Don’t cut back on fraud and corruption reporting mechanisms during tough economic times. This warning comes from Dale Horne, head of Whistle Blowers, South Africa’s leading independent whistleblowing service provider. In February 2016, the company, for the sixth consecutive year, received accreditation by the Ethics Institute of South Africa.
Whistle Blowers provides a 24/7/365 call centre manned by highly trained multi-lingual call centre staff that establish a trust relationship with whistle-blowers. Operations Manager, Ntokozo Mngadi, says their interaction with whistle- blowers is key, as the whistle-blower needs to feel confident in order to make full disclosure of sensitive information.
She emphasises that Whistle Blowers has two priorities: protecting a whistle-blower’s identity and ensuring that a client who has signed up with Whistle Blowers received accurate information. A 2014 fraud study entitled the ACFE Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse found that employees accounted for nearly 50% of all tips.
It also showed that organisations with hotlines were not only much more likely to detect fraud through a tip off, but experienced frauds that were 41% less costly and detected them 50% more quickly
It also showed that organisations with hotlines were not only much more likely to detect fraud through a tip off, but experienced frauds that were 41% less costly and detected them 50% more quickly, resulting in significant savings. Companies could expect more theft, fraud and corruption as cash strapped or even heavily indebted employees resorted to dishonesty.
An unethical workforce could also undermine productivity and erode competitive advantage whilst compromising earnings.
“Right now, businesses have to look after what they have. There is no room for lost income and increased costs. Business needs to be honest to survive. A few bad apples can cost a company dearly.But a business can clean up through its own good people and let an ethical culture take over,” Horne says.
During tough economic times management should appeal to employees to uphold their ethics and report dishonest practices that could undermine a company’s profitability and hence jeopardise jobs, Horne adds.
Over the past three years, Whistle Blowers has grown by 50% in South Africa and 80% globally, and has extended its services to 25 countries.