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,
- 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.
Let's look at what else will be an outcome of this update to the protection bill.
What Is The Aim of this New Protection of Whistleblowers 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 problems identified with the Act were reported to be subjected to changes with this newly issued version.
As an organization, you might be concerned about how this update will affect you and your business in 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 analyzed:
- To make things be understood more accessible, the new whistleblower protection act amends the meaning of 'serious wrongdoing.' This makes it easier to understand and clarify that the Bill would cover all organizations and not leave that outside the public sector.
- The Act simplifies the clause relating to a discloser's entitlement to protection when disclosing to their organization. Simultaneously, it clarifies that a discloser could approach the head of their organization without adhering to a certain schedule that needs to please the organization head.
- The Bill amends the steps a receiver should take. No room for doubt will be left so that informing the discloser about the outcome of an investigation will include informing them about any action that will be taken,
- In line with the Privacy Act 2020, the responsibility of the protection of a protected disclosures' confidentiality will be specifically inserted to the receiver. This way, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand would be ensured that it can investigate any breach of the related clause.
We Are Whispli, and We Are Here to Help You
If you are an organization that is concerned about the outcomes of this new whistleblowing protection bill, as Whispli, we are here to help things get easier for you.
As Whispli, we are a SAAS whistleblowing platform, and hundreds of companies worldwide trust us to stay compliant with their legal environment, including in the APAC region.
Whispli provides a secure, anonymous, and cost-effective whistleblower platform & case management solution. Our easy-to-use platform lets your people speak up safely and without fear. When employees speak sooner, you identify risks before they threaten your organization and its reputation.
By using Whispli, 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 employees.
To learn more about Whispli, you can browse our website: https://www.whispli.com/.