CORPORATE WHISTLEBLOWING IN EMEA & APAC RISES SIGNIFICANTLY BUT STILL BELOW GLOBAL LEVELS; RESPONSE TIMES DELAYED, FINDS NAVEX GLOBAL BENCHMARK REPORT

  • Significant rise in EMEA & APAC reporting rates per 100 employees, doubling the reporting rate  from 2015
  • Time taken to investigate and resolve a reported incident increases to a median of 46 days from 37 in just two years 

Ethics and compliance software and services leader NAVEX Global® today released its 2017 EMEA & APAC Ethics & Compliance Whistle-blowing Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report.

The report finds that whistle-blowing rates across EMEA and APAC firms have doubled from 2015 to 2016, raising the median rate of reporting from 0.2 to 0.4 reports per 100 employees. This may indicate that firms in EMEA and APAC will experience a similar growth in reporting volumes to those previously seen in US-based organisations. However, despite this strong upward trend, reporting rates in EMEA and APAC still lag significantly behind those found in other parts of the world where globally, NAVEX Global reports a median reporting rate of 1.4 reports per 100 employees.

The report also found that from 2014 to 2016, the median case closure time – the time it takes to investigate and resolve reported incidents or cases – has risen from 37 to 46 days (a rise of over 24 percent) indicating that the current level of report volume increases are already putting a strain on existing investigative and response resources.

“This report tells us that firms in EMEA & APAC need to assess their ethics and compliance hotline programme response planning to ensure that they are able to handle the continuing increases expected in the volume of reports,” said Carrie Penman, Chief Compliance Officer & SVP Advisory Services at NAVEX Global. “We can see it takes too long to investigate and resolve ethics and compliance issues after a report is made. This will have a detrimental effect on employee morale, productivity and organisational culture. Firms should focus their attention on closing cases within the recommended 30 day average timeframe in order to reinforce confidence among workers that their concerns are being taken seriously.”

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The low reporting rates across EMEA and APAC when compared with global figures also indicates that ongoing focus is needed to consistently foster a ‘speak-up’ culture. Penman added “the fact that reporting volumes are still well below global volumes suggests organisations based in EMEA & APAC still have work to do to increase employee confidence to ‘speak-up’ on different issues. A key area of focus over the coming years should be the further development of employees’ awareness of their access to hotline reporting programmes, thereby improving their knowledge of how and where to submit reports of workplace concerns.” In addition, Penman said, “I encourage organisational leaders to examine their perspectives and key messages on the acceptability of internal reporting within organisations to assure employees that they do want to hear about concerns.”

The report also found that anonymous reporting is 5 percentage points higher in EMEA and APAC than the global average, providing further evidence that more must be done to increase employee confidence that it is acceptable to raise concerns around workplace misconduct.

“Firms have the opportunity to use the data in their hotline and incident management systems to make a positive difference in their ethics and compliance programmes and their organisational cultures. Regular, effective analysis of this information will help them answer crucial questions about their programmes and also provide an early warning system of potential problem locations or operations,” concluded Carrie Penman.

To download NAVEX Global’s 2017 EMEA & APAC Ethics & Compliance Whistle-blowing Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report follow the link here.

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