How do you ensure a good reporting procedure?

It is important that employees who suspect wrongdoing at work are able to report safely within their organisation. After all, reports protect the organisation and society from harm and danger. That is why reporting persons deserve protection. This is not only a legal requirement, but also a matter of good management. When setting up a reporting procedure take into account the following steps.

Step one:
For establishing a reporting procedure, you need sufficient resources and knowledgeable people. Therefore, ensure management support and work together to create an ethical organisational culture.

Step two:
Make sure that employees feel safe and experience no barriers to making a report. Do not impose confidentiality obligations that hinder people from reporting. Inform clearly where and to whom they can go with their report. Establish a reporting channel where various types of reports can be made: in person, by phone or digitally. Enable anonymous reporting. 

Step three:
Handle a report correctly, promptly and visibly, and ensure proper follow-up. Communicate clearly and regularly with all stakeholders. Make it clear to reporting persons what the next steps are. Emphasise protection of reporting persons from retaliation. Point out to everyone that during the investigation, but also afterwards, sometimes information must remain secret.

Step four:
It is important that reports are registered securely. This also allows for the assessment of the risk of future misconduct and enables measures to be taken. It shows which reporting channels are used most and where improvements to the procedure can be made. Anonymous reporting data can also be used for training purposes and included in the annual report.

These steps ensure a reporting procedure that works! For more information, visit:

This animation was inspired by: Kenny, K., Vandekerckhove, W., & Fotaki, M. (2019) The Whistleblowing Guide: Speak-up Arrangements, Challenges and Best Practices. Wiley: Chichester.