If you’re a UK food manufacturer, you need to have a Whistleblowing Hotline in place from 1 February 2019. Here, we explain what to consider when implementing a compliant reporting system.

Why do I need a reporting system?

The ‘Issue 8’ update to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety was released in August 2018.

The newly-added Clause 1.1.6 outlines a requirement for a “Confidential Reporting System” – more commonly known as a “whistleblowing hotline” or “Speak Up service”.

With first audits against the new standard already underway, you should act now to ensure you comply with the new standard.

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What is a whistleblowing hotline?

A confidential “whistleblowing hotline” is a service that enables employees, suppliers and other stakeholders to report workplace concerns to their employer securely.

While the term implies a telephone-based service, it is often used as a generic term to describe web or smartphone-based platforms that fulfil the same function.

Learn more about whistleblowing hotlines

How do I set up a hotline?

A confidential whistleblowing hotline can be operated and administered internally by your own team, or by an independent provider like Expolink.

Building your own solution?

You will need to think carefully about the security, accessibility and purpose of your service. Read our checklist for implementing a hotline for tips and advice on setting up a successful hotline service.

Looking for expert, external support?

If you’re new to hotline services, you may be unsure of where to begin. Download our Insider’s Hotline Buying Guide to learn what questions you should ask when speaking to hotline service providers.

What issues can be reported?

The new clause within BRC Issue 8 states that:

“The company shall have a confidential reporting system to enable staff to report concerns relating to product safety, integrity, quality and legality.”

In addition to this primary requirement, you can also use your hotline to generate intelligence about many other issues. These may include things like:

  • financial irregularities
  • bullying and harassment
  • policy breaches
  • conflicts of interest
  • anything else that could pose a risk to an organisation, or its stakeholders

Discover the most commonly-reported issues

What else do I need to know?

The new reporting requirements set out in Issue 8 also state:

“The mechanism (e.g. the relevant telephone number) for reporting concerns must be clearly communicated to staff.

The company’s senior management shall have a process for assessing any concerns raised. Records of the assessment and, where appropriate, actions taken, shall be documented.”

Clause 1.1.6, BRC Global Standard for Food Safety (Issue 8)

Any internal solution will therefore need to include an effective communication strategy/tools, and compliant administrative tools that comply with data protection rules.

An external hotline provider is likely to include access to secure, online case management tools and communication materials as standard, saving you time and resource.

Want to simplify your hotline setup?

Expolink is the UK’s #1 provider of independent whistleblowing systems. Speak to one of our experts today and let us help you meet the new BRC standard.