REUTERS |

Expolink’s new Whistleblowing Benchmarking Report has revealed the latest trends in workplace whistleblowing.

The report analyses 18,335 whistleblowing disclosures made by the employees of more than 650 organisations worldwide. All disclosures were submitted through Expolink’s independent Speak Up service during 2018.

I have picked out five key highlights for compliance teams to consider.

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REUTERS |

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in October 2017, workplace sexual harassment has gained unprecedented public attention across the globe. Allegations of harassment and abuse have been levelled against hundreds of high-profile business people, including prominent figures in the legal industry.

Today, the International Bar Association (IBA) published its landmark report on bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession. The report details the results of a global survey of almost 7,000 legal professionals from 135 countries, the largest ever survey of this kind. It provides empirical confirmation of what many have long suspected: that the legal profession has a problem with bullying and sexual harassment, resulting in highly-qualified professionals leaving the industry. In-house legal teams are far from being an exception.

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REUTERS | Russell Boyce

In the 9 years since the Bribery Act 2010 (the Act) came into force there has been a notable lack of case law. At the time the Act was made law this was the strictest anti-bribery legislation in the world and it is therefore interesting that so few prosecutions or deferred prosecution agreements have resulted from it. Key concepts such as the defence of adequate procedures are still ill-defined, leaving compliance programmes with a distinct lack of certainty. On 14th March 2019 the House of Lords published their post-legislative review of the Act. The report makes for welcome reading highlighting several key areas of concern. For the full report, see here.

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REUTERS | Jason Lee

Rapidly after the UN Guiding Principles were endorsed at the highest UN levels in 2011, setting a clear expectation of all companies to consider and manage human rights impacts they could be connected to throughout their business regardless of applicable national laws, leading companies started to think about what this human rights responsibility meant in practice when acquiring new businesses or divesting old ones.

Today, the field has moved on even further. We are witnessing a significant change: the question of why lawyers should do this is being replaced by how they should do it.

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REUTERS | Navesh Chitrakar

To discuss board best practices in the oversight of internal audit by the audit committee and the board, NEDonBoard recently welcomed:

  • Kathie Child-Villiers. SID and chair of the audit committee of Utilitywise, NED at Bank of Montreal Capital Markets Ltd and chair of the board of Constantine Group Ltd. Kathie is a former corporate finance adviser in the energy sector with large investment banks.
  • Iain Cornish. Chair of St. James’s Place Wealth Management, member of the audit committee of Arrow Global Group plc and Treasurer of MacMillan Cancer Support. Iain is the former CEO of Yorkshire Building Society and former independent director of the PRA.
  • Mary Hardy. Board member and audit committee chair of Sensyne Health plc, the Oil and Gas Authority, and the Royal Navy and the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association. Mary is a former director of internal audit for Diageo, Transport for London and the London Olympics (as part of her role as head of risk assurance).

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REUTERS |

While some organisations have reviewed their systems and worked to ensure they don’t fall foul of Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (the Act), a number are treating this legislation with apathy. If you fall into the latter, or are not aware of this legislation and what it means for your organisation, read on…

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REUTERS |

Organisations rely on individuals, particularly employees, to bring to their attention information on actual or potential misconduct that may be occurring in the workplace. The fear of retaliation including a resultant negative impact on career prospects can cause major worry for employees who wish to speak up about their concerns. An obvious way to mitigate these concerns is to allow reports to be made anonymously.

There is still trepidation from many about how realistic it is to maintain anonymity either because the details shared in a report reveal identities, too many people are given access to a report or, more worryingly, because someone, for whatever reason seeks to uncover the individual, such as the well-publicised 2016 case at Barclays Bank.

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REUTERS | Gene Blevins

Clyde & Co recently hosted a NEDonBoard panel discussion that touched on the role of directors and officers (D&O) insurance in mitigating directors’ personal liability. During the discussion, Francis Kean, Director at Willis Towers Watson, pointed out that a company will usually stand behind its non-executive directors (NEDs) when it comes to personal liability, provided they have not acted dishonestly. However, as part of their due diligence, NEDs should check whether their actions while performing their director duties will be covered by an adequate D&O insurance taken out by the company.

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