Government announces whistleblower procedures for public sector

More transparency is required when it comes to reporting illegalities at work in the civil service and state organs

A number of recent high-profile cases have highlighted the need for a system to allow employees in the state sector to take concerns regarding work further without being punished or sacked.

One such has been the so-called ‘Tibet case’, where police illegally stepped in to confiscate Tibetan flags from demonstrators in order not to cause embarrassment to visiting Chinese dignitaries. Subsequent enquiries have failed to discover who gave the orders.

READ ALSO: Justice ministry estimates up to 200 eligible for compensation in Tibet case

Don’t be afraid to speak out
In an article in Berlingske yesterday PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, together with the justice minister and foreign minister, announced that there ought to be an anonymous whistleblowing system established for state employees.

“As a rule, the public sector functions well but just lately, there have been some glaring exceptions,” the ministers wrote.

As well as the Tibet case, the swindle carried out by Britta Nielsen, a 64-year-old suspected of embezzling 111 million kroner from the state over a period of 16 years, was also highlighted.

Rough justice
The justice ministry has been the one where there have been most problems so from March 1, employees in the police, probation service and justice ministry will be able to report anonymously on things that they consider infringe the law. Staff will also be able to report mistakes, illegalities and neglect.

This could include breaches of internal guidelines, cases of conflict of interest, misuse of official travel and illegal receipt of gifts.

A welcome initiative
The initiative has been welcomed by the association for people with master’s degrees and PhDs, Dansk Magisterforening, that counts a number of civil servants in its ranks.

“If you see failings at work that at the same time you can’t do anything about, it leads to moral stress. This initiative ought to alleviate that,” said the association’s chair, Camilla Gregersen.

“We hope that the rest of the public sector and the private sector follow this lead, but right now, this is an important step forward,” she added.

The system is envisaged to work by employees utilising a computerised reporting system in which the recipient will be able to ask for more details but where the anonymity of the person reporting will be maintained.

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