Autumn 2014

Leading the Debate

Our international work continues apace. GoodCorporation teams have completed assessments in ten countries since the last issue in June, including Venezuela, Indonesia, Russia, Tunisia, Australia and Jordan, strengthening our expertise in helping businesses embed an ethical culture in a global marketplace.

Ethical culture remains high on the management agenda as businesses continue to acknowledge the role it plays in compliance, reputation management and risk mitigation.

Our Business Ethics Debates reflect this thinking. This month in Paris we debated anti-corruption compliance and third party risks; examined how to establish a speak-up culture in Brussels and in London we asked if business can be done ethically in the Middle East.

The Paris and London events were by invitation only, but the Brussels debate was part of the Compliance Week Europe annual conference. Details of the discussions will be posted on the Business Ethics Debate section of our website.

Speaking Up in the NHS



Promoting whistleblowing was a key recommendation of the public inquiry into the Staffordshire Hospital scandal. A number of steps have been taken in England, but the campaign group Patients First warns that there is still a ‘culture of fear’ in the NHS. According to an NHS national staff survey, the proportion of staff reporting being bullied, harassed and abused by colleagues has risen from 14 per cent in 2010 to 22 per cent in 2013.

Worse still, another recent NHS staff survey found that only 40 per cent of staff felt that concerns raised would be dealt with appropriately.

Following the recent scandals, NHS trusts are increasingly recognising that creating an open culture where staff and patients can speak up freely, without fear of reprisal is key to improving patient safety and preventing harm.

Regulators are looking for evidence that senior management in healthcare organisations have taken steps to create a ‘speak up’ culture, with robust whistleblowing systems effectively in place to ensure concerns are appropriately dealt with.

In addition to an open-door environment, the best solution is to have a separate, credible grievance procedure for handling individual complaints, with a separate whistleblowing mechanism to handle issues of general concern.

GoodCorporation can provide guidance on how to create an open-door culture, differentiating staff grievances from legitimate business concerns and establishing a credible whistleblowing system. Our Whistleblowing Framework helps organisations ensure that concerns can be raised without fear. We have experience in a range of commercial and public organisations including the BBC, the NHS and the Department of Health.

Embedding an Ethical Culture

Since the Bribery Act became law in 2011, GoodCorporation has conducted over 50 anti-corruption assessments around the globe to test whether organisations have succeeded in embedding adequate procedures to prevent corruption.

Many of our clients recognise that this can only be achieved by checking to see what is actually working on the ground: ensuring that the ethical culture set out by senior management is properly established.

Our approach to this usually begins with a high-level review of corporate policies relating to anti-bribery and corruption, involving face-to-face interviews with senior management and a critique of policies and procedures.

Following this, we recommend an in-depth audit at site level to test whether ABC practices are really embedded. Working with our own team, but often in partnership with the internal audit department, we interview managers, employees and suppliers at site and and head-office level to test the effectiveness of a company’s Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) programme. Anti-corruption clauses, invoice review procedures and other anti-corruption practices are all put to the test, resulting in a clear understanding of the effectiveness of the ABC programme and a plan of action to ensure it remains successfully embedded.

While the Bribery Act is yet to put anyone to the test, it is clear from Ministry of Justice guidance that regular monitoring and evaluating of anti-bribery procedures is considered a necessary part of anti-corruption mitigation.  Whether this is conducted internally or using external mechanisms such as the GoodCorporation Anti-Corruption Framework, organisations must ensure that practices and procedures are properly embedded, not just at head office, but throughout their operation.

In Brief...

GoodCorporation expands project management team

Senior consultants Jeremy Allan and Michael Clarke joined GoodCorporation’s project management team this Autumn to lead our assessment work across a variety of sectors.

Jeremy has over 15 years of professional services’ experience, holding senior positions at both Ernst & Young and KPMG. He has led global risk assurance programmes for FTSE 100 companies and carried out anti-corruption work in both the Middle East and the Americas. He has led sustainability programmes and has expertise in human resources, supply chain management and human rights.

Michael has senior management experience in both the public and private sectors, working for government and FTSE 100 organisations in healthcare and global security, including Serco and G4S. He has led the development and roll-out of global anti-corruption programmes and has particular expertise in stakeholder engagement and reputation management.

GoodCorporation has also extended its intern programme. Lisa Olsthoorn joins us from the Netherlands where she has recently obtained a masters degree in Conflict Studies. Prior to joining GoodCorporation, she undertook an internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. 

Getting to grips with gambling controls


As the Gambling Commission consults on new licensing standards that could include a social responsibility code as well as advertising restrictions, four of Britain’s biggest bookmakers have formed The Senet Group in a move to promote responsible gambling.

At this stage their initiatives focus on advertising: removing adverts for touch-screen roulette machines from their windows and refraining from advertising “free bet” sign-up offers on TV until after the watershed. However, there is also a proposal to fund an educational campaign on problem gambling and ensure that more responsible gaming messages are communicated.

While all this is welcome, it is still only scratching at the surface of responsibility.

In the goodblog, we argue that with participation in gambling activities on the rise in the UK, the industry should take a more proactive stance, monitoring for and intervening when problem gambling activity is detected. Our blog looks at the model that could be used and the steps that could be taken.

Read the story in full here.