Useful notes for whistle-blowers

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The Independent Online
FEW business issues are more double-edged than whistle- blowing. On one hand, the public has come to expect employees to report wrongdoing when they see or suspect it; on the other, there can often be grave legal consequences for doing so, writes Roger Trapp.

In an effort to chart a path through the minefield, the Institute of Internal Auditors has published a guide to best practice for whistle-blowing. Though primarily aimed at the organisation's members, the booklet is also designed to be helpful to others who may need to understand the professional internal auditing position in this respect. Among the areas covered by Whistleblowing and the Internal Auditor are providing advice on acting professionally, communicating audit findings, the nature and extent of internal audit responsibilities, and information on serving the company's management and board of directors.

But it also advises internal auditors to combine their professional position - set out in the organisation's standards - with the 'legal, moral and societal considerations' that affect a particular issue.

Anybody who is not satisfied with the outcome of a matter reported to the board is urged to seek legal advice. Outside lawyers will be able to assess the legal implications of disclosure or non-disclosure of actual or apparent wrong-doing, whether criminal or not.

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