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Whistleblowing function – Reporting wrongdoings

You who are, or have been, active at the University of Gävle have the opportunity to report suspicions of misconduct.

New Whistleblowing Act

Under the new Whistleblowing Act (2021:890), the University of Gävle is obliged to establish an internal reporting channel (a whistleblowing function). The reporting function enables individuals engaged at the University to report suspected wrongdoings of general interest, such as corruption or legal acts that violate environmental protection or public procurement regulations.

Who can submit a report and what does the law mean by “wrongdoing”?

The law specifies who can submit a whistleblower report and be protected by the law. In short that encompasses people who:

  • will begin to work at the University
  • is working at the University
  • has worked at the University in the past

Employees, trainees and voluntary workers are included. Student and people outside the University are normally not included, unless they will work, are working, or have worked for the University and discovered wrongdoings.

The terms ‘general interest’ and ‘wrongdoing’

A whistleblowing report may concern wrongdoings that pose an imminent or manifest danger to life, health or safety, or a risk of extensive environmental damage, or some other matter that there is legitimate reason to report to the authority, e.g. financial irregularities. It could for example be unethical research practices, bribes, fraud, theft, or other situations where an individual receives personal gains from their position, or somebody close to them receive benefits. You can also report serious misconduct and breach of internal rules and policies.

Whistleblowing is not intended as a remedy for wrongdoings associated with an individual’s own employment situation. In such situations there are other ways to report problems, for example by contacting the HR-department, the health and safety officers, or the union.

Prohibition against punishing a person who reports wrongdoings

A person who has reported an employer for serious wrongdoings must not be subjected to reprisals. Examples of reprisals by an employer include ordering an employee to work unreasonable overtime or giving a whistleblower a heavier workload or working duties for which they are overqualified. Reprisals may even be such badgering and harassment for which the victim can submit a complaint to the Equality Ombudsman.

Public access to official documents and secrecy in the whistleblowing function

When a report or complaint is received by the University of Gävle, it is registered and given a reference number. As UU is a public authority, your message may become an official document. This means that anyone has the right to request access to it.

However, a whistleblowing message may be classified as confidential. The University therefore always carries out a confidentiality assessment that may result in a decision not to disclose information that is covered by secrecy regulations. A decision not to disclose official documents can be appealed to a court of law.

With effect from 17 December 2021, a new provision in the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (SFS 2009:400, Chapter 17, Section 3b) is intended to protect the identity of whistleblowers in the public sector. Secrecy applies to information that could reveal the identity of the person making the report in a follow-up case. The term ‘follow-up case’ refers, for example, to information revealed in a report about wrongdoings received via a whistleblowing function and information consisting of feedback to the person making the report.

Submitting a report

The University does not currently offer a digital form or similar for submitting whistleblowing reports. The reason for this is that it is almost impossible to guarantee anonymity when offering digital contact forms. Even if the whistleblower uses an anonymous e-mail address to submit the report, the user’s IP address is collected by digital forms and similar.

Due to these technical issues, if you wish to be anonymous when submitting a report the University recommends using regular mail. If you wish to be contacted by the University, you may write down an e-mail address to which the University can send replies or further questions to you, while you yourself always use regular mail in your responses. This will ensure that you receive responses quickly and without having to reveal your identity.

If you wish to submit a report digitally but remain anonymous, the University recommends creating an e-mail address only for that specific purpose, and only send e-mails from it from public computers at for example a library.

When you write in, write “Whistleblow” in your letter or e-mail, so that the content and intention is obvious to the registrar.

You can also submit a report by calling or visiting the registry office at the University.

The registry office is the receiving office of your report.

The contact details are:

Registrator

Högskolan i Gävle
801 76 Gävle

E-mail registrator@hig.se

Telephone 026-64 85 13

Other alternatives for reporting wrongdoings

If you’re uncertain if the whistleblower function is the right thing for your needs there are many other alternatives to report wrongdoings. The correct channel for submitting a report varies depending on the issue, but may for example be:

  • The head of your unit, or the head of a higher level in the organization
  • The HR-department
  • The University’s jurist
  • The student and PhD student ombudsman
  • The student union

If none of these alternatives or the whistleblowing function seems like the correct choice for you, you may also always use your constitutional right to report wrongdoings to the media. You may also turn to other government agency, such as the Equality Ombudsman (DO) or the Parliamentary Ombudsman (JO).

Published by: Veronica Liljeroth Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2022-07-17
Högskolan i Gävle
www.hig.se
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)