Text first published on 13 November 2020 at https://blog.planbrothers.io/en/apprehending-whistleblowing
With whistleblowing being a hot topic due to the upcoming EU Directive, we interviewed Miikka Karimo, an experienced corporate security, risk management and investigation professional with a versatile background working for organisations such as Europol, Novartis and GSK. In this blog post Miikka will share his views on the whistleblowing topic with examples from his own career.
Introducing Miikka Karimo to our readers
I am a 48-year-old returnee, who has investigated and analysed a variety of crimes and misconducts in more than 30 different countries over the past 20 years. Having worked as an investigator, both in public and in private sectors, I lately set up my own consulting office, which is responsible for managing organisations’ information sourcing needs for risk management.
Before moving back to Finland, I worked as an advisor in Corporate Security at one of the biggest Swiss pharmaceutical companies. My role covered investigations of whistleblowing reports and for the last few years, I was also responsible for internal investigations and audits related to the quality and regulatory compliance of the vaccine manufacturing division.
Why do organisations need whistleblowing reporting channels and for what purposes?
The easiest answer is, of course, the EU directive. The Nordic Business Ethics Survey 2020 (NBES), compiled and just published by Niina Ratsula and Anna Romberg, gives suitable examples that highlight the need for whistleblowing reporting channels. For instance, according to the study, in Finland, about 56% of the organisation's personnel fail to report the wrongdoing they have detected. One of the reasons for this are concerns over their own job security and thus fear of retaliation against the reporter. This same finding is also at the heart of the EU directive. The results of several different studies show that early detection, reporting and handling of whistleblowing cases reduce the costs of wrongdoings.
A whistleblower reporting channel is part of an organisation's overall whistleblowing and follow-up management system (management system for misconducts) and therefore does not in itself meet the requirements of the EU Whistleblowing Directive. When choosing a whistleblowing platform, the requirements set by the entire reporting and follow-up process should be taken into account. For example, if an organisation decides to implement an electronic reporting channel that does not have the features to support the follow-up action procedures, they must be designed and implemented in a secure manner by other means.