With our Hintbox, companies and authorities can offer up to 3 internal reporting channels. Whistleblowers can also submit reports anonymously via the Hintbox in a GDPR- and whistleblower-directive-compliant digital way. In addition, whistleblowers can also use the optional digital whistleblower hotline to report compliance violations. The reports received via VoiceBot are also integrated into the Hintbox dashboard. A third optional email channel allows whistleblowers to submit information about violations via email. Email addresses are issued by Hintbox to maintain confidentiality. Incoming reports via email are also integrated into the Hintbox case management system.

The following article provides an overview of the legal framework and aspects of each communication channel.

Legal requirements for whistleblower systems

The EU Whistleblower Directive requires companies with 50 or more employees and legal entities in the public sector to provide internal reporting channels and procedures for internal reporting. In particular, these internal reporting channels must maintain the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower and third parties mentioned in the report.

According to the Directive, reporting channels must allow for reporting in written or oral form. Oral reports must be possible by telephone or other means of voice transmission. Recital 53 of the Whistleblower Directive explicitly mentions online platform or a telephone hotline as possible reporting channels.

Digital whistleblower systems offer the most advantages

Digital whistleblower systems have the advantage of being very good at preserving the confidentiality and anonymity of whistleblowers. The whistleblower’s data is not stored in the company or authority, but with an external provider. This allows authorization concepts to be implemented in a targeted manner. This enables authorized persons, such as the company’s or authority’s compliance officers, to access the incoming reports. In addition, whistleblower systems, such as Hintbox, offer end-to-end encryption. This ensures a high level of data privacy and data security. In addition, the compliance officer and also anonymous whistleblowers can communicate mutually with each other in encrypted form via digital whistleblower systems. Companies can therefore use this reporting channel in particular to make inquiries in order to obtain further useful information for a case.

Advantage of digital whistleblower hotlines (VoiceBot)

Digital whistleblower hotlines offer advantages for companies and public authorities as an additional internal reporting channel. Especially employees or business partners, can submit their reports quickly and easily with a phone call. Such digital whistleblower hotlines, like the Hintbox, are available 24/7. The Hintbox phone lines are offered via a VoiceBot, so whistleblowers have the ability to submit tips at any time and from anywhere in the world. Such reports are then integrated into the Hintbox dashboard, ensuring that follow-up actions are handled in compliance with the GDPR and Whistleblower Directive. This is a key advantage over taking cases via telephone hotlines in the analog way.

Advantages and disadvantages of e-mail

Submitting reports via “classic” e-mails generally entails considerable disadvantages. If the company offers its employees an e-mail address as a reporting channel, there is a particular risk of a lack of confidentiality. This is because the company’s internal IT, such as administrators, basically has the possibility of reading such e-mails.

However, the situation is different if such e-mail addresses are also provided by an external whistleblower system provider and such e-mails are integrated into the whistleblower system. Then there is no risk to the confidentiality of whistleblowers because only authorized persons can access messages.

Offer 3 reporting channels with one Hintbox

With our Hintbox, companies and authorities have the possibility to offer up to 3 communication channels at the same time: Via the digital reporting channel, whistleblowers can also submit reports anonymously at any time. Via a digital whistleblower hotline with a VoiceBot, whistleblowers receive another simple reporting procedure. The incoming reports of this whistleblower hotline are automatically integrated as a case into the Hintbox dashboard, so that a GDPR-compliant further processing of this data can take place. The same applies with emails (e.g. “compliance-report@company-xyz.com“) provided by Hintbox. These emails are also integrated into the Hintbox case management system as a new case.

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