The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) issues a report on its review of whistle-blower policies and practices in UN system organizations JIU/REP/2018/4

Whistle-blowing and protection against retaliation (PAR) policies and practices are essential components of organizational accountability and integrity. This topic has taken on increasing importance in recent years given several high profile cases of whistle-blowers from United Nations system organizations who have gone public for a variety of reasons. This review focuses on assessing the effectiveness of policies, processes and procedures associated with PAR and its implementation across 28 United Nations system organizations and makes nine recommendations directed to the executive heads of United Nations system organizations for implementation.

Recommendations include revising PAR policies in line with best practices; reviewing the independence of relevant staff functions; creating clear reporting channels for misconduct/wrongdoing and for appeals mechanisms, improving communication and outreach strategies, and strengthening Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handling misconduct/wrong-doing cases to proactively prevent retaliation; and creating separate SOPs for handling retaliation cases. Additionally, executive heads are called on to provide targeted training for managers on how to handle misconduct and retaliation allegations, as well as to regularly conduct global surveys to gauge staff feedback on ethics-related topics.

Two recommendations are addressed to legislative bodies, who are called on to ensure that policies and procedures are in place by 2020 to specifically address allegations against executive heads, that functions with a key role in misconduct/wrongdoing and retaliation cases are appropriately independent, and that they report regularly on their activities to the legislative body.