Whistleblowing Protection: Driving Factors
Whistleblowing is a current hot topic in Europe and the majority of EU members have transposed the Whistleblower Directive into national law. Swiss companies with business in the EU should already have taken note. However, the subject is gaining traction in Switzerland. Yesterday, we discussed its future at a cross-industry expert panel hosted by The Economic Crime, Sanctions & Exports Hub.
Despite lagging behind the EU, there have been some exciting developments in Switzerland: some cantons have taken the initiative to implement their own whistleblowing laws, filling the gap left by the lack of federal legislation. In some cases, the revision of the Intercantonal Agreement on Public Procurement has led to the implementation of external whistleblowing reporting lines. Furthermore, there is growing pressure from European and international organisations to increase protection for whistleblowers in Switzerland.
At present, we see the following 4 factors as the primary driving forces behind Switzerland's whistleblowing protection:
1. Implementation of the EU-Whistleblower Directive
After initial delays, the majority of EU member states have now transposed the directive into national law.
2. Cantonal Initiatives in the Area of Public Administration
Individual cantons implemented strong regulations guaranteeing anonymity and protection for public officials as Whistleblowers.
3. Pressure by Various International Organisations
International organisations such as the OECD, the Council of Europe and the ECHR demand better protection for Switzerland’s Whistleblowers.
4. Revision of the Intercantonal Agreement on Public Procurement
Increasing amount of cantons adopt the IVöB 2019 into cantonal law, prompting the implementation of whistleblowing reporting lines.
It's great to see progress being made in such an important area and we at BDO Switzerland together with our global partners can give advise to private companies and public administrations to navigate safely and compliant through these changing times.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions.