The New Zealand Education and Workforce Committee passed a new whistleblowing protection bill on March 29th to replace the Protected Disclosures Act 2000.
As clearly stated on the New Zealand parliament's official website, the Bill will:
- Clarify the definition of serious wrongdoing in the workplace.
- Enable a person to report a personal grievance or serious wrongdoing directly to the appropriate authorities.
- Strengthen disclosure protection of whistleblowers.
- Clarify the appropriate internal procedures for public sector organisations and the potential forms of adverse conduct disclosers may face.
Let's look at other outcomes of this update to the protection bill.
What Is the Key Role of the New Act, and What Can Be Expected?
The Education and Workforce Committee published a report on the new Bill. The Committee mainly focused on the fact that, upon a detailed examination, it recommended that this revised version be passed with the amendments shown in their report. This report confirmed that the Bill would continue the purpose of the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 ('the Act'), on which the current Bill was based. Regardless, as stated clearly, the identified drawbacks of the Act were reported to be subjected to changes with this newly issued version.
As an organisation, you might be concerned about how this update will affect you and your business in the case of whistleblowing. To clarify what might be coming up next, a list of recommendation highlights of the report that was issued by the Education and Workforce Committee can be focused upon when the new protection act is analysed:
- To make things more accessible, the new protection of whistleblowers act amends the meaning of 'serious wrongdoing.' This makes it easier to understand and clarify that the Bill would cover all organisations and not exclude the public sector.
- The Act simplifies the clause relating to a discloser's entitlement to protection when disclosing to their organisation. Simultaneously, it clarifies that a discloser could approach the head of the organisation without adhering to a specific schedule that needs to please the organisation head.
- The Bill amends the steps a receiver should take. Informing the discloser about the outcome of an investigation will include any action that will be taken, with no room for doubt.
- In line with the Privacy Act 2020, the receiver will specifically insert the responsibility of protected disclosure confidentiality. This way, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand would be ensured that it can investigate any breach of the related clause.
Whispli Are Here to Help You
At Whispli, we are a SaaS whistleblowing platform, and hundreds of small businesses worldwide trust us to stay compliant with their legal environment, including in the APAC region. Whispli provides a secure, anonymous, cost-effective whistleblower platform and case management solution. Our easy-to-use platform permits freedom of speech without fear. When employees are given a voice, you identify any serious risk before they threaten your organisation and its reputation.
Our clients have received reports and investigated thousands of disclosures. Whispli has protected its brand and financial reputation and built a culture of accountability with its workers. To learn more about Whispli, you can browse our website: https://www.whispli.com.
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