In an increasingly regulated and transparent world, organizations, whether they are companies, municipalities or professional associations, have a responsibility to establish systems for reporting irregularities. Within this structure, the whistleblower channel emerges as a key element. Let’s see how it applies to professional associations and their legal imperative.

Why do professional associations need a whistleblower channel?

Professional associations, being public law corporations, are obliged to implement a complaints channel. Contrary to what happens with the whistleblower channel for companies, its obligatory nature does not lie in the number of members or employees, but in its legal nature.

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This implementation not only reinforces the company’s corporate social responsibility policy but is also vital to comply with legislation.

The Law 2/2023 also known as the Whistleblower Protection Act, is the law that governs these channels in professional associations.

This law not only aligns with the European Whistleblowing Directive, but also aims to protect whistleblowers, also known as “whistleblowers“from possible retaliation.

Characteristics and benefits of the whistleblower channel

Key features of this channel include its accessibility, the possibility of anonymous reporting and the protection of the whistleblower’s identity. The implementation of this channel is not only a legal obligation, but it also offers advantages in terms of transparency and trust.

In addition, the channel can be managed internally or through an external provider. However, the external option, such as the external complaints channel is more advisable, as it tends to simplify and expedite the process, ensuring compliance with the compliance and backed by the expertise of a compliance officer.

Steps for implementation and risks of not doing so

To establish this channel, professional associations must:

  1. Decide how complaints will be handled.
  2. Designate a System Manager.
  3. Create a protocol and regulations.
  4. Register the complaints received.
  5. Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO).
  6. Communicate the whistleblower channel both internally and externally.

Failure to comply with these obligations may result in penalties significant, in particular, fines of up to 1 million euros.

Conclusion

Professional associations, like other organizations, have a clear responsibility to establish transparent and effective complaint mechanisms. These tools not only promote integrity, but also protect whistleblowers and ensure legal compliance.

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