The ethics line or reporting channel is one of the main tools that compose a Compliance Program. Authorities have been able to address many cases of fraud, corruption and irregularities that took place within organizations thanks to tips reported by people who have direct knowledge of the events and are able to provide supporting evidence.
In Argentina, the act #27401 of Corporate Criminal Liability lists the Ethics Lines as one of the components of an Integrity Program and this has derived in many companies having decided to adequate their internal process to the best practices, including Ethics Lines.
The implementation of a modern system of Ethics lines require to count on an internal policy defining what to do when receiving a tip over any conduct that contradicts the principles of integrity within an organization.
This policy must determine the scope, subjects involved and the events over which the tips will be received at the reporting channel. Also, it is essential to guarantee anonymity or confidentiality over the identity of the reporter, in order to not only promote an integrity culture, but also protect the reporter against possible retaliation (threats, discrimination or harassment) or damage to their labor rights.
The internal policy on Ethics Line Management must be clear, particularly regarding deadlines and people involved, with indication of their specific roles.
It must also contain provisions for the implementation of a file, physical or digital, according to corporate needs, to follow up on the management of each tip.
The ethics lines or reporting channels may be internal or externally managed. For a cost/benefit reasons, it is often preferred to outsource the management of the tip at the initial steps -reception- to structures with more experience and specific knowledge.
Therefore, there is a wide offer for ethic line management services in the market. Usually companies offer to provide the service through a web platform that could even be a proprietary development. The classic ways these services are offered are:
- Telephone. A free phone number, attended 24/7
- Web platform. An online form must be completed. It offers the possibility to classify the tips by type of misconduct and subjects. It also allows to attach documents.
- E-mail. An email address is provided to receive the tips
Any of these ways can receive a tip and report it immediately to the appropriate internal personnel designated for its management.
The service usually includes a platform that allows processing of the tip from the beginning and until the case is closed. The platform may include the functionality of a file container, which can be kept updated -through logs- on each step of the management.
At G5 Integritas we can help you to create all necessary policies for implementing an Integrity Program, as required by Act 27401, and also to define the best way to manage your ethics line. For more information, we invite you to email us at [email protected] or visit our website www.g5integritaslatam.com