The Spanish Whistleblowing Act requires companies to include an internal whistleblowing channel in the event of an unlawful act occurring within the company’s premises.

Why a Whistleblowing System Manager?

Article 8 of the Whistleblowing Act requires the appointment of a System Manager. Henceforth for the whistleblowing channel, who may be a natural person or a collegiate body. Secondly, the company must designate one of its employees to be in charge of managing and processing communications. With the collegiate body in the event that a complaint is registered.

The Spanish Whistleblowing Act clarifies that, in the case of a private sector company, the System Manager. Equally, a natural person or the entity to whom the responsible collegiate entity has delegated its functions, shall be a manager of the entity.

On the other hand, in the case of groups of companies, the law establishes rules about System Managers. Specifically may be either one person for the whole group of companies or one person for each company in the group.

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Appointment of the whistleblowing System Manager

This System Manager must act freely and without being pressured or mandated by any colleague in his or her company. If a group of companies has several System Managers, they may send relevant information to each other with complete freedom, for the proper functioning of the processing of complaints, as long as they respect the privacy of their communications.

It is important to remember that the appointments and dismissals of the System Managers must be notified to the Independent Authority for Whistleblower Protection or, where appropriate, to the authorities and other bodies in the regions, justifying the reasons for the appointment or dismissal.

In those entities or bodies in which a person responsible for the regulatory compliance function or for the management of integrity policies has already been appointed, this employee may be appointed as System Manager, if he/she meets the requirements set out in the Spanish Whistleblowing Act.

Duties of the whistleblowing System Manager

In this way, this person will have to comply with certain obligations, especially when an internal whistleblowing complaint is being handled:

  • Send notification of receipt of the communication to the whistleblower, within the period required by law.
  • Reply to the proceedings of the investigation.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the whistleblower at all times, including with regard to the company’s management bodies.
  • Maintain communication with the whistleblower in the event that further information is required on the facts of the complaint.
  • Inform the whistleblower of his or her rights and the actions he or she can take to protect his or her rights within the company.
  • Always maintain respect for the presumption of innocence and the honour of the persons concerned.
  • Forward all relevant information to the Public Prosecutor’s Office immediately when the facts could be indicative of a criminal charge. If the facts affect the financial interests of the European Union, the matter shall be referred to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
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