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Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure

Policy number: NA

Version: 1.0

Approved by: Dr. Matthew Morell,  Director General 

Policy Owner: Head - Human Resources and Organizational Development (HR OD)

Effective date: July 2019

Review Date: 2024  - Update Required

To view the approved/signed version of this document, please click the button below. Where the interpretation of this policy is in question, the original document must be used.

Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure



    1. In line with IRRI's core values, code of conduct and mission the organization attaches great importance to identifying and remedying serious wrongdoing of anyone affiliated to IRRI through a confidential reporting procedure so that IRRI can address and correct inappropriate conduct and actions.

    2. This policy is primarily for concerns or disclosures where the interest of others or of IRRI is at risk. Such concerns or disclosures are ones that the individual(s) raising the concern reasonably believes have happened or there are strong risks of happening.

    3. Regardless of staff level type of employment or location, staff are encouraged to report concerns or complaints regarding the conduct of staff, managers, or Board members.

    4. All protected disclosures or complaints should be reported by the whistleblower as soon as possible after the matter comes to light. Undue delay can make it difficult or impossible to properly investigate.

    5. The individual raising the concern does not need to have firm evidence of malpractice before raising a concern. However, the individual is expected to explain as fully as they can and in good faith, the information or circumstances giving rise to their concern(s).

    6. IRRI will (as far as it is reasonable and possible) respect the wishes of staff who may ask that their concerns to be treated in confidence. 

    7. No staff member who whistle-blows in good faith will be penalized (for example being treated unfairly, subjected to unfounded allegations, overtly or subtly bullied of victimized) for bringing such issues to management’s attention.

    8. This policy provides an alternative route (Ethics hotline) for raising staff concerns. This provides a confidential anonymized reporting channel if the staff raising the concern does not feel able to raise it through normal internal line management channels due to a perceived conflict of interest. Staff opting for this route may do so because they perceive concerns may not get a fair hearing or that the concern is in their view sufficiently serious to escalate because there has been no progress in addressing the issue through normal line management channel.

    9. In addition, individuals have the option of reporting unethical activities they have witnessed or experienced (such as financial improprieties, sexual harassment, discriminatory practices, intimidation and conflict) to an external and confidential reporting hotline. This method of communication allows employees who witness unethical activities to report them in a confidential manner to enable management take prompt and appropriate action.


    1. This policy covers and applies to the entire IRRI workforce including directors, staff, hosted staff, consultants, and temporary or casual workers employed through an agency or volunteers. It is expected that whistleblowing policy principles and expectations will be relayed to third party suppliers as part of the contracting and renewal process. 

    2. Non-exhaustive examples of subject matter this policy applies to are: 

      • Criminal offences or activities
      • Exposing fraud
      • Financial mismanagement or corruption including accounting, internal controls or auditing matters.
      • Physical or emotional abuse of children, young people or vulnerable adults.
      • Health and safety issues concerning the workplace that puts the safety of workers or visitors at risk.
      • Failure to investigate allegations of sexual assault by one staff against another
      • Failure to comply with legal obligations, or likelihood of failure to comply with legal obligations 
      • Payments in exchange for awarding contracts 
      • Risks to the environment.
      • Deliberate concealment of information tending to show any of the above matters.
    3. What the policy does not cover - This policy is not a substitute for IRRI’s specific policies and procedures on matters such as personal grievances, bullying and harassment, health and safety, safeguarding issues (children and/or adults). It should also not be used to raise matters relating to a staff member’s own terms and conditions of service e.g. grading, salary, promotions etc. However, where there are no existing (specified) policy provision for the issue(s) of concern, these can be raised through the Whistleblowing Policy. 

    4. It is important for managers to understand that a complaint or allegation may fall within the scope of this policy and procedure even though the staff member might not actually write that they are “whistleblowing” or making a “protected disclosure”. Managers must recognize the nature of the complaint and if it is within the scope of this policy and procedure then it must be referred to one of the named persons in this policy. 


    1. A genuine whistleblower is protected from any damage to his/her career, name or reputation.

    2. Harassment or victimization of the whistle blower will not be tolerated and could constitute sufficient grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal of the staff member, causing such harassment.

    3. Every effort will be made to protect the identity of the subject and the whistleblower to the extent possible given the legitimate needs of law and the investigation.

    4. Whistleblowers are encouraged to immediately report acts of retribution or retaliation that has happened to them, as a result of their disclosure to the HR department or one of the ‘named persons’ in this policy or where there are inherent conflicts of interests via the ethics hotline.

    5. If reasonable and circumstances permit where there is clear evidence of a retaliatory action the retaliator may be temporarily reassigned or placed on special leave. F. Other staff assisting in a resulting investigation shall also be protected to the same extent as the Whistleblower.

    6. Genuine whistleblowers are accorded complete protection from any kind of unfair treatment however any abuse/misuse of this protection may warrant disciplinary action. H. In cases of evidence from an investigation indicating deliberate unscrupulous behavior or actions by the whistleblower, the dignity of victim shall be restored in as much as is possible alongside possible disciplinary action against the (misleading) whistleblower. 


    1. Whistleblowers are encouraged to put their names to allegations. Anonymous allegations will be investigated but are much less powerful and are more difficult for IRRI to act on. 

    2. IRRI does not encourage anonymous raising of concerns because this can make investigation challenging and sometimes impossible. IRRI has clear protections for individuals raising concerns and asks that they provide their name and contact details when raising concerns. 

    3. Nonetheless, IRRI offers two channels for the internal reporting of misconduct to ensure that staff have a range of reporting channels where they feel most comfortable and through a channel that avoid conflict of interest or ‘cause for consternation.’

    4. Ordinarily staff would not normally be expected to approach a member of the Board of Trustees in the first instance except in scenarios of long outstanding and unresolved delays or the concern relates to a director level staff or the Director General.

    5. There are two channels for reporting concerns. These are:

      • Named Persons (senior IRRI officers who are formally designated as whistleblowing contact points).
      • An external independent ethics hotline.

      These channels for reporting are not intended to be sequential so a whistleblower does not have to go through the first one before availing of the second.


    In the event that individual raising concerns are in genuine fear of retaliation there is a confidential and independent 24/7 multilingual reporting hotline run by an independent third party provider for the reporting of such concerns. The reporting hotline is an alternative and confidential method of communication to designated senior IRRI officers (Named Officers) formally entrusted with looking into concerns. It allows staff that witness unethical activities to report them in a confidential manner outside of the workplace.


    IRRI management will as a default look into concerns raised initially as a preliminary enquiry partly to ensure that the issue reported is not frivolous, spurious or vexatious and then as a full formal investigation.

    Decisions would typically be informed by the outcome of preliminary enquiries or a formal investigation and recommendations made based on a thorough examination of the findings. Where an improper practice, unethical behavior and/or actual or suspected fraud is proved, this could result in appropriate Disciplinary Action, including possible termination of service, if necessary, as well as review of systems processes, checks and balances to introduce preventive measures.

    Where the whistleblowing concern relates to staff in an IRRI country program where staff are employed by another agency, IRRI whistleblowing named officers will actively endeavor to confidentially and sensitively work with appropriate counterparts in the other agency on a need to know basis regarding i. A high level overview of the concern, ii. Update on the action being taken (investigation, decision, reporting etc).

    The conduct of an individual employed by a partner organization or IRRI collaborator can be reported through this policy and procedure. Alongside that it is expected that the whistleblowing concern and resulting decision will be relayed to such individuals’ parent organization through their established channels by an IRRI ‘Named Person’ as set out in the whistleblowing procedure.

    Subject to any legal constraints, the person making a Protected Disclosure will normally be informed of the final outcome of any investigation, after which the matter will stand closed. At the Director General’s discretion, it may be occasionally appropriate and necessary to communicate decisions to relevant external authorities. Where the concerning issue has implications for the wider CGIAR community or work funded by a donor, it is good practice to inform such third parties of the issue, actions taken and outcome as soon as possible and as necessary and appropriate. In sensitive and confidential cases these must be brought to the attention of the Director General as soon as possible. The Director General in concert with the Chair of the Board of Trustees’ will make the final determination.

    In circumstances where the concern raised is essentially a grievance against a senior officer or the Director General, this should be dealt with under the grievance policy and addressed to the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development who will raise it as necessary with the Chair of the Board of Trustees or the Chair of the Audit Committee.


    This policy should form part of core policy areas that are brought to the attention of all new staff as part of their orientation and onboarding. Practical and plenary workshops should be run periodically for all existing staff across IRRI globally.


    Audit Committee: Committee constituted by the IRRI Board of Trustees.

    Disciplinary Action: Any action taken against subject(s)of a whistleblowing issue, either including but not limited to warnings, suspension from official duties or any such action as is deemed reasonable, proportionate and fit considering the gravity of the violation.

    Good faith: Actions carried out in sincerity and honesty that is not malicious, false or frivolous.

    Integrity Officer: An individual assigned by the Director of HR & OD or a named officer to channel the complaint appropriately for triage and appropriate action. This typically is an appropriately senior HR representative or internal audit practitioner.

    Named Persons: Individuals formally designated in the whistleblowing policy as key contact points with responsibility for oversight /managing of individual whistleblowing incidents.

    Organization: The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and any of its component regional or country offices.

    Precautionary Action: Action(s) taken to protect, preserve integrity or confidentiality of investigation evidence gathering process, or individuals involved.

    Protected Disclosure: Any communication or reporting made in good faith that discloses or demonstrates any whistleblowing related action.

    Staff: All employees of IRRI globally including Directors in IRRI’s employment.

    Whistleblower: A staff member, Director, consultant, partner organization, who makes a protected disclosure, with the intent of safeguarding IRRI organizational interests.

    Whistleblowing: Raising the alarm in good faith with basic prima facie information.



    Whistleblowing procedures outlined here are intended to give practical application to the spirit and letter of the policy. This procedure may occasionally be revised to reflect local contexts or structural changes.


    The whistleblowing process applies in three ways:

    1. Raising concerns internally within IRRI.

    2. Raising concerns externally outside IRRI

    3. How IRRI will deal with the concerns raised.


    1. If staff raising a concern wish to make a complaint about employment or personal grievance, bullying harassment issues which are not directly connected with the ethical wellbeing of the organization, the grievance or bullying /harassment policy should be used. 

    2. If the concern is about misuse of funds, the IRRI code of conduct (misuse of funds policy) should be used in the first instance.


    Raising Concerns within IRRI

    Step 1:

    IRRI staff who become aware of any criminal wrongdoing on the part of colleagues, senior officers or others, or who have serious concerns about malpractice, theft or fraud which might adversely affect IRRI’s business or reputation, or might otherwise put at risk the health or safety of anyone, should first raise it in confidence with their immediate supervisor/line manager/team leader in writing immediately.

    In more serious cases or if the allegation is about the actions of their immediate supervisor/line manager, individuals should feel able to raise the issue with a more senior manager, bypassing lower levels of management or directly raising with one of the ‘Named Persons’ set out in this procedure. If raised with the more senior manager they can liaise with any one of the ‘named persons’ in this procedure.

    Step 2: Revision Required

    The method of disclosure: This could initially be verbal, however, it is expected that whistleblowing disclosures are in writing (a letter/email/memo) sent to one of the following ‘Named Persons’ or their designees.

    Named Persons Ola Fajobi
    Director HR & OD
    Phone: +63 (2) 580-5600 ext 2742 , Mobile: +63(917) 820 6848


    Angshu Sengupta
    Director of Finance
    Phone: +63 (2) 580-5600 ext 2549 Mobile: +63(917) 8544794


    Jacqueline d’A Hughes
    Deputy Director General (Research)

    If the individual raising the concern believes there are outstanding/unresolved issues, the issue involves staff at Director level or that there has been unreasonable delay in handling or addressing the concern they have raised they can contact the Director General or the named Trustee setting out in writing what they believe outstanding or unresolved issues are:

    Matthew Morell
    Chair of Audit Committee Director General

    Jim Godfrey
    Chair IRRI Board of Trustees

    If the whistleblowing relates to concerns in IRRI’s international country offices, these can be raised through country based ‘Named Officers’ below or via the ethics hotline.

    Rashmi Dhamija
    Corporate Services Manager (India Office)

    Elizabeth Ali
    Corporate Services Manager (Bangladesh)

    Alexandre Lucas
    Corporate Services Manager (Kenya Office)

    Raising Concerns outside of IRRI Confidentially (Ethics Hotline)

    1. A key aspect of IRRI’s commitment to management practices and work processes that nurtures high levels of integrity, ethical and moral conduct of our workforce, individuals can raise concerns via Lighthouse (an ethics reporting hotline) staffed by an independent and impartial third-party.

    2. The option to report to a confidential hotline assists with the early detection of unethical practices and encourages staff to make a protected disclosure 24/7 as well as circumstances where the individual wishes to be anonymous.

    3. Individuals making disclosures employee will have access to a multilingual reporting hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that a report can easily be filed outside of normal working hours. In addition to a toll-free hotline available in IRRI country office locations the toll- free line is available from almost anywhere globally, so the individual making disclosures can submit a report via alternative methods like email, or the internet.

    4. If the report is made via the ethics hotline, a ‘named person’ (or an investigator assigned by them) manages the disclosure as outlined in section 5 below.

    5. Details of the ethics reporting hotline are as below:

      Lighthouse Services Inc.


    Ethics Hotline Service

    1. Staff members may choose to submit anonymous concerns by using the ethics hotline. The ethics hotline is run by an independent third-party provider and is designed to protect the staff member’s confidentiality and anonymity, if requested.

    2. The hotline administrator does not record the telephone number of persons calling the hotline or retain the IP address or other identifying information of reports made via the website. The hotline provider will make every effort to protect the reporter’s identity but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

    3. The information provided in a hotline report may be the basis of a confidential internal and/or external investigation into the issue being reported and the staff member’s identity may become known during the course of an investigation because of the information provided. Reports to the hotline, including the identity of the reporter, will remain confidential to the extent reasonably possible.

    4. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides a web-based reporting capability as well as email, fax and a toll-free telephone-based service.

    5. To access the ethics hotline via the web, visit To access the ethics hotline via the telephone, dial 833-210-0002. (Non-US callers, click here details are pending contract commencement in July 2019 for international dialing instructions.). To send a report via email, use the email address To send a report via fax, dial (215) 689-3885.

    6. The hotline administrator who answers a call to the hotline will document the date, time, and duration of the call and collect pertinent information about the issue or request provided by the caller. This generally includes the names and titles (with correct spellings) of the persons involved in the issue being reported, when and where the issue occurred, information about the frequency of occurrence, how the caller learned of the issue, the existence of any documentation that would be useful in reviewing the issue, other persons aware of or notified about the issue, any steps taken to address the issue, and any other information that would be helpful to understanding and investigating the issue.

    7. This information is compiled into a call report, which is assigned a report identification number. The report identification number will be provided to the caller and the call report, including that number will be sent to the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development.

    8. For reports submitted through the website, the reporter will input the requested information (similar to that requested for telephone submissions) and receive a report identification number. The hotline administrator will send reports received through the hotline website to the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development.

    9. For whistleblowing concerns related to conduct in the HR & Organizational Development function these should be raised with the Director General as the Named Person.


    1. Issues of concerns & disclosure will (wherever possible) be acknowledged within 5 working days.

    2. Once a concern has been received directly or externally via the ethics hotline, it will be assessed and considered with regards to appropriate action to be taken. The named person who has been contacted will make every effort to deal with such disclosure in a fair & objective manner by either investigating the matter as quickly as possible or nominating an appropriate person to carry out an investigation.

    3. The investigation may involve an informal review, an internal inquiry or a more formal investigation. IRRI will inform the whistle blower of the individual who will be handling the matter, how they can be contacted and what further assistance (if any) may be required of the whistleblower.

    4. On completion of the investigation the named person will make recommendations on the appropriate course of action to the Director General /Chair of the Board (via the Director General) who will make the final decision. There is no right of appeal against the outcome/decision made under the whistleblowing policy. The exception to this is in circumstances where there remains outstanding/unresolved issues or that there has been protracted delay in handling or addressing the concern. Such appeals should be directly addressed to the Director General/ Chair of the Audit Committee or Chair of the IRRI Board of Trustees.

    5. The outcome and decisions resulting from the whistleblowing action may trigger the use of other IRRI processes that require further action. For example if the concern falls more properly within the grievance, bullying and harassment or other relevant procedures. The individual raising the concern will be informed of this where appropriate.


    The Director of Human Resources & Organizational Development (or an appropriately confidentiality vetted designate) will review reports and determine the appropriate next steps for investigating the matter.

    1. If the report relates to a staff member’s concern about an area unrelated to (1) an alleged violation of law or (2) business ethics and conduct, such as a question about benefits or compensation, the Director of Human Resources & Organizational Development will forward the report to the appropriate department.

    2. In some instances, the caller may want to follow-up on their report to determine the outcome of their initial report. Callers may contact the hotline and provide the report identification number assigned to their initial report. The hotline administrator will advise the caller about the status of their report.

    3. For reports submitted through the hotline website, reporters may follow-up through the website or by telephone for an update and reference the report identification number that was assigned when the initial report was submitted.

    4. Whether submitted by telephone or website, the Director of Human Resources & Organizational Development may determine that additional information would be helpful or is necessary for a thorough investigation of the report. In those instances, the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development may request additional information from the reporter by leaving such a request with the hotline administrator.

    5. Upon resolution of the issues raised in the report, the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development will notify the hotline administrator that the report has been resolved and the case is closed.

    6. Records pertaining to each report, the investigation, if any, and the disposition of the issue reported will be retained in accordance with IRRI’s record retention policy. The Director of Human Resources, or his or her designee, is also responsible for ensuring that such records are maintained in a secure location in order to protect confidential information.


    Whistleblowing investigations will be conducted in accordance with IRRI’s established practice and approach to investigations except where there are valid reasons to deviate from this for example to ensure the integrity of the wider whistle blowing process or the protection of the whistleblower.

    The investigation process and procedure will typically require:

    Preliminary Enquiry

    1. All complaints received are to be recorded and looked into “prima-facie” through a preliminary investigation.

    2. If preliminary inquiry indicates that the disclosure complaint has no merit/basis, or it is not a matter to be pursued under this policy, it may be dismissed by a formal communication in writing.

    3. Any of the ‘Named Officers’ may at their discretion, appoint a designated third party investigator during preliminary enquiry.

    Full Investigation

    1. Where preliminary enquiry indicates that further investigation is necessary, this will be carried out either by the ‘named person’, or their designated investigator(s).

    2. All Investigations must be conducted fairly, as a neutral fact finding process and without presumption of guilt.

    3. In the event of a full investigation, the investigator is required to prepare a written report on the findings.

    4. The investigation shall be completed as soon as possible and normally within 30 days of the receipt of the protected disclosure. This period is extendable as reasonable and necessary in individual circumstances by such period as the ‘named person’ deems fit.

  8. Roles & Responsibilities

    All staff managers and directors have a responsibility to promptly report any breach of IRRI’s Code of Conduct, values or subject matter areas covered under the whistleblowing policy. Roles and responsibilities of individuals involved the whistle blowing process are set out below.


    1. To report upon notice or being aware of, immediately improper practice, unethical behavior and/or actual or suspected fraud etc.

    2. Cooperate with investigating authorities, maintain full confidentiality.

    3. Seek full protection from retaliation/retribution. However, this does not extend to immunity for the whistleblower’s involvement in the matters that are subject of investigation.

    4. In exceptional cases, where the whistle blower in good faith believes that there remains outstanding/unresolved issues or that there continues to be unreasonable and protracted delay in handling or addressing the concern, they can directly appeal to the Director General or the Chair of the Audit Committee.

    Named Person /Designated Investigator 

    1. Ensure that the policy is properly implemented.

    2. Acknowledge receipt of complaint to the whistleblower.

    3. Record the initial enquiry.

    4. Ascertain prima facie the credibility of allegation/disclosure. If initial enquiry indicates further investigation is not required, close the issue.

    5. Ensure complete fact finding and conduct the enquiry in a fair and unbiased manner. F. Maintain strict confidentiality.

    6. Ensure that necessary safeguards are provided to the whistleblower.

    7. Determine facts and probabilities in the outcome of investigation and identify any/all violations committed and if so by whom.

    8. Recommend appropriate course of action.

    9. If sanctions such as suggested disciplinary actions (preventive measures and dismissals) are likely to be recommended the advice of the Director of Human Resources should be sought before finalizing recommendations.

    Person(s) Subject to Investigation 

    1. Provide full cooperation to the investigation team.

    2. Be informed of the outcome of the investigation. 

    3. Accept the decision of the Director General/ Chair of Audit Committee. D. Maintain strict confidentiality.

    Director General /Chair of the Board Audit Committee

    1. In situations where the Whistleblower directly approaches the Director General /Chair of the Audit Committee, either will refer the matter to the director level ‘named person’ in the policy or the designated investigator appointed by the named person.

    2. In the event that there is a conflict of interest in such complaint, the Director General will in consultation with the Director of HR & OD entrust the investigation to some other Officer (as appropriate) to investigate the matter as per the procedure above.

    3. If the Chair of the Audit Committee has a conflict of interest on the issue, the matter should be referred to the Chair of the Board of Trustees for resolution.

    4. After the Director General /Chair of the Audit Committee is provided with the investigation report recommendations, they are expected to reach a decision on and proceed with appropriate disciplinary action as established in IRRI’s disciplinary policy and procedure in consultation with the Director of HR & OD.

    5. The decision of Director General/ Chair of the Audit Committee shall be final and binding except in cases where the matter was referred to the Chair of the Board, where the decision of the Board of Trustees’ Chair will be final and binding.


    1. IRRI encourages individuals reporting whistleblowing concerns not to report such concerns anonymously unless they believe that it is essential to do so . However, if the individual has a genuinely held fear that they might face reprisals as a direct result of reporting their concerns they should avail of the independent external reporting facility (ethics hotline) that IRRI provides.

    2. Individuals raising a whistleblowing concern are encouraged to indicate how they believe the matter might best be resolved. While that may be obvious in many scenarios, this is not always the case.

    3. The whistleblower should always declare any personal interest they have in the matter.

    4. A whistleblower is protected under IRRI’s Whistleblowing policy when using IRRI approved reporting channels. A whistleblower who uses improper avenues (for example via external media/ social networking to raise concerns may lose their protection for anonymity, unfair treatment and unfair dismissal.

    5. Whenever possible, and subject to legal constraints the whistle blower will be informed of the final outcome of investigations relating to the concerns they have raised. IRRI may not be able to divulge details of precise actions taken where this would infringe duties of confidentiality IRRI owes to other parties. Following that the matter will be deemed closed in relation to the whistleblower.


    Q: What is whistleblowing?

    A: Whistleblowing is broadly defined as raising a concern or alarm in good faith on the basis of prima facie information the whistleblower has. Whistleblowing also covers the deliberate, voluntary disclosure of any suspected or anticipated misconduct within the Institute that is normally within its ability to control.

    Q: What is IRRI’s whistleblower policy?

    A: IRRI’s whistleblower policy reflects the Institute’s commitment to open and transparent corporate governance by creating channels staff can report conduct which is damaging to the interest of the Institute through a mechanism that also protects them from risk of subsequent retaliation.

    Q: Why did IRRI develop this policy?

    A: IRRI developed this policy to as part of its encouragement of staff engagement and open ongoing channels of communications so that staff members can report any violation of the Code of Conduct and other Institute policies. The policy also ensures that due process is respected by investigating reported infractions and appropriately addressing these.

    Q: What does the term whistleblower mean?

    A: The term “whistleblower” is a common global terminology for a person who exposes a wrong-doing, as well as a potential wrong-doing especially within an organization. It also refers to any staff member, director, consultant, partner organization, who makes a protected disclosure, with the intent of safeguarding IRRI organizational interests.

    Q: Can anyone be a whistleblower?

    A: Yes. All staff members working for the Institute, regardless of their position, type of employment, or location can be a whistle-blower.

    Q: What kinds of concerns or wrongdoing can I report? 

    A: Alleged wrongdoing is reportable when it occurs or is likely to occur, and may either be an act, or a failure to act. Staff can report concerns or complaints regarding conduct by IRRI Board and staff members which they seriously consider:

    1. Is a breach of, or failure to implement or comply with the Institute’s governing rules, procedures, policies, or established standards of practice, e.g. accounting, supply chain, human resources;

    2. Is illegal (e.g. fraud)

    3. Is unethical or inconsistent with the standards to which the Institute subscribes; d. Is, or will result in, a waste resources, or poses a risk to the Institute’s reputation and integrity;

    4. Represents scientific fraud (e.g. data falsification, plagiarism) or ethical violation (e.g. regarding use of data, authorship, rights);

    5. Is a dangerous practice likely to cause harm or damage to persons or property; g. Is an abuse of power or authority;

    6. Constitutes discrimination in the course of employment or in the provision of services;

    7. Represents a conflict of interest;

    8. Is an attempt to deliberately conceal any of the above acts or omissions.

    Q: Who should I direct and report my concerns to?

    A: There are two channels for internally reporting misconduct. Whistleblowers are encouraged to convey their concern verbally or in writing to their immediate supervisor in the first instance. Subsequent to that or if that is not appropriate, they should contact one of the following ‘named persons’ in the procedure:

    1. Director of Human Resources & Organizational Development

    2. Director General

    3. Director of Finance

    4. Deputy Director General (Research)

    5. Chief of Staff

    6. Corporate Services Managers (Country based)

    7. The Chair of IRRI’s Audit Committee/ Chair IRRI Board of Trustees

    Alternatively, staff can report concerns via the external ethics hotline. The hotline is run by an independent third-party provider and is designed to protect the staff member’s confidentiality and anonymity, if requested

    Q: What happens after I file my whistleblower report?

    A: The ‘named person’ who is the recipient of the whistleblower report will act immediately on any disclosure. Once the disclosure is received, an initial assessment and preliminary inquiry will be conducted to determine what action should be taken. If the concern is determined to fall within the whistleblower policy, an initial inquiry will be undertaken by the named person (or designee) to decide whether a formal investigation is appropriate.

    Urgent action if necessary may also be taken before any investigation is conducted, on completion of the investigation, the recipient of the disclosure will prepare a report which determines the existence or otherwise of misconduct, and presents recommendations to the Director General (via the Director of HR and OD) on appropriate action.

    Q: Will I be informed of the outcome of my reporting of misconduct concerns?

    A: Yes. IRRI acknowledges the right of the whistleblower to receive confirmation that the act or omission reported has been properly addressed. The whistleblower will be given as much feedback as appropriate in the circumstances. Subject to legal constraints, the whistleblower will be informed of the final outcome of the process.

    Q: If I think that my concerns cannot be properly addressed by the management, is there a reporting mechanism to the Board?

    A: There are no specific mechanisms for reporting concerns to the Board. Any such concerns should be set out in writing to the Chair of the Audit Committee (via the Director General)

    Q: Will my whistleblower concerns and report be held in confidence?

    A: Yes. IRRI will respect and protect the confidentiality discharging their duty in good faith as is appropriate and necessary of staff.

    Q: If I do not want to be identified, can I just make an anonymous report?

    A: IRRI encourages staff to ideally provide as full as possible details often including their name and contact details as all allegations need to be fully looked into and this facilitates the investigation of the matter that has been raised. In addition, whistleblowers are protected from retaliation or reprisals. However, staff have the option to confidentially report their concerns confidentially using the independent Ethics hotline.

    Q: If I am involved in a wrongdoing / misconduct will reporting it exempt me from penalty?

    A: No. The whistleblower policy will not shield whistleblowers from reasonable consequences flowing from any involvement in misconduct. A staff member’s liability for his/her own conduct is not affected by his/her disclosure of that conduct. However, in some circumstances, an admission may be a mitigating factor when considering disciplinary or other action.