Reporting irregularities with the support of the Whistleblowing Act
The Act on protection of persons who report irregularities (Whistleblowing Act), entered into force on 17 December 2021. The Act enables the reporting of irregularities in a work-related context when it is in the public interest that the irregularities come to light.
As of 17 July 2022, the University has an internal reporting channel for reporting irregularities. Read the information below before you report an irregularity.
Purpose and scope
The basis for the Whistleblowing Act is an EU directive that aims to make it easier to report a contravention of EU regulations in the areas of public procurement, financial services, products and markets, the prevention of money-laundering and funding of terrorism, product safety and product conformity, transport safety, environmental protection, radiation protection and nuclear safety, food and animal feed safety, animal health and well-being, public health, consumer protection, protection of privacy and personal data, and security in network and information systems. The directive also aims to increase protection for those who report irregularities.
In addition, the Swedish Whistleblowing Act covers reporting of irregularities of such gravity that addressing the irregularities is in the public interest.
Circumstances that solely concern an individual’s own work situation are generally not covered, as there are other mechanisms and regulations for managing this type of circumstance (such as organisations focusing on health and safety or the work environment).
What does the law entail?
The Whistleblowing Act entails that people cannot be held responsible for breaching a duty of confidentiality, for example.
However, this does not apply to the duty of confidentiality regarding military defence inventions, classified information that is security-protected pursuant to the Protective Security Act or information affecting national security.
The protection also does not apply to a person who commits an offence by making a report.
Please note that all employees in a public sector organisation, with no risk of sanctions, can submit information to the mass media for publication. This is supported by their constitutional right relating to the freedom to communicate information.
Persons working at the University may report irregularities that arise in the University’s activities through the internal reporting channel. Such persons are:
- persons who otherwise carry out work under the operator’s supervision and management
- self-employed workers
Irregularities could be actions or omissions of a serious nature such as contravention of laws, wastage of public funds, and infringement of rules concerning procurement, financial services, environmental protection, radiation safety, public health and personal data.
An irregularity of public interest means that there is a general interest or need that concerns all citizens. Corruption and irregular conduct are in principle always such irregularities that are of public interest.
Complaints regarding a conflict between the reporting person and another employee are not covered, and neither are situations that solely concern the reporting person’s own work or employment circumstances.
Whistleblowers are protected
If you report irregularities covered by the Whistleblowing Act, you are protected against reprisals. This applies if you are among the group of reporting persons protected by the Act. Students do not have this protection in their capacity as a student but may be protected if they are seeking a job, employed in some capacity, employed on an hourly basis, receiving a stipend or have a similar situation at the University.
To be covered by the protection, you do not need to know for certain that the irregularity you are reporting is not permitted. It is sufficient that you have reasonable grounds for suspecting that it is not permitted.
If you report an irregularity, you must state your identity in order for the University to judge whether you are in the group covered by protection under the Act. If this is the case, your identity is protected by secrecy, find out more below. Therefore, you cannot be anonymous when you report an irregularity in accordance with the Whistleblowing Act.
Why you are protected
Protection is to ensure that the person reporting an irregularity is not punished or subject to reprisals by the employer. The protection may also be extended to other persons so that no one close to the reporting person is punished.
Public access to information and secrecy
Information in a report of an irregularity may be covered by secrecy. This applies to the reporting person’s identity but may also apply to other information. When someone requests access to documents or information in a whistleblowing case, the University therefore always conducts a secrecy assessment, which may entail that information covered by secrecy is not disclosed. A decision not to disclose public documents can be appealed through legal proceedings by the person making the request for documents or information.
You can report an irregularity through the University’s internal channel, find out more below. In the channel, you can choose to submit your report in writing, ask to be contacted by telephone to make an oral report, or ask to have a face-to-face meeting at which you can submit your report.
You can report an irregularity here ( link to electronic form):
You can also submit a written report by post to this address: Lund University, Box 117, 221 00 LUND.
The report is to contain a description that is as clear as possible of what the irregularity consists of and who or what it concerns.
What happens next?
Within seven (7) days, you will receive a confirmation that the University has received your report. The confirmation includes a registration number that you can use when contacting the University.
The report is received by specially appointed authorised officials who assess whether the report is covered by the Whistleblowing Act. Thereafter, the authorised officials assess the accuracy of what has been reported and, if required, propose that the University takes further measures to process what has been reported.
If the investigation requires it, and you have submitted your contact details, you may be contacted by an authorised official.
Within three (3) months of the confirmation, you will receive feedback outlining the measures that the University has taken as a consequence of the report.
If what is reported is not covered by the Whistleblowing Act, the University determines how the report will be handled. In this case, your identity as a reporting person is not covered by secrecy.
If you need advice and support, you can contact your employee organisation.