The number of whistleblowing reports across the UK and Europe continues to rise with modern slavery emerging as an issue among organisations, according to a new report.

Whistleblowing continues to play a crucial role in exposing misconduct within organisations with areas of concern including risk-taking behaviours, deteriorating corporate governance, substance abuse and bullying.

However, it is the issue of modern slavery that stands out as a matter of concern in Safecall’s Whistleblowing Benchmark Report 2024. It is the first time that modern slavery has appeared as a statistically significant area of concern within organisations since the report started in 2019.

Report author Greg Ogle, Operational Excellence Manager at Safecall, said:

Construction companies have been identified as hotspots for reports surrounding modern slavery. It should be noted that the emergence of modern slavery reports does not mean it has suddenly become an issue for the first time, rather it is an indication of a growth in awareness and confidence in raising such concerns.

Greg Ogle, Operational Excellence Manager at Safecall

He added that whistleblowing requirements have been extended to supply chains in many national legal frameworks. This means that organisations must take proactive measures to identify and eradicate these exploitative practices from their supply chains.

The annual Safecall Benchmark Report highlights the rise in reporting rates, the trends, and areas of reported wrongdoing in different sectors. The data contained within this annual report – based on anonymised data from more than 1,000 organisations with over five million people in total – is aimed at helping companies and organisations understand the trends in misconduct.

During 2023 there was a sharp increase in the share of reports from the education sector, and the logistics and manufacturing sectors. Safecall observed a decrease in reports from the construction and healthcare sectors.

The post-pandemic environment has accelerated greater awareness and appreciation of whistleblowing. In turn, this is driving a worldwide growth of this specialist business sector.

Safecall’s Greg Ogle, said:

The data is designed to inform and help organisations make better decisions when it comes to establishing whistleblowing arrangements. It should help HR, compliance and health & safety managers or departments to determine and measure performance of their organisation against their peers.

While legislation (notably the EU Whistleblowing Directive) and compliance are among the drivers of change, many businesses and organisations are discovering that whistleblowing improves workplace environments, in turn helping employees feel respected, experiencing benefits to their overall wellbeing.

Greg explained that more employees are being encouraged and empowered to do the right thing and report wrongdoing at work; likewise, more employers are recognising the ethical benefits of supporting staff to report wrongdoing safely.

The latest Report, which covers 2023, reveals that Safecall received reports from more than 130 countries across the world. The company also received the greatest number of reports it has ever recorded.

Greg Ogle explained, that with an increased awareness surrounding whistleblowing and confidential reporting, led by the EU Whistleblowing Directive, external reporting facilities are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

For more information and a full data breakdown, visit: https://www.safecall.co.uk/resource/whistleblowing-benchmark-report-2024

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.