New Whistleblowing Protection Bill in New Zealand: How Will Things Change Now? - Whispli
The New Zealand Education and Workforce Committee passed a new whistleblowing protection bill on March 29th, 2022 to replace the Protected Disclosures Act 2000.
Asv clearly stated on the New Zealand parliament's official website, the bill will:
- Clarify the definition of serious wrongdoing,
- Enable people to report serious wrongdoing directly to an appropriate authority at any time,
- Strengthen protection for disclosers,
- Clarify the internal procedure requirements for public sector organizations and the potential forms of adverse conduct disclosers may face.
The new bill continues the purpose of the previous Act: facilitating the disclosure and investigation of serious wrongdoings. But it addresses the issues identified in the Act, and thus brings a new set of requirements for Organizations.
What Is The Aim of this New Protection of Whistleblowers Act and What Can Be Expected?
To make things be understood easier, the new Whistleblower Protection Act amends the meaning of "serious wrongdoing". In this way, it's clarified that the Bill would cover all Organizations and not leave that outside of the public sector.
Public Organizations are obligated to set up internal reporting channels, and all Organizations must follow the steps amended in the new Bill when receiving a disclosure. Within 20 working days following a report, the Organization must:
✅ Acknowledge receipt of the disclosure and communicate the date of receipt with the informant;
✅ Consider the disclosure and assess if it needs an investigation;
✅ Check with the discloser whether the disclosure has been made through another channel or elsewhere;
✅ Address the matter reported by the necessary means;
✅ Inform the discloser about the actions taken to deal with their report.
The Act simplifies the clause relating to a discloser's entitlement to protection. When making a disclosure to their organization or to an appropriate authority, the informant remains protected by the Act and can decide to make a report through an external channel at any time (whether or not they already made their disclosure internally).
Making Internal Reporting Channels Attractive
While Organizations in the private sector are not under the obligation of implementing their own internal reporting channels for disclosures, they wouldn't benefit from their employees making disclosures directly through an external channel. They risk a quick escalation of a situation without any control over it and serious damage to their corporate culture.
The new Protection of Whistleblowers Act represents a great opportunity to optimize or implement internal reporting channels, allowing your people to raise concerns and speak up safely and without fear of retaliation.
With sensitive information processed and the need for follow-up on internal investigations, turning to a provider offering digital tools will reduce the operational overhead costs, tick the compliance boxes and ensure data security.
Whispli can help you comply with the evolution of local laws and regulations while protecting your data, people, and Organization.
Leaning on our expertise in Whistleblowing and software security, our platform provides an effective way to engage with your people and comply with the new Whistleblowing Protection Bill in New Zealand.