Our General Manager recently featured in the national NFP publication Our Community Matters.
The whistleblowing policies and procedures of many Australian not-for-profits are woefully weak, according to a world-first ranking of the business, government and not-for-profit sectors released last month.
Three of the bottom five worst performing fields are within the NFP sector, with “education and training” falling into 18th – or last – position.
Whistling While They Work 2, a study led by Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy, grouped jurisdictions and industries into 18 fields. It examined their performance in five key areas in the whistleblowing process – incident tracking, support strategy, risk assessment, dedicated support, and remediation – and ranked them from best to worst.
“Health care and social assistance” was the highest ranked NFP, falling into ninth place, well behind the federal government sector in first place.
Project leader Professor A J Brown said the results show the extent of challenges faced by business in trying to improve their whistleblowing and integrity regimes.
“It’s apparent many private and not-for-profit companies are making concerted efforts to establish workable whistleblowing practices,” he said, “and now we can see more clearly who’s making progress as well as the major tasks ahead for all – including many governments.”
How should not-for-profits respond?
The General Manager of external whistleblowing service Your Call, Nathan Luker, said the report represents a significant opportunity for not-for-profit leaders to analyse and improve their whistleblowing processes.
He offered these tips:
- Regardless of your organisation’s size, your people should feel safe to speak up about wrongdoing at work. It is your responsibility to ensure you provide a healthy workplace with an adequate reporting framework. It is crucial that you offer employees support before, during and after they make a disclosure as a whistleblower.
- Actively seek insights into your organisation’s culture, your employees’ attitudes, and your organisation’s ability to respond to wrongdoing. Employee surveys, work-groups and stakeholder consultations can provide valuable information for leaders looking to make long-term culture improvements.
- Establish a robust NFP whistleblowing policy/program that is best-practice, tested and fully functional. Then focus on the broader goal of cultivating a “speak up” culture. Pushing people to speak up, without adequate support processes in place, can lead to disastrous outcomes and negative culture impacts. The tone is set at the top – use your whistleblowing program to demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to integrity, preparedness and value focus.