What is whistleblowing? And why is it important?

What is whistleblowing? And why is it important?

July 12, 2023

We talk constantly about whistleblowing and its benefits. Whistleblowing is often linked to leaked state secrets or money laundering scandals, but can it be more than that? In this blog post, we take a step back and start from the beginning: What is whistleblowing? And why is it important?

What does whistleblowing mean?

Whistleblowing means reporting irregularities that occur at a company, an authority or the like. The person in question has been or is often employed by the organization in question and has, through his work, discovered the irregularity.

The whistleblowers who get the most attention are often scandal-ridden, which does not always give a fair picture of whistleblowing. It is not always about leaking state secrets, but can also be minor irregularities, inaccuracies or illegalities. The English term whistleblowing or whistleblower is often used in Sweden as well.

New law on whistleblowing 2021

On 17 December 2021, Sweden received a new whistleblower law (SFS 2021: 890), formally called Lag om skydd för personer som rapporterar om missförhållanden (The Act on the Protection of Persons Who Report Abuse). The law is based on an EU directive on whistleblowing, which Sweden has since adapted to Swedish law. Sweden has had a whistleblower law since 2016 for the protection of whistleblowers, but this has now been expanded and replaced with the new law.

Several Member States have been delayed in implementing the EU Whistleblowing Directive, but more and more people are now implementing their laws and if your company is multinational, you can monitor this here.

What does the new law mean?

The Whistleblower Act provides more far-reaching protection for whistleblowers at the same time as it places demands on both public and private organizations with regard to the implementation of reporting channels. In Sweden, companies with more than 250 employees need to have whistleblower channels in place by 17 July 2022, while companies with 50-250 employees need to have these in place by 17 December 2023.

In other countries, however, these limits may be stricter, with Portugal, for example, where all companies with more than 50 employees need reporting channels in June 2022.

Why is whistleblowing important?

The benefits of whistleblowing are many and undoubted. Experts agree that whistleblowing and encouraging reporting not only contribute to increased profitability, but also increased well-being and productivity and reduced fraud.

Did you know, for example, that a typical organization loses 5% of its turnover to fraud, and that companies with a whistleblower system have a 50% lower loss as a result of fraud?

Also read: The Benefits of Whistleblowing

Things to keep in mind with the new whistleblower law

As a company, you should first and foremost think about how you want to structure your whistleblower system. What should it look like? Who will receive cases? How to inform about the system? What do we really need?

It is also important to implement a whistleblowing policy in accordance with the Whistleblower Act, both to inform about how you as a whistleblower can use the channel, for what type of irregularities it can be used for and who is the recipient of cases, but also as an internal tool for approach for case management.

Not keen on writing your own policy from scratch? Visslan has developed a standardized whistleblower policy that works with our system. Contact us for more information about this.

Tip! ISO 37002 on “Whistleblowing Management Systems” provides effective and concrete approaches to take maximum advantage of your whistleblower system. Read more here.

Did not get answers to your questions?

You can always contact us with questions about the whistleblower law, whistleblower system or whistleblower policy. We would also like to hear more about your needs and wishes to see if our system can suit you.

Questions about the blog post or whistleblowing?
We are happy to help. Contact us for a free consultation, trial period or more information. You can also try Visslan for free for 14 days.

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