‘Speak up’ culture crucial for whistleblower compliance

While ASIC has outlined specific deliverables for whistleblower policies moving forward, it is also important for individuals to contribute to a workplace that encourages transparency, argues one senior professional.

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Your Call CEO Nathan Luker said that the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission is looking for more than the simple existence of whistleblower policies, following the government reforms introduced in March 2019. There are also ways that individuals within businesses such as law firms can ensure more stringent adherence to new requirements, he said.

“Apart from meeting ASIC’s criteria for whistleblower policy compliance, individuals can contribute to building a ‘speak up’ culture in their firm by role modelling best practice behavior,” Mr Luker outlined.

“They can [help ensure] that there are multiple channels for team members to report wrongdoing so everyone feels safe to do so, and provide opportunities for team members to raise any early concerns of wrongdoing that they may have, or provide feedback for process improvement, and hopefully avoid these matters escalating to reports.”

“ASIC [is] not merely looking for a whistleblower policy when assessing organisational compliance, the implementation of the policy is key,” Mr Luker continued, highlighting the importance of a more holistic approach by firms and other businesses.

“ASIC has outlined the specific deliverables they are looking for regarding implementation, including appropriate training of all staff, a risk assessment process, having underlying processes in place, management reporting and oversight, and also the organisation ‘fostering a whistleblowing culture.’”

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The article was originally published in Lawyers Weekly on 21 January 2020