How does your organisation manage a mixed complaint?

Mixed complaints can pose challenges for organisations as how to best manage them. A mixed complaint is a complaint that includes information that qualifies for whistleblower protections (such as fraud or corrupt conduct), and information that does not qualify for protections and is workplace behaviour related (such as bullying).

A problem with how mixed complaints are managed is that organisations tend to split the complaint.

The protected disclosure component of the complaint goes in one direction and the misconduct/grievance goes in the other direction. For example, the Whistleblower Protection Officer, Legal Counsel or Integrity Team may manage the information that is to be treated as a protected disclosure, and the Employee Relations or People and Culture team may manage the workplace misconduct component of the complaint.

Does this mean that the two parts of the complaint are too different to be resolved alongside each other and ‘never the twain shall meet’?

What about the wellbeing of complainant, the discloser? They can be effectively stuck-in-the-middle, and all too often not communicated with as to how the complaint is being dealt with. This may not only be unsettling for the discloser, but also may create another issue for the organisation as a psychosocial risk due to the stress the process puts on the discloser.

Along with poor or non-existent communication with the discloser, some other consequences from poorly handled mixed reports can be:

  • Worse treatment and repercussions for the discloser
  • Mixed complaints can take longer to resolve
  • Highlight shortcomings with organisational procedural and interpersonal justice
  • Reduced likelihood that wrongdoing will be being found and dealt with.

Using an external whistleblower and complaints management platform helps organisations manage the complexities of mixed complaints and maintaining communication with the complainant.

At PKF, we specialise in managing whistleblower and other types of conduct complaints with the added benefit of an independent whistleblower and conduct complaints management system. Our platform allows for confidential, ongoing communication with the complainant, event when the complaint is anonymous.

Your next step is to identify an effective external whistleblower and complaints management mechanism, that will provide a platform that your staff can trust, to lodge a complaint. That their complaint will be dealt with impartially and that the staff member will feel that their anonymity can be protected.

A high-quality external whistleblower and complaints management service should deliver the following benefits:

  • Confidentiality, impartiality, and anonymity are ensured
  • 24-hour online reporting, email, and telephone call service
  • Investigators and call takers with expertise in obtaining quality information from callers (no call centre)
  • Access controls
  • Secure data management with all data retained in Australia
  • De-identified reporting capability.

At PKF, we specialise in managing whistleblower and other types of conduct complaints with the added benefit of an independent whistleblower and conduct complaints management system. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to learn more.

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