Effective speak-up arrangements for whistle-blowers

This report examines the challenges, opportunities and best practices associated with various types of speak-up arrangements. It provides practical recommendations to those who develop, operate and oversee such arrangements in order to make these effective.

ACCA-ESRC Effective Speak-Up Arrangements for Whistle-Blowers-page-001

While recent research on the topic mainly focused on the experience of those who have ‘blown the whistle’, the approach used here explored arrangements for speaking up (‘speak-up arrangements’) from the viewpoint of those who develop, operate and oversee them, seeking to provide recommendations for an effective framework.

Jointly funded by ACCA and the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the project has been led by the University of Greenwich in collaboration with Warwick Business School and Queen's University Belfast.

Findings from the research

Speak-up practices evolve over time and the effectiveness of formal arrangements is primarily supported by the independence of speak-up operators.

Effective speak-up arrangements also involve:

  • a combination of different channels to voice concerns
  • a robust and consistent response system, and
  • an appropriate recording of speak-up events.

Most importantly, the effectiveness of such arrangements relies on the willingness to respond at different levels of management. To ensure this, responsiveness must be well organised, clearly mandated and adequately resourced.