7. Supporting an open organisation culture within the public sector
Promoting an open organisational culture through whistleblower protection
Organisations should strive to create an organisational culture in which employees feel confident to report any misconduct they observe. Due to the hidden nature of corruption, many incidents of corruption go unreported and undetected. Employees are often among the first to recognise wrongdoing, but can be reluctant to report such misconduct. There are many reasons for people’s reluctance to report; one of such reasons is the fear of retaliation and unclear procedures. Whistleblowers will only come forward if they know the reporting channels and have confidence that effective protection and follow-up of the misconduct will be made. In this way, whistleblower protection can be the ultimate line of defence to safeguard the public interest and uncover misconduct, fraud and corruption.
UNCAC and the OECD recommendation of the Council on Public Integrity recommend establishing clear rules and procedures for reporting suspected violations of integrity standards, and ensure protection in law and practice against all types of reprisals as a result of reporting in good faith and on reasonable grounds.
Building blocks for an effective whistleblower protection framework
Whistleblower Protection in Slovakia
In Slovakia, the law guarantees protection of whistleblowers (Act No. 54/2019 Coll. on the Protection of Persons Reporting on Anti-Social Activities and on Amendments to Certain Laws). Protection as outlined in the Act applies to an employee who, in good faith, disclosed the facts that came to his/her knowledge in connection with the execution of his employment, profession, position or function, and that may contribute or have contributed significantly to the clarification of serious antisocial activity, or to the identification or conviction of its perpetrator.
The following serious antisocial activities constitute a protected disclosure under the law:
- criminal offences of damage done to the European Communities‘ financial interests
- criminal offences of deceitful practices during public procurement and public auction
- criminal offences committed by a public official
- corruption criminal offences
- any other criminal offences punishable by at least three years imprisonment
- any administrative infractions punishable by a fine of at least 50.000€
Key points to remember
- Whistleblower protection can support an open organisational culture responsive to integrity concerns
- Whistleblower protection is the ultimate line of defence for safeguarding the public interest by exposing misconduct, fraud and corruption
- Whistleblower protection can have a deterrent effect by raising the risk of exposing corrupt behaviour
- Whistleblowers will need to have confidence in the protection measures to come forward and expose corruption