1.4 Whistleblowing and reporting channels
Mission staffs need to be prepared to act if instances of corruption are uncovered. No response, however, can be taken without awareness of corruption-related problems or breaches of integrity standards. That awareness is likely to come from reports of wrongdoing, or whistleblower disclosures. Enabling whistleblowers – especially those within the mission and with a good knowledge of mission policies and activities – to come forward can act as a preventive measure, as it increases the likelihood of detection for corrupt actions; it also enables a response to wrongdoing already committed.
In order for whistleblowers to be able to make a disclosure, a reliable reporting channel needs to be in place. This could be a phone line, and email address, or a post box, ideally operated by a dedicated anti-corruption or investigative official. It could also include reporting directly to the official, who, however, needs to be outside the whistleblower’s command chain. The latter is particularly important in hierarchical environments such as the armed forces, where reporting wrongdoing to a superior officer could be difficult or, in some cases, comes with risks of reprisal. Reporting might also be culturally shunned, seen as tantamount to ‘snitching’ and looked upon as a treacherous, unworthy behaviour. It might therefore require a combination of public outreach to begin to change perceptions of whistleblowing, and a concerted effort to protect whistleblowers and preserve their anonymity.
Effective reporting mechanisms for the mission should aim to:
- Preserve whistleblower anonymity;
- Protect whistleblowers from retribution and helping ensure their physical safety;
- Establish a mechanism for following up complaints with investigations, ideally by a dedicated official;
- Disseminate information regarding the existence and operation of the whistleblowing channel widely, to ensure staff and external actors are aware that it is in place.
- Command Group