Improving managerial responses to whistle-blowing in public and private sector organisations
Public Good is pleased to work with a number of civil society organisations: HuiE!, Volunteering NZ, Community Networks Aotearoa to draw attention to and promote involvement in research by Victoria University into workplace whistle blowing policies. It is the biggest piece of research into whistle-blowing in the world, and being is led by Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. The research has been independently funded by the Australian Research Council. Altogether it involves four universities and 21 supporting organisations across Australia and New Zealand and in NZ Victoria University is working with the NZ State Services Commission and the NZ Ombudsman.
Who is it for?
The research is open to any organisation (across the public and private sectors and including civil society organisations) either based in or with significant operations in either New Zealand and Australia, with more than 10 employees. The first part of the research is open until 31 July 2016. The project team is contactable via the whistle blowing research website or by email (admin<at>griffith.edu.au), and they can also assist with any further information. You can join in both phases of the research, commencing with an initial survey of your organisation’s processes and procedures.
New Zealand is famous for its high-trust, high-integrity reputation but recently cracks have begun to develop. We have slipped from 1st to 4th in the Corruption Perception Index rankings; trust in many public institutions are at a very low level.
One of the key areas for organisational and individual integrity is in the area of reporting instances of misconduct. Serious misconduct can range from fraud to threats to health and safety. Knowing more about how organisations can improve safe reporting processes and can ensure effective responses to those reports, is something that the research project aims to help organisations address.
Effective whistle-blowing processes are an essential feature of any integrity management system. Ensuring that employees and others have safe and effective channels through which to raise wrongdoing and other significant concerns is vital to good governance and maintaining integrity in modern organisations. Yet we know very little about what works and what needs to be addressed in the New Zealand context.
Why include Civil Society Organisations?
Civil society is an essential part of the equation. Frequently the voice of integrity in New Zealand, it is also far too frequently ignored in such discussions. The researchers would like to hear from civil society organisations to find out what they are currently doing, and more importantly what they need.
The survey will only take 20-30 minutes to complete. The information will be collected directly by Griffith University. It will provide a new snapshot of the key elements of processes and procedures for managing internal reporting of wrongdoing concerns across all sectors, and for managing the challenges that can arise. Many organisations have whistleblowing policies, but not enough is known about current best practice. The results will be used to inform new guidance for organisations, including a proposed new Australian and New Zealand Standard for whistleblowing programs.
The survey also allows you to indicate your organisation’s interest in participating in greater depth, through the next phase of the research: Integrity@WERQ. This phase will contribute to greater knowledge of how organisations’ processes and procedures are actually working, and provide a unique opportunity for your organisation to directly benchmark your current policies and how well they are working, if you wish.
By participating in this research, your organisation can also help ensure it has best practice and procedures in place to meet its obligations under the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, and other legislation.
Finally, your organisation may also have relationships with private sector or not-for-profit organisations – major contractors, service providers, funded organisations or subsidiaries – who could benefit from participating in this research. If so, please also encourage them to do so by forwarding information about the project and survey.
The NZ project co-ordinator is
Director, Institute for Governance Policy and Studies
Victoria University of Wellington