ASIC today published a report to help entities improve their arrangements for handling whistleblower disclosures, and ensure they are effective and encourage people to speak up.
The report (REP 758) sets out the good practices ASIC observed from its review of seven entities’ whistleblower programs from a cross-section of industries. ASIC found that programs with thoughtful and well-publicised arrangements for protecting whistleblowers and handling disclosures received useful reports and tip offs about concerns and issues in the workplace. As a result, those entities had greater opportunity to identify and address these concerns and issues at an early stage.
ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press said, ‘Whistleblowing is a key part of a transparent, accountable and safe work culture. Whistleblowers need to know that, when they have reasonable grounds to suspect misconduct or an improper situation involving a firm, they can raise the issue without being victimised.’
‘ASIC’s report reiterates the important role that whistleblower programs play in alerting entities and boards to changes necessary to help improve overall corporate performance and governance,’ concluded Ms Press.
ASIC strongly encourages entities to consider how to scale and tailor the good practices in the report to suit their operations.
ASIC will continue to review entities’ whistleblower policies and arrangements for handling whistleblower disclosures, including when we receive reports from whistleblowers alleging breaches of the whistleblower protections. Where serious harm is identified, ASIC will consider the full range of regulatory tools available including, where appropriate, civil, or criminal enforcement action. ASIC recently filed proceedings against TerraCom Limited for alleged whistleblower victimisation (23-045MR).
ASIC reminds entities that they are obliged to handle whistleblower disclosures confidentially and protect whistleblowers from detriment.