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Denmark

Anonymous Whistleblower Portals for Justice System Employees (DK0070)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Denmark Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Danish Ministry of Justice

Support Institution(s): The unit responsible for the various whistle-blower schemes depends on the authority. - The Danish Ministry of Justice: The Digitisation Unit of the Concern - The State Prosecutor: The Danish Attorney General, the Data Pro-tection Unit - The Police: National Police of Denmark, Inspections and Controls Unit - The Danish Security and Intelligence Service: Legal Section - The prison service: The Management and Communication of the Concern – from the 1st of January 2020 The Legal Section of the Con-cern

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, E-Government, Justice, Open Justice, Policing & Corrections, Public Service Delivery, Whistleblower Protections

IRM Review

IRM Report: Denmark Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

What is the social problem that the commitment will address?
A number of cases, such as the Tibet case, have led to considerations of what tools could be deployed to help bring to light information about criticisable situations within the authorities so they can be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Setting up whistle-blower schemes within the sphere of the Danish Ministry of Justice will increase the likelihood that information of this nature will be made public, thus contributing to-wards a culture of openness.

What does the commitment entail?
The commitment involves setting up whistle-blower schemes in the prosecutions service, the police, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), the prison service and the Ministry of Justice depart-ment. Employees of the authorities involved can use the schemes. The scheme can also be used by partners with whom the authorities are engaged in a more ongoing or formalised collaboration, and their employees. Information can be reported about serious issues that are of importance to how the authorities perform their tasks. As a rule, in-formation can be reported via an electronic whistle-blower portal, where it will also be possible to communicate with whistle-blowers who do not wish to reveal their identity.

How will the commitment contrib-ute towards solving the social problem?
The establishment of whistle-blower schemes, in which information can be reported without revealing your identity and where the authori-ties are also able to communicate with anonymous whistle-blowers to shed further light on the case, will make it more likely that employees or partners will express their concern about criticisable conduct within the authorities, without fearing negative consequences with regard to their employment. This will make it more likely that errors and omis-sions by the authorities will be discovered, thus raising standards in the services that the authorities provide.

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
The whistle-blower schemes will make it more likely that employees and partners can report information about criticisable situations within the authorities, thus contributing to a culture characterised by trans-parency and openness. The commitment contributes towards increased public responsibility. Setting up the whistle-blower schemes will open a route whereby in-formation about criticisable situations within the authorities can be re-ported. It will increase the likelihood that errors and omissions will be discovered, thus raising standards in the services provided by the au-thorities.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Whistleblower schemes within the Danish Ministry of Justice

Main Objective

"The commitment involves setting up whistleblower schemes in the prosecutions service, the police, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), the prison service and the Ministry of Justice department. Employees of the authorities involved can use the schemes. The scheme can also be used by partners with whom the authorities are engaged in a more ongoing or formalised collaboration, and their employees. Information can be reported about serious issues that are of importance to how the authorities perform their tasks. As a rule, information can be reported via an electronic whistleblower portal, where it will also be possible to communicate with whistleblowers who do not wish to reveal their identity." [26]

Milestones

  • Ongoing reporting with regard to the whistleblower schemes within the sphere of the Danish Ministry of Justice

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Denmark's action plan at https://digst.dk/media/21659/ogp-nap-2019-2021-english.pdf, pp. 23-25.

IRM Design Report Assessment

Verifiable:

Yes

Relevant:

Access to Information, Public Accountability

Potential impact:

Moderate

Commitment Analysis
This commitment seeks to introduce whistleblower protection mechanisms within the sphere of the Danish Ministry of Justice. The commitment's objectives include protecting employees against negative consequences when raising legitimate concerns of mismanagement within the targeted authorities, through the use of anonymised reporting channels. Consequently, this is expected to lead to an increase in reporting of such cases and thus improve the services of public authorities. The commitment precedes EU's Directive on Whistleblowing, which entered into force on 16 December 2019 requiring all EU Member States, including Denmark, to transpose its provisions into their national legal and institutional systems by December 2021. [27] This will include mandatory whistleblower protection for private companies and public institutions, and will require employers to inform employees of the function and purpose of whistleblower mechanisms. [28] This commitment responds to a recommendation from the IRM Design Report for the 2017-2019 action plan. [29] However, it should be noted that this commitment in particular, only applies to authorities within the Ministry of Justice, and is not a general introduction of whistleblower schemes or legislation in Denmark, which is currently taking place outside the OGP framework.

The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of public accountability as it provides employees within the Ministry of Justice, including external parties, with anonymised channels to report on misconduct or corruption without facing any form of repercussion. Such channels will primarily be comprised of online portals within the responsible authorities that protect the identity of individuals who want to raise concerns. That agency will then undertake an initial analysis in accordance with the official guidelines and assess whether or not a case falls under the application of the whistleblower mechanism before an actual investigation can take place. [30] Furthermore, the commitment calls for annual reporting with regards to whistleblower schemes, which is relevant to the OGP value of access to information.

Prior to this commitment, whistleblower protection has only been mandatory in certain sectors, e.g. the financial sector. The introduction of whistleblower protection schemes (i.e. tangible systems and guidelines for whistleblowers to report abuse) within the sphere of the Ministry of Justice is a direct response to previous cases of misconduct within public law enforcement agencies. Most notably, the so-called 'Tibet case' in 2012 witnessed the obstruction of a citizen demonstration in front of Chinese officials based on illegitimate orders from the police. Despite knowing of such misconduct, many police officers were reluctant to report their observations to management until several years after the incident. [31] Additionally, Danish work culture is characterised by a high level of confidentiality and the principle of employees' duty of loyalty. However, employees in the public sector have had to undergo long court processes in cases where they have violated confidentiality for the sake of reporting unacceptable practice. [32]

The introduction of whistleblower schemes within the sphere of the Ministry of Justice is a noteworthy addition to the public work culture in Denmark. Developing a proper whistleblowing culture in the Ministry of Justice could help reduce cases of corruption while contributing to workers' legal safety and well-being. Danish civil society has welcomed the introduction of whistleblower schemes as a means to better ensure the safety and basic rights of employees through secure and anonymised investigation channels. There are concerns, however, around the lack of participation of employees in designing the schemes, as well as the extent to which potential investigations will be conducted by independent actors. [33] Furthermore, according to an interviewed civil society representative, the ambition of the commitment is limited when taking into consideration that Denmark is already required to implement the above-mentioned EU directive on whistleblower protection. The representative also emphasised that it is important to raise awareness of the whistleblowing schemes through dissemination efforts and seminars to illustrate their legitimacy as a tool for accountability. [34]

Based on the above-mentioned discussions on the implementation of whistleblower schemes, the IRM researcher recommends that the Ministry of Justice:

  • Give civil society access to annual reports and the opportunity to comment on them;
  • Undertake broader awareness-raising campaigns for employees with the purpose of ensuring constructive perceptions of whistleblower schemes.
[26] Danish Agency for Digitisation, "The Danish OGP National Action Plan 2019–2021," https://digst.dk/media/21659/ogp-nap-2019-2021-english.pdf
[27] Transparency International, A Vital Chance for Whistleblower Protection, https://www.transparency.org/en/blog/a-vital-chance-for-whistleblower-protection
[28] The Directive is applicable for companies with more than 50 staff members and municipalities with more than 10.000 inhabitants. Council of the European Union, "Bedre beskyttelse af whistleblowere: Nye EU-regler træder i kraft i 2021", https://www.consilium.europa.eu/da/press/press-releases/2019/10/07/better-protection-of-whistle-blowers-new-eu-wide-rules-to-kick-in-in-2021/
[29] Danish Agency for Digitisation, "The Danish OGP National Action Plan 2019–2021," https://digst.dk/media/21659/ogp-nap-2019-2021-english.pdf
[30] Ministry of Justice, "Fælles retningslinjer for whistleblowerordningerne på Justitsministeriets område, 3 August 2020.
[31] "Rigspolitichef Åbner Whistleblowerordning til betjenet efter Tibet sag", 15 June 2018, https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/rigspolitichef-aabner-whistleblower-ordning-til-betjente-efter-tibet-sag
[33] Danish Association of Lawyers and Economists, "Whistleblowerordninger på vej i hele staten", https://www.djoefbladet.dk/artikler/2019/2/whistleblowerordninger-p-aa--vej-i-hele-staten.aspx
[34] Interview with Marina Buch Kristensen, Transparency International Denmark, 24 April 2020.

Commitments

  1. Platform for Citizens to Access Data the Government Holds about Them

    DK0068, 2019, Data Stewardship and Privacy

  2. Oversight Body for Social Services Claims

    DK0069, 2019, Access to Justice

  3. Anonymous Whistleblower Portals for Justice System Employees

    DK0070, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  4. Open National Archives Data

    DK0064, 2019, Access to Information

  5. Open Workplace Health and Safety Data

    DK0065, 2019, Access to Information

  6. Climate Atlas

    DK0066, 2019, Access to Information

  7. Publish Terrain, Climate, and Water Data

    DK0067, 2019, Access to Information

  8. Open Data for Citizens and Media

    DK0050, 2017, Access to Information

  9. Data Registers on a Shared Public Distribution Platform

    DK0051, 2017, E-Government

  10. Information Portal for Day-Care Facilities

    DK0052, 2017, E-Government

  11. Open Data and Smart City Forum

    DK0053, 2017, Access to Information

  12. Open Data DK

    DK0054, 2017, Access to Information

  13. Overview of Own Cases and Benefits

    DK0055, 2017, E-Government

  14. Nationwide Deployment of Telemedicine

    DK0056, 2017, E-Government

  15. My Log

    DK0057, 2017, E-Government

  16. Civil Society National Strategy

    DK0058, 2017, Marginalized Communities

  17. Report a Rule

    DK0059, 2017, E-Government

  18. OGP Forum

    DK0060, 2017, Public Participation

  19. Denmark’S Country Program for Uganda

    DK0061, 2017, Aid

  20. The 18Th International Anti-Corruption Conference

    DK0062, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  21. IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative)

    DK0063, 2017, Access to Information

  22. Service Check of Local Government Consultations

    DK0034, 2014, Public Participation

  23. Call on All Municipalities to Facilitate Advance Voting

    DK0035, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  24. Letter of Invitation to First-Time Voters Urging Them to Vote

    DK0036, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  25. User Friendliness Requirements Regarding Digital Self-Service Solutions

    DK0037, 2014, Capacity Building

  26. Plan for Inclusion During the Transition to Digital Communication

    DK0038, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Common Public Sector Digital Communication Campaign

    DK0039, 2014, Capacity Building

  28. Principles for Collaboration on the Modernisation of the Public Sector as Well as the Establishment of a Centre for Public Innovation

    DK0040, 2014, Capacity Building

  29. “Free Municipality” Pilot Projects

    DK0041, 2014, Subnational

  30. Recommendations from Growth Teams

    DK0042, 2014, Private Sector

  31. Strategy for Digital Welfare

    DK0043, 2014, E-Government

  32. Implementation of a New Charter for Interaction Between Volunteer Denmark/Associations Denmark and the Public Sector

    DK0044, 2014, Civic Space

  33. “Open Data Innovation Strategy” (ODIS)

    DK0045, 2014, Access to Information

  34. Data Distributor for the Distribution of Basic Data

    DK0046, 2014, Access to Information

  35. Open Government Camp 2014

    DK0047, 2014, Capacity Building

  36. Open Government Assistance to Myanmar

    DK0048, 2014, Aid

  37. Opening Key Public Datasets

    DK0049, 2014, Access to Information

  38. Online Open Government Partnership Community

    DK0001, 2012, E-Government

  39. Online OGP Handbook for Public Authorities and Institutions

    DK0002, 2012, E-Government

  40. Starred commitment Management Labs and New Forms of Co-Operation

    DK0003, 2012, Public Participation

  41. Consultation and Transparency of Development Aid Programmes: Design Aid Programmes

    DK0004, 2012, Aid

  42. Innovate with Aarhus

    DK0005, 2012, Capacity Building

  43. Citizen Self-Services: Increasing the Use of User Ratings in the Citizen’s Port Borger.Dk

    DK0006, 2012, E-Government

  44. Open Government Camp

    DK0007, 2012, Public Participation

  45. Renewed Effort for Open Government Data

    DK0008, 2012, Access to Information

  46. Regional Initiative on Open Data

    DK0009, 2012, Access to Information

  47. Reuse of Open Source Software in the Public Sector

    DK0010, 2012, E-Government

  48. Citizen Self-Services: Binding Guidelines for Self-Service Solutions

    DK0011, 2012, Capacity Building

  49. Citizen Self-Services: Guidance and Information on Accessibility to Digital Solutions

    DK0012, 2012, E-Government

  50. Citizen Self-Services: Peer-To-Peer Learning Programmes to Help Citizens Use Digital Self-Service

    DK0013, 2012, Capacity Building

  51. Citizen Self-Services: Location-Based Content and Re-Use of Content in Borger.Dk

    DK0014, 2012, E-Government

  52. Less Reporting Through Increased Re-Use of Key Data

    DK0015, 2012, E-Government

  53. Mypage” for Businesses

    DK0016, 2012, E-Government

  54. Companies to Be “Born Digitally”

    DK0017, 2012, E-Government

  55. Creating a Mediation and Complaints Institution for Responsible Business Behaviour

    DK0018, 2012, Human Rights

  56. International Human Rights Conference

    DK0019, 2012, Human Rights

  57. Promote Social Responsibility in the Fashion Business

    DK0020, 2012, Private Sector

  58. Reporting on Human Rights and the Climate

    DK0021, 2012, Human Rights

  59. Country by Country Reporting in the Extractive and Forestry Industries

    DK0022, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  60. Legislative Principles for the Digital Age

    DK0023, 2012, Open Parliaments

  61. Consolidated Key Data

    DK0024, 2012, E-Government

  62. App Store for Digital Learning Resources

    DK0025, 2012, E-Government

  63. Starred commitment Preparing a Digital Reform of the Public Welfare Areas

    DK0026, 2012, E-Government

  64. Consultation and Transparency of Development Aid Programmes: Transparency in Aid

    DK0027, 2012, Aid

  65. Tracking Progress of Universities’ Transition to Digital-Only Administrative Communication

    DK0028, 2012, Education

  66. Disclosure of Status Reporting From the National IT Project Council

    DK0029, 2012, E-Government

  67. Overview of Public ICT Architecture

    DK0030, 2012, E-Government

  68. Publication of Educational Materials on the Government’s ICT Project Model

    DK0031, 2012, Capacity Building

  69. Smart Aarhus and Smart Region: Smart Aarhus

    DK0032, 2012, E-Government

  70. Smart Aarhus and Smart Region: Smart Region

    DK0033, 2012, E-Government

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