comfortable. Considering our reporters’ location, literacy, working environments, and access to communications, we offer the following different channels.
Depending on our client’s requirements, our case officers are available 24/7 or during office hours. During the agreed times, our case officers are on stand-by to receive incoming calls to our hotlines.
When speaking to reporters, our case officers engage with the reporter in a way that lets them know that their voice is being heard. We want people who are speaking up to feel they are doing the right thing. When receiving phone reports, all our conversations with reporters are conducted using a trauma-informed approach to avoid re-traumatisation for the reporter. In addition, we explain our role and that we operate on behalf of the client. We explain to the reporter that they can choose to remain anonymous or disclose their details.
Online Platform / QR code
Reporters can access their organisation’s reporting form on our secure online reporting form using a QR code or weblink.
This is the most popular method for making a report, as it allows the individual to take their time in submitting their report and can upload documents that might be relevant to the issue being raised. Information on the online platform ensures that reporters are walked through the process and have the option to either stay anonymous or choose to disclose their personal details.
The online form is customisable with the option to include specific organisation related questions and a custom introductory message.
For a report received via email, we acknowledge the report and ask for consent of the reporter to share their personal details (and information contained in the report) with the client, as well as their consent to upload their report to our secure online platform. If the reporter were to object to this and choose to stay anonymous, we are able to take a different approach. Reports will be transcribed into the online platform without including any personal details. Any details that might have been disclosed in the email, and which the reporter does not wish to be passed onto to the organisation, remain with Core Integrity and are not disclosed to the client organisation.
It is only on a rare occasion for reports to be submitted via postal mail. We understand that some individuals have a preference for writing letters, so we make sure everyone has access to a reporting method that suits their preference. Like all other submissions, we handle mailed reports with the strictest of confidence and ensure that before we action the report, we communicate with the reporter (if possible) to obtain consent to upload the transcribed report, submit their personal details, and submit the report to the organisation.
Our secure online platform serves as the one central location where reports are recorded and further actioned. Depending on the channel a report has been submitted through, reports can be uploaded or transcribed into the platform (always with consent of the reporter).
The platform allows two-way confidential and, if required, anonymous communication between the reporter and Core Integrity and/or their organisation. The platform also provides Core Integrity the ability to communicate with the client organisation’s reviewers about the specific reports.
Triage and Assessment
Our case officers conduct an immediate initial assessment of protected disclosures received via the different reporting channels. Using a Risk Prioritisation Matrix and work done as part of the implementation with our client, we are able to determine quickly if there is an immediate risk and act accordingly. We respond to the reporter and acknowledge the receipt of their report in a timely manner.
Once the Summary Report is completed by Core Integrity, we submit it to the client for their review and consideration through our secure online platform. The client’s reviewers can view the report and are able, and encouraged, to communicate with Core Integrity via the platform, email, or phone. All communication using the online platform is retained against the specific report.
Handing over reports
Core Integrity’s role is to receive, triage and assess all reports. After providing a Summary Report, it is upon the organisation to take action and keep the reporter updated about the progress
We encourage the reporter to log into the online platform regularly to review any comments or questions. Reviewers from the organisation can submit updates in the comments for the reporter. If the reporters have additional questions or information, they are able to submit these queries onto the online platform. This allows both Core Integrity and the client to view the queries and respond appropriately
The next steps
The process of managing whistleblower disclosures or any other reports of wrongdoing or misconduct doesn’t stop after taking the report. While many reports are resolved easily, some reports can lead to a workplace investigation or may point to people or security risks that need to be assessed further. In addition, there can be underlying cultural problems in organisations emerging that need to be addressed.
Core Integrity offers a range of support services for organisations that need assistance in detecting issues, handling incidents and building a culture of integrity.
If you would like to learn more about the reporting process and how we can tailor a program to your organisational needs, please contact us.