10 July 2008 | Paul Snell
Buyers should help their vendors develop and implement whistleblowing policies.
The call comes in a free guide, launched this week by BSI British Standards, designed to help firms create a "comfortable environment" for employees to report misconduct. Recent research by accountancy firm Grant Thornton found only 40 per cent of businesses already do so.
The guidance recommended that in addition to implementing a whistleblowing policy at their own firm, companies should ensure their suppliers and subcontractors also have arrangements in place. This could involve the purchaser ensuring vendors implement their own policy, or getting the supplier to promote the buyer's policy to its own staff.
It also said if a whistleblower saves a firm a large amount of money through their action, a reward could be offered. However, the guide said the specifics should be left to the discretion of the firm's management.
Mike Low, director of BSI British Standards, said in a statement: "Every organisation faces the risk of something going wrong. Rather than shying away from whistleblowing, good organisations know that allowing employees to raise issues in a supportive environment brings real benefits."
The guidance was developed with advice from groups such as the Audit Commission, the Institute of Directors and Public Concern at Work.
In a recent survey of business leaders on fraud by consultancy Ernst & Young, 23 per cent in Western Europe believed whistleblowing was a successful measure to reduce bribery and corruption (News, 5 June).