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Quick as a whistle insight to improve whistleblowing

Posted by ann.webster@oag.govt.nz | Governance and accountability | Jun 22, 2016
New Zealand is served by a public sector that is considered worldwide to have high standards of integrity.

Photo by User:ColinIn 2012, we carried out one of the largest surveys about fraud in this country. Our survey found that there is a strong commitment within the public sector to protecting public resources. The public sector organisations we surveyed said they were receptive to their staff talking about fraud concerns. Public servants were willing to raise concerns about fraud and believed that their concerns would be taken seriously by their managers.

Since then we have provided annual updates about the information that public entities have reported to their auditors about incidents of fraud. Fraud continues to be reported. Tip-offs, including through whistleblowing, has accounted for between 25% and 35% of all the fraud detected in the past three years.

So the Whistling While They Work 2 (WWTW2) research project is a fantastic opportunity for public sector entities to get the best outcomes from internal reporting, with less harm to individuals and less cost and reputational damage to agencies. It follows from the original Whistling While They Work project in 2005-2009, which was the most comprehensive study of whistleblowing ever carried out in Australia, New Zealand, or internationally.

The WWTW2 research project involves four universities, 15 partner organisations, and six other support organisations from Australia and New Zealand. It’s a three-year project led by Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy. It aims to investigate “how organisational responses to public interest whistleblowing can be improved across public and private sectors”.

The Survey of Organisational Processes and Procedures is the first phase of the project. To participate, one person from an organisation needs to complete the survey, which takes about 20-30 minutes. Responses will be kept confidential, and more than one person from an organisation can complete the survey. Our Office will be encouraging staff to participate in this first phase of the project. General findings, lessons, and best practice models from the research will be available for free to all participating organisations.

The close-off date for the first phase of the project has been extended from 30 June to 29 July 2016.

You can also contact the project team directly for information, via the WWTW2 website, or by emailing WWTWadmin@griffith.edu.au.

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