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Quality of the reports

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In Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland, almost half of the incoming reports are relevant and substantiated, i.e. they actually indicate a compliance-related instance of wrongdoing or misconduct. In France, according to the online survey, the figure is higher than 60 per cent. Whistleblowing systems are thus an effective instrument for uncovering unlawful or unethical actions, and also make a crucial contribution to protecting a company’s reputation.

The in-depth analysis reveals factors that statistically influence the proportion of relevant reports. For example, the proportion of relevant reports is lower in the general reporting channels (personal visits, letters/faxes, e-mail and telephone) and in the web-based reporting channels.

A frequently voiced reservation about whistleblowing systems is the fear that they may be misused by whistleblowers, for example to make false or defamatory reports that are intended to harm individual employees or the company. However, the results of the survey show that only five per cent of the reports in Switzerland and almost seven per cent in Great Britain can be classified as abusive. In France (almost 11 per cent) and Germany (12 per cent), on the other hand, abuse of the whistleblowing system is much more frequent. The result for Switzerland is within the fluctuation range of the last Whistleblowing Report (3 per cent). The statistical evaluation makes it clear that the ability to submit reports anonymously has no influence on the proportion of abusive reports.

However, there are also reports that, while not abusive should not have been submitted via the whistleblowing system. In the Swiss companies surveyed, for instance, 48 per cent of the reports proved to be irrelevant. In Germany and Great Britain the figures are slightly lower at just under 41 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively. In the French companies, however, the proportion of non-relevant reports is only 26 per cent. Examples of such reports include various internal company problems such as individual complaints about management style or technical operational problems. However, these reports, which are not relevant from a compliance point of view, generally prove to be unproblematic in terms of operating the whistleblowing system and can be forwarded to the relevant contact points (e.g. the HR department or building services).