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Balance needed in whistleblowing review

Dec 14 2018

While the Institute of Directors (IoD) has welcomed the review of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, it is concerned that small and medium sized enterprises will be disproportionately burdened by some of the proposals.

IoD Chief Executive Kirsten Patterson says the IoD has been very supportive of improving whistleblowing and speak-up procedures in New Zealand, and has been promoting this to members.

“We moved this year to highlight ethics and culture as one of our key educational themes. Whistleblowing policies and speak-up procedures help to promote and support an ethical workplace culture.

“Our 2018 Director Sentiment Survey showed that 44 per cent of directors discussed whistleblowing and how their organisation makes speak-up provisions effective in the last 12 months – up from 32 per cent in 2017. That’s a positive development, although more work is still needed.

“Boards should set the tone for ethical conduct by reinforcing and communicating a culture of speaking up. Boards should also hold management to account on transparency and accountability on ethical behaviour.”

IoD’s submission says that it supports the overall intent of the review being undertaken by the State Services Commission and notes that IoD is aware of a number of issues with the Act.

“We are very concerned that small and medium sized enterprises will be disproportionately burdened by some of the proposals, including that all organisations will be required to have internal whistleblowing procedures and that they should collect information on protected disclosures and report this to an oversight body.

“We encourage the Government to provide greater guidance and support for all organisations around the operation of the Act and best practice guidelines, to help employers develop effective whistleblowing policies and procedures.

“The Institute of Directors is committed to driving excellence and high standards in governance.”

IoD’s full submission can be read here.

Resources on culture and ethics developed by IoD can be read here.