Every G4S employee has a responsibility to ensure that they uphold our core values, adhere to the law and deliver against the important commitments set out in our business ethics policy and ethics code. One of the key methods of ensuring that we maintain high standards of ethics and integrity is to ensure that employees are able to report concerns that they may have about the business, or the activities of individuals, that they believe contravene our ethics code.
Following a review of our whistleblowing policy in 2014 by a specially formed Ethics Steering Group, we launched our new and enhanced whistleblowing process in September 2015. Hosted by an independent specialist hotline and case management provider, Speak Out allows all G4S employees and former employees to raise ethical matters of concern online or via a free telephone service. Both channels are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are completely confidential.
Accompanying the launch of Speak Out, we have developed a range of communication materials to raise awareness and encourage employees to report any concerns or wrongdoing. The new case management system enables us to better record, manage and report on whistleblowing cases. This integrated system gives us greater visibility of the issues and what, if any, are the common themes. It offers employees greater visibility of the status of their case and any investigations. Cases of wrongdoing can be reported here.
Another area that has been improved is the way we select and appoint the people who carry out investigations. In addition to the internal audit team, we have appointed a wider network of investigators (all of whom have received additional training) with the integrity and expertise to deal with confidential matters relating to financial issues, ethical issues, bribery issues, or issues relating to any of our policies as they arise.
The ethics steering group will continue to oversee the successful implementation of Speak Out, monitoring its caseload and carrying out as well as carrying out regular review of cases being reported, investigation progress and resulting actions.
In 2016 we completed the global implementation of our new whistleblowing hotline and case management system, receiving 402 reports from our employees between 1st January and 31st December.
During 2017 we have received a total of 300 reports from our employees through our global whistleblowing hotline and case management system, Speak Out! This was 25% fewer than the previous year, but detailed analysis shows that employee grievances are being reported and handled more effectively via other channels. We believe it is very important that employees feel confident to speak out confidentially to ensure standards are met to protect people.
One of our core values, Integrity, highlights the importance of always doing the right thing, and our Speak Out Global Hotline, encourages our people to do just that – to blow the whistle and report concerns about serious wrongdoing, such as breaches of laws, regulations or company policy.