Whistleblowing

Our firm is committed to dealing responsibly, openly and professionally with any concerns partners or team members may have about possible malpractice within the firm.

Introduction

Strong values have been at the heart of our organisation since its creation. One of our core values is integrity and our whistleblowing policy is fundamental to the maintaining this integrity. In addition, it reinforces the value the firm places on staff to be honest and respected members of their individual professions.

To ensure accountability and transparency it is important to have a mechanism that enables all individuals to voice concerns internally in a responsible and effective manner when they discover information which they believe shows serious malpractice. Our whistleblowing policy provides a method of properly addressing bona fide concerns that individuals within the firm might have, while also offering whistleblower’s protection from victimisation, harassment or disciplinary proceedings.

This policy has been designed in line with the terms of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (the “Act”), which sets out the framework for whistleblowing in Ireland. Further details of Protected Disclosures is found at Appendix 1 of Whistleblowing Policy.

Who does this policy apply to?

The policy applies to all Partners and staff, including those on permanent or fixed term contracts, to agency staff, consultants and contractors and to those on work experience.

What types of concerns are covered under this policy?

Whistleblowing is the confidential disclosure by an individual of any concern encountered in the workplace relating to a perceived risk, malpractice or wrongdoing. The firm considers examples of such wrongdoing or malpractice to include:

  • General malpractice – such as immoral, illegal or unethical conduct
  • Danger to health and safety
  • Danger to the environment
  • Breach of a legal obligation
  • Negligence on the part of the firm
  • Financial misconduct of the firm or any of its employee
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Potential infractions of audit (or other applicable) regulations; and
  • Potential infractions of the codes of conduct of all relevant professional institutions

A whistleblower making a “protected disclosure” under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 is given statutory protection (see appendix 1 – What is the Protected Disclosure Act 2014?). However protection for whistleblowers under the Act does not cover all incidences of wrongdoing you may be concerned with (see appendix 1 – What is a relevant wrongdoing?).

This policy does not cover concerns or complaints about your own personal employment position. These concerns should be raised through the firm’s grievance procedure.

Protections under this policy

  • All staff members are protected from victimisation, harassment or disciplinary action as a result of any disclosure, where the disclosure is made in good faith and is not made maliciously or for personal gain. Where disclosures are made in the public interest, staff will have statutory protection in Ireland under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (see Appendix 1).
  • Any disclosures will be investigated fully including interviews with all the witnesses and other parties involved.
  • The identity of the whistleblower will be protected at all stages in any internal matter. While the firm can provide internal anonymity, it cannot guarantee this will be retained if external legal action flows from the disclosure. The firm is not accountable for maintaining anonymity where the whistleblower has told others of the alleged misdemeanour.
  • Whilst the firm encourages whistleblowers to identify themselves, anonymous calls will nevertheless be taken seriously and investigated fully. However, the effectiveness of any whistleblowing enquiry may be limited where an individual chooses not to be identified.

Process for dealing with whistleblowing disclosures

Internal channels

Individuals may raise a concern through various channels:

  • The partner in charge of their service line
  • The partner in charge of their office or region
  • If the matter is of a compliance nature, to the Compliance Manager.
  • If the matter relates to money laundering or bribery to the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (Lorcan Colclough)
  • Concerns relating to an employment issue may be directed to the HR Manager or HR Director

If these contacts are unavailable, or if the whistleblower is concerned about making a disclosure to any of the above, they may make a disclosure to:

  • Head of Human Resources

All whistleblowing disclosures made to the parties above will be treated as confidential and will be reported to the Head of Human Resources.

The whistleblower should make it clear that they are making their disclosure within the terms of the firm’s whistleblowing policy. This will ensure the recipient of the disclosure realises this and takes the necessary action to investigate the disclosure and to protect the whistleblower’s identity.

By Mail

The Whistleblower can also make reports by mail. Postal reports (named or anonymous) should be sent to Olwen Richmond, Head of Human Resources, Mazars, Harcourt Centre, Block 3, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2, Ireland. Reports should be marked Private and Confidential, with the reference ‘Whistleblowing’.

Whistleblowing Hotline

Employees and external parties concerned about speaking to a member of staff can speak, in confidence, to an independent third party, Safecall. The Safecall service is available 24/7 365 days via the number below and allows you to speak to someone in your preferred language: 

Alternatively Safecall can be contacted via e-mail mazarsie@safecall.co.uk or via the web www.safecall.co.uk/report

Possible outcomes after reporting a concern

There will be no adverse consequences for anyone who reports a whistleblowing concern.

The following actions may be taken after investigation of the concern;

  • Disciplinary action (up to and including dismissal) against the wrongdoer dependant on the results of the investigation; or;
  • No action if the allegation proves unfounded.

The whistleblower will be kept informed of progress and the outcome of the investigation, within the constraints of maintaining confidentiality or observing legal restrictions generally, including who is handling the matter, if internal, how they can contact them and if further assistance required.

If the whislteblower feels that having exhausted all channels and that the matter still has not been properly investigated by the firm, there are various prescribed bodies with whom they can raise their concerns. Examples of these organisations are:

  • The Health & Safety Authority
  • The Environmental Protection Agency
  • The Central Bank of Ireland
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
  • The Irish Tax Institute

Record Keeping

A central record of all whistleblowing allegations will be held by the Ethics Partner who will report on the outcome of investigations to the National Executive and to the firm’s Independent Non-Executives.

Where a party wishes to make a complaint regarding our service please contact our Managing Partner at:

Mark Kennedy
Telephone: +353 (0)1 4494442
email: mkennedy@mazars.ie

Persons wishing to report a matter under whistleblowing regulations may contact our Head of Human Resources at:

Olwen Richmond
Telephone: +353 (0)1 4494400
email: orichmond@mazars.ie

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