Listen Up! Our new research on listed European and APAC companies shows increasing visibility of “speak up” arrangements

In my last blog, I revealed our UK research focussing on the visibility of reporting arrangements in the UK’s FTSE 100 companies. If you missed it – you can see the research here.

We also undertook similar research on European-listed companies (refreshing the research that we undertook back in 2014) as well as on companies listed in the APAC region. I’m very pleased to be able to unveil our key findings in this blog here for Europe and here for APAC.

We have also been speaking to our employment colleagues across our global practice about the research to get their thoughts and insights. We will be sharing those in an upcoming vlog – so watch this space!

In the meantime, here are the highlights from our 2018 European and APAC research:

1. Visibility
  • In 2018, 91% of top European companies publicly refer to having a reporting channel for concerns, compared to 79% back in 2014.  Of the 91% of companies that publicly reference a reporting channel in 2018, only 50% make the policy publicly available.
  • For APAC-listed companies, our 2018 research found that 82% of companies publicly refer to having a reporting channel.  Of that 82%, a high proportion – 76% – make the policy publicly available.
2. Who can report?
  • A similar proportion of European and APAC companies (20% and 18% respectively) state that anyone can make a speaking up report.  More commonly, policies limit reporting to either employees only, or to employees and other categories of staff, such as contractors and agency staff.
3. What issues can be reported?
  • In common with the findings of our UK research, our research of European and APAC companies indicates that reporting channels are available for a wide range of concerns including personal abuses, corruption, data protection and information issues, environmental concerns, trade concerns, market integrity and financial and workplace malpractice.
4. What channels are available?
  • Our research shows that it is common across Europe and APAC (and in line with our UK findings) for multiple reporting channels to be referred to in policies.  The most commonly referred-to channels include a dedicated phoneline and dedicated email address.  Interestingly, while in Europe it is quite common for policies to refer people to line management if they have a concern, this was a far less commonly referred-to channel across APAC companies.
  • Independent, externally-managed reporting channels were more common in Europe (29% of companies) than in APAC (21%).
5. Who is responsible?
  • Across both the European and APAC research, policies referred to a wide range of persons or functions as being responsible for overseeing reporting arrangements.  An interesting finding from our APAC research was that 11% of companies referred publicly to having a dedicated whistleblowing function or officer – which was a much higher proportion than in the UK or Europe, where (at least according to publicly available sources) only 1% (UK) and 2% (Europe) of companies referred to a dedicated whistleblowing function or officer.

Our research shows the trends and direction of travel for speak up arrangements across Europe and APAC. We hope you find the results interesting / insightful and keep an eye out for our upcoming vlog!