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World Whistleblower Day

Published: June 20, 2024

Since it became mandatory for employers to have an internal whistleblower channel, the employers using Lantero’s whistleblower channel have received over 2,500 reports in total. Municipal operations have three times as many reports compared to private operations. The introduction of the whistleblower law has not been without challenges, but we can see that many employers have greatly benefited from their whistleblower processes.

Thank you to all brave and wise individuals

June 23 is The World Whistleblower Day. With all the thousands of cases that have come in, we at Lantero want to take the opportunity to acknowledge and thank all the brave individuals who have taken the time and energy to report suspected misconduct. We also want to thank all the wise employers who take whistleblowing seriously and understand the benefits of a well-functioning whistleblower process.

Significant differences

Lantero has customers from both public and private sectors. We can note that public operations (largely municipalities) receive three times more reports compared to private operations. The reasons for this can be several:

  • Municipalities operate in many different areas
  • Municipalities are typically relatively large employers
  • Municipalities are major purchasers of both goods and services
  • Several municipalities are exposed to organized crime

But we also believe it may be due to many municipalities being very ambitious with their whistleblower channel. They have worked actively to make the channel known and encouraged its use when needed. Therefore, receiving many reports does not necessarily have to be a negative thing. It can be a sign that the employer is open to improving the operation.

The new whistleblower law is not without challenges

Compared to the previous whistleblower law, the new one is more comprehensive. This does not necessarily mean it is clearer. For example, the assessment of whether an incoming report falls under the whistleblower law or not should be based on several factors that are open to interpretation. What does it mean that a case has “public interest” to be investigated? If it cannot be conclusively determined that the whistleblower received the information in a “work-related context,” should it not be classified as a whistleblower case? If a case has public interest, but the whistleblower is not covered by the whistleblower law’s protection, what is the employer’s responsibility then?

We believe that the key to answering these questions lies in the original purpose of the whistleblower law: To protect informants to encourage people to dare to report suspected irregularities. The law has not yet been extensively tested. This means there are still ambiguities.

Another challenge is the requirement for independence in the handling of incoming cases. A requirement that we think is entirely reasonable and central to whistleblower legislation. However, we often see that employers struggle to meet this requirement. Particularly for smaller employers, it is difficult to solve this with internal resources. It is therefore crucial to have well-formulated, anchored, and communicated routines from the start on how this should be handled. If a conflict of interest arises in the handling of a case, it should be simple, obvious, and well-anchored to bring in an external resource.

On an overall level, we can unfortunately state that our experience is that internal whistleblower channels have an important function to fulfill. A function that, in the short time since the new law became mandatory, has proven useful and valuable for many employers.

Good luck to all brave individuals and wise employers! The World Whistleblower Day is for you.