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Our mantra is Integrity or Nothing. We so firmly believe in the value of integrity at a personal and organizational level, that we have made it the only course that we champion. It is for this reason that we have structured our service offering to be absolutely cost and operationally efficient, like no other. No organization should miss out on the immense value of an externally hosted ethics and integrity hotline. This is the value against which Speak Out Hotline Service was founded.
What we believe
At Speak Out Hotline Service, we believe that sustainable organizations whether profit or not-for-profit, are those that underpin their operations on ethical principles, good governance and compliance to laws and regulations. Organizational strategies and structures, policies, processes and procedures, desired culture and behavior, and selection of people, skills and competencies are all modeled with ethical, good governance and compliance considerations at heart. Consequently, it is our mission at Speak Out Hotline Service to independently provide a safe avenue for your stakeholders to confidentially report information that they deem contrary to expected ethical, good governance and compliance norms. This safe avenue provides otherwise inaccessible insight to those with the high fiduciary responsibility such as a Board of Directors and Senior Management team, and control functions such as Internal Audit, Risk Management and Compliance on incidences that are imminent or have already happened that could threaten the organization’s sustainability.
What experience shows
According to the biennial Reports to the Nations published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE);
With regard to occupational fraud and abuse including but not limited to corruption, asset misappropriation and fraudulent financial reporting, tip offs are by far the most common initial detection method accounting for at least 40% of the cases.
Corruption is the most common scheme and is particularly likely to be detected by tip offs
Employees provide over half of the tips and nearly a third are received from outside parties in the order of customers, anonymous outsiders, suppliers and competitors
Perpetrators of occupational fraud and abuse range from junior employees to senior management and Board of Directors with the correlation that the more senior in authority the perpetrator, the greater the size of the loss
Organizations on average lose 5% of their annual revenue to occupational fraud and abuse
Organizations with hotlines detected fraud by tips more often than those without a hotline
According to the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI), supervisors or middle level managers play a critical role in influencing the ethical cultures within organizations. In almost all cases, strong supervisor leadership was associated with better ethics outcomes. Employees who worked with supervisors who exhibited strong leadership qualities were more likely to trust their organization with regard to the reporting of misconduct and accountability. In many organizations, supervisors are the only people in leadership positions that employees interact with on a daily basis. As a result, their behavior serves as a proxy for the values and priorities of senior leadership and the organization, as a whole. However, according to the 2019 Global Business Ethics Survey conducted by the ECI, one-third to one-half of employees do not feel valued by their direct supervisor and over one-half of employees do not feel their direct supervisor provides valuable feedback nor do they encourage professional development. Consequently, though employees would at first prefer to raise ethical concerns with their direct supervisors, the survey showed that the employees would either ignore the concerns or report to an ethics hotline if they concluded their direct supervisors had weak leadership skills, which the survey also concluded to be the case.
From the foregoing insights, it is undoubtedly a mission critical move to have in place an effective tip-off hotline. Leading practice is to have the tip-off hotline hosted outside the organization to substantially increase the level of confidence among users that anonymity and confidentiality will be reasonably protected, and that the reported information will receive the necessary attention and action in an unbiased manner.
With the proliferation of social media, it has become common place for anonymous reports on ethical, governance and compliance failures to be publicized to a wide reaching audience with potentially irreparable damage to the organization’s reputation. An effective tip-off hotline that leads to decisive, consequential action will serve to avert to a great extent, the devastating effects of negative social media publicity arising when stakeholders are forced to choose between going public and ignoring incidents.
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