On 13 March next, Law 2/2023 of 20 February will enter into force, which establishes the obligation to implement an “internal information system” or, in other words, a complaints channel.
What is a whistleblowing channel?
The internal reporting system is a whistleblowing channel through which any worker or professional related to the company can report to the company the possible commission of a serious or very serious offence or administrative offence.
Professionals and companies used to criminal compliance systems will be familiar with this new legal obligation, since when a criminal compliance plan was drawn up and implemented within a company, one of the consequences of this implementation was the creation of a channel or mailbox for complaints, either physical or telematic.
What kind of facts or offences can be reported in a whistleblowing channel?
Mainly, actions or omissions that may constitute serious and very serious criminal or administrative offences.
Does it only affect companies?
No, the aforementioned law applies to both the private and public sectors (municipal corporations, foundations, etc.).
Who can report through this channel?
In short, anyone who has been informed of an offence in a work or professional context.
What requirements must this whistleblowing channel meet?
- It must guarantee the confidentiality of the informant and of any third party mentioned in the communication or complaint, and of the actions carried out in the management and processing of the same.
- That they may be submitted in writing or verbally, or both.
- That it is received by the entity or body itself in the first place.
- That there is a person responsible for the system.
- A management procedure is in place.
- Have a policy or strategy that sets out the general principles for internal whistleblower information and defence systems, and that is known internally within the organisation.
Who can be responsible for the internal information system?
A natural person or a collegial body.
Who appoints him/her in the case of companies?
The management body, which will also approve a procedure for handling information or complaints.
If I do not do so, what am I exposed to?
Sanctions of up to 100,000 euros and upwards.
And one of the most important questions: is my company obliged to implement this internal information system?
If my company has 50 or more employees, yes, I am.
In short, this new regulation establishes a mechanism to prevent the commission of crimes and serious and very serious administrative offences. The basic idea, as far as companies are concerned, is not to establish a system of whistleblowers, but to promote a corporate culture that is as ethical and legal as possible.
What are the deadlines for implementing the whistleblowing channel?
- 13 June 2023 for companies with 250 employees or more
- 1 December 2023 for companies with between 50 and 249 employees
Another important conclusion that the new law allows us to reach is that, in relation to the requirement for organisations to have a policy or strategy that sets out the general principles regarding internal information and whistleblower protection systems, in parallel to the implementation of this whistleblowing channel or internal information system, it is more than necessary to have a criminal compliance system in place in your company or organisation.
If you have any doubts about how to implement this whistleblowing channel in your company or you would like us to help you, do not hesitate to contact us.
With offices in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Seville and an important international presence, Metricson is a pioneering firm in legal services for innovative and technological companies. Since its inception in 2009, it has advised more than 1,400 clients from 15 different countries, including startups, investors, large corporations, universities, institutions and governments.
If you would like to contact us, please do not hesitate to write to us at email@example.com. We look forward to talking to you!