Whistleblowing Management Systems. Guidelines


Whistleblowing is the act of reporting suspected wrongdoing or risk of wrongdoing. According to the British Standards Institute, studies and experience demonstrate that a large proportion of wrongdoing comes to the attention of the affected organisation via reports from persons within or close to the organisation.


This British Standard gives guidelines for establishing, implementing and maintaining an effective whistleblowing management system based on the principles of trust, impartiality and protection in the following four steps:

  1. Receiving reports of wrongdoing.

  2. Assessing reports of wrongdoing.

  3. Addressing reports of wrongdoing.

  4. Concluding whistleblowing cases.

The potential benefits for the organisation of a whistleblowing management system are suggested as:

  • Allowing the organisation to identify and address wrongdoing at the earliest opportunity.

  • Helping prevent or minimize loss of assets and aiding recovery of lost assets.

  • Ensuring compliance with organizational policies, procedures, and legal and social obligations.

  • Attracting and retaining personnel committed to the organization’s values and culture.

  • Demonstrating sound, ethical governance practices to society, markets, regulators, owners and other interested parties.

The guidelines of this document are generic and intended to be applicable to all organisations, regardless of type, size, nature of activity, and whether in the public, private or not-for profit sectors.


The whistleblowing management system can be stand-alone or can be used as part of an overall management system.


The Standard is available here.


British Standards Institute July 2021

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