The annual Safecall Whistleblowing Benchmark Report is due out this month.

Each year this benchmarking report produces some interesting research insights, and this year is no different.

The results can best be summed up as: a return to pre-Covid normal for some; systems and people under pressure for others.

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Whistleblowing Rates of Engagement

Whereas some sectors have experienced a return to levels of whistleblowing similar to those pre-Covid, there are key sectors (Healthcare +36%, Not for profit +33%, Retail +25% and Local government +10%) that are seeing a huge increase in the rate of reports being received.

This reflects a response to the return to workplace environments, with those sectors feeling the lingering effects of Covid, as well as current societal and economic shifts, being hit hardest. However, others – banking and finance for instance – that have always been heavily regulated by whistleblowing legislation are seemingly unaffected.

Rise in dishonest behaviour

As we correctly predicted last October, the unfavorable economic circumstances and reduction in living standards is having a perceptible knock-on effect on, with a +3% rise in reported dishonest behaviour.

+2% rise in corruption reports

+1% rise in fraud reports

+1% rise in bribery reports

Sharp rise in some HR reports

Our whistleblowing reporting systems have also experienced a sharp rise in reported Racism and Harassment, both +5%.

These figures can be interpreted in two ways: either as representing a rise in racism and harassment itself, or as an indicator that racism and harassment is no longer being tolerated.

Changing priorities

The world has changed dramatically over the past few years, and we are starting to see these changes reflected in our whistleblowing data. General whistleblowing reports about organisations' 'reputation' damage (-12%) are being replaced by reports of policy wrongdoing (+8%), environmental wrongdoing (+2%) and data protection issues (+2%).

Perhaps these results reflect the changing priorities of the whistleblower?

Are employees becoming more resolute in using whistleblowing services to challenge wrongdoing affecting, not just their business or organisation, but also themselves and society at large?

Telephone wins out over web reports

Telephone reports are 11% more likely to be substantiated, and that's because 55% of all whistleblowing telephone hotline reports are named.

Telephone hotline conversations often involve a higher level of trust on the part of the whistleblower - they're willing to be more open. In addition, a friendly, professional telephone call handler can help draw out more information by engaging in direct conversation, rather than relying on an initial submission with no further contact. Our whistleblower hotline services offer a perfect balance between rigour, professionalism, and humanity – engendering trust with the whistleblower improves the quality of the report received.

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