Whistleblowing hotlines are often referred to by other names, including:
Speak up line
Loss prevention line
Many organisations choose to brand their hotline to reflect its desired purpose, or to encourage only certain types of whistleblowing reports.
Why do organisations use hotlines?
Organisations often introduce hotlines to allow employees to raise issues that they may feel uncomfortable discussing with a manager.
This can help expose important issues that would otherwise remain undisclosed and help reassure employees that their concerns will be taken seriously.
For most organisations, there is no better information source than its employees.
But corrupt and illegal behaviour often goes undetected because employees fear the consequences of reporting them through existing internal channels.
Implemented correctly, a hotline can be a powerful tool in helping to expose illegal or unethical behaviour. Organisations therefore often place a high value on the risk intelligence that an effective hotline can provide.
Protecting brand reputation is often a key motivator for a business choosing to introduce a whistleblowing hotline.
If employees or third parties do not have access to a reporting channel provided by the organisation, they may choose to use alternative public channels.
A whistleblowing hotline can give an organisation early sight of a potential issue, and reduce the likelihood of potentially damaging information reaching the public domain.
A whistleblowing hotline can help a business comply with its legal and regulatory responsibilities.
The existence of effective speak-up channels, such as a hotline, are one of the six adequate procedures recommended by the UK Department of Justice for an organisation to prevent bribery and comply with the UK Bribery Act 2010.
Internal or External?
Many organisations operate their own internally-administered hotline. This can present challenges, particularly in organisations where employees are fearful of possible retaliation.
For this reason, some organisations choose to combine or replace an internal hotline with an independent, outsourced service to help build trust and encourage reports.
“Expolink understand the importance of building trust and confidence with those who wish to speak up. The range of channels Expolink offers, and the skill of its staff, are crucial in helping to build this trust."
Head of Compliance Monitoring,Dixons Carphone plc
Guide for Employers
What does a good whistleblowing hotline look like?
How should you implement and promote it?
How can you overcome barriers to reporting?
Download our guide to find out how you can get the most from your whistleblowing hotline.