Whistleblowing Investigation – The Golden Hour

Categories: ,

In whistleblowing terms, the Golden Hour describes the period immediately following an incident or an offence when material is abundant and readily available.

When anyone uses a speak up hotline, positive action should be taken by a whistleblowing report manager in the period immediately following the whistleblower report of a crime or breach of company policy.

These actions minimise the deletion or destruction of material and maximise the chance of securing material that will be admissible in court, employee discipline or internal procedures.

All material from a whistleblowing incident might be judged as admissible under certain circumstances

There are a number of general principles, however, that mean some material might not pass the evidential test… for example: hearsay testimony, intelligence reports or evidence of opinion.

Even though the material is of a type that is generally not admissible, it does not mean that it should not be gathered or that it will not assist in the whistleblowing investigation.

Such material might be highly valuable in setting parameters for other investigative activities or generating lines of enquiry that may produce other relevant, reliable, and admissible material, and should, therefore, always be gathered.

Fast track actions to take after a whistleblowing report

During the Golden Hour period there are a number of actions which, where possible, require an immediate response by the whistleblowing report manager initially contacted (the Responsible Person) or the whistleblowing investigation officer.

If you are investigating a whistleblowing incident that involves health and safety incident, bullying, harassment, corruption, assault, damage to property etc. there is usually a scene or multiple scenes where the event took place.

Although every case differs the following actions are recommended:

  • Visit and preserve the actual scene to restrict access and enable the gathering of forensic evidence it may become part of an external agency investigation.
  • Draw a sketch plan of the scene.
  • Take photographs or video the scene.
  • Ensure the seizure and securing of documents, computer and telecoms data.
  • Establish who had access at the time.
  • Secure any incident reports, duty rosters or CCTV

To ensure and maintain the integrity of the investigation actions the following should be considered:

  • Restricting staff members access to IT systems.
  • Restricting staff members access to buildings offices.
  • Relocate staff members.
  • Suspension of staff members.
Looking for a whistle blower policy template?

Implementing a clear whistleblowing policy encourages a culture where concerns are raised early. This makes it easier for employers to address concerns and potentially prevent serious wrongdoing and reputational damage before being reported to regulatory bodies or the press.

Download your FREE Whistleblowing Policy Template 

About Safecall Ltd

Safecall is an outsourced whistleblowing hotline services provider to businesses and organisations around the world.

For over 20 years we have been providing a specialist and independent whistleblower hotlinetraining and investigation service that helps to protect business reputations and keep employees safe.

We have a people first ethos, with all our call handlers having first-hand experience of the issues reported. We pride ourselves on our style, which is conversational and empathic.  None of our calls are scripted and we are experts at taking high quality reports. 

Safecall’s whistleblowing hotline operates from a UK call centre, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week all year round.  Serving businesses in the UK, Europe and over 150 countries around the globe, conversing in over 170 different languages.

We help businesses and organisations who want to tackle a variety of whistleblowing issues including potential racism, sexism, fraud, discrimination, bribery, health and safety violations, modern slavery, bullying, and violence in the workplace.  

We also offer highly skilled investigations training and bespoke support that utilises our expertise.

We are proud to be a Law Debenture company.  Law Debenture was founded in 1889 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.  It is recognised globally for its expertise in longstanding investment trusts and is a leading provider of independent governance and transactional support services. Clients include large corporates, law firms, banks or funds, private equity, SMEs, hedge funds, start-ups, and private clients.

Need to Talk to a Whistleblowing System Expert?

Call us on +44 (0) 191516 7720

If you need to give us more detailed information about your business, get in touch.