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Internal Whistleblowing Systems: Best Practice Principles for Public and Private Organisations

Whistleblowing is one of the most effective ways to uncover corruption, fraud, mismanagement and other wrongdoing that threaten public health and safety, financial integrity, human rights and the environment. Unethical or illegal conduct in business and public institutions can also have disastrous consequences for organisations themselves.

Most whistleblowers first report suspected wrongdoing within their organisations, which are best placed to deal with misconduct within their remit. It is therefore essential that organisations, whether private companies or public institutions, provide safe and effective mechanisms to receive and address these reports, as well as robust protection to whistleblowers. Effective internal whistleblowing systems (IWS) can help achieve that.

IWS provide safe channels for employees and stakeholders of an organisation to receive reports, protect those reporting concerns from retaliation and guide the organisation’s response. These systems are also powerful risk management and prevention tools that help protect organisations from the effects of misconduct – including legal liability, lasting reputational harm and serious financial losses.

This publication aims to support organisations’ implementation of effective internal whistleblowing systems by highlighting best practice principles. It also seeks to help organisations operating within the European Union (EU) meet their obligations under the EU Directive on Whistleblower Protection.

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