Our experience is that one-size does not fit all when implementing these case types (that’s ok, Workpro is easily adaptable). However, whistleblower cases have common characteristics – shared here to help any organisation considering its own approach to this issue.
But first, why implement a whistleblower process at all?
The new EU Whistleblower Protection Directive requires all public and private organisations in the EU with more than 50 employees to establish secure reporting channels for concerns.
The Mid-Staffordshire Inquiry (UK NHS) showed how important it is to enable staff to raise comments and concerns, and how dangerous it can be when a toxic culture prevents them from doing so. The role of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians was created in the NHS in response.
But this is not just an issue for the NHS. A CIPD report (February 2020) showed that 24% of employees think issues like bullying and harassment are swept under the carpet in their organisation, despite the impact of the #MeToo movement. The CIPD is calling for employers to encourage a speak up culture with a clear, well-publicised complaints procedure, so staff know how to raise concerns.
A customer in the nuclear power industry has a similar case type, called Employee Concerns, which allows employees to raise Safety Concerns. This case type enables employees to raise concerns when they do not feel able to go through their line manager.
Managing these cases is a challenge. Responding quickly, sensitively, and above all confidentially is vital.
Whistleblowing case types need separate management from standard complaints or grievances.
Common to them all are:
Anonymity – The complainant should not need to be named. Workpro is case-centric, meaning all case information and documentation is stored against the case record. (CRM systems on the other hand are contact-centric, meaning all case information is stored against an individual’s name, obviously not suitable where anonymity is key.)
Restricted case access – Only authorised users, those who are essential to the case, can see it. Workpro enables you to set user permissions right down to case level, so search or reporting will only show cases to users who have the relevant privileges.
Categorisation/Outcomes – Categorise the types of concerns for reporting purposes, without revealing any personal data and maintaining confidentiality. Workpro allows categorisation data to be collected if appropriate and if it does not identify the individual (i.e. industry, organisation).
Separate reporting to other case types – Keep everything to do with this case type separate to your other case types even if they are all stored on the same system. You can have multiple case types in Workpro, each with its own workflow, and all areas in Workpro can be locked down by user.
Online form – Raising a complaint by email is not always appropriate as it could lead to the identification of the whistleblower. An online form can be added to Workpro to facilitate anonymous submission of concerns and evidence.
Identify actions. Reminder tasks in Workpro keep things on track and ensure identified actions are followed through.
Learn from cases –You can use reporting to pull it together and put it to use.
Robust security – The ability to exchange and store data securely is key. A file management tool is also included for the deletion of case data according to your agreed policies. Workpro encrypts data at rest and in transit.
Whistleblowing cases can accumulate a mass of evidence, reports and correspondence. A Workpro case management system can help you store and track it all. Case data is protected with robust security, including data encryption.
We can help you implement a whistleblowing case type quickly and easily. As we mentioned, Workpro is very adaptable! And our experienced team is on hand to help you implement the whistleblowing process in the right way for your organisation.
Workpro software provides case management for complaints casework, information requests and HR cases. Specialist versions include built-in standard case types, pre-configured with best practice workflow for that casework area.