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Strength of organisational whistleblowing processes: Analysis from Australia & New Zealand. Further results of the Whistling While They Work 2 Project

Survey of Organisational Processes & Procedures 2016
Business ethics Governance Whistle blowing New Zealand

Whistleblowing processes – or processes for encouraging and protecting staff to speak up about wrongdoing concerns and integrity challenges – are vital to integrity and good governance systems in organisations.

This report presents initial analysis of the strength of organisational processes for responding to staff wrongdoing concerns, based on responses to the Survey of Organisational Processes and Procedures conducted in 2016 by Whistling While They Work 2: Improving managerial responses to whistleblowing in public and private sector organisations.

The analysis uses results from five questions to create a scale measure (expressed as a score out of 10) of strength of processes reported for 699 organisations, across 19 sector/jurisdiction groups:

  • 10 public sector jurisdictions (Australia and New Zealand)
  • 5 private industry sector groups (Australia only), and
  • 4 not-for-profit industry sector groups (Australia only).

The New Zealand public sector ranks 9 th out of the 19 groups of public and private sector organisations in the study, for the average strength of whistleblowing processes across five key areas (incident tracking, support strategy, risk assessment, dedicated support and remediation).

Of the 10 public sector jurisdictions, the New Zealand public sector ranks 8 th , with 7 Australian jurisdictions above and 2 Australian jurisdictions below New Zealand. New Zealand agencies ranked more strongly on average than government agencies in Tasmania and the Northern Territory, but weaker than all other Australian federal and state jurisdictions. 

Across the study, most organisations reported having whistleblowing policies and procedures, and systems for recording and tracking wrongdoing concerns, but

  • 23% of organizations had no particular system in place, nor any particular support strategy for staff who raise wrongdoing concerns;
  • Less than half of organisations (46%) provided staff with a management-designated support person if they raised concerns; and
  • Over 80% did not have processes for providing compensation or restitution to whistleblowers if they suffer detrimental outcomes.
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