This publication highlights best practice principles of developing effective internal whistleblowing systems to help organisations implement these systems.
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Whistleblowers are important players in national and European efforts to detect and prevent corruption, which costs the EU hundreds of billions of euros every year. Their importance is regularly illustrated by the scandals they uncover, everything from industrial-scale procurement fraud to money laundering. Protecting whistleblowers from unfair treatment, including retaliation, discrimination or disadvantage, can empower people to report wrongdoing, which increases the likelihood that wrongdoing is prevented, uncovered and penalised.
In 2019, the European Union adopted the Whistleblower Protection Directive, and to understand how well EU countries are protecting whistleblowers, Transparency International reviewed the whistleblower protection laws of 20 member states against key requirements provided and best practices.
- It was discovered that 19 of the 20 countries reviewed do not comply with the directive.
- None of the 20 countries reviewed fully meets best practices.
To ensure that whistleblowers are effectively protected and enabled to speak up about wrongdoing – so that such wrongdoing can be detected and addressed promptly – EU member states should:
- Amend their legislation to ensure compliance with the Whistleblower Protection Directive.
- Use the opportunity to review the areas where their laws do not follow best practice.
- Ensure that the legislative process is prompt and transparent and involves all key stakeholders, including civil society.