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What is your ethics hotline telling you about compliance risks?

Miguel Rueda ( is responsible for managing the ethics reporting program in a global enterprise based in Canada.

I have been reading, triaging, and investigating ethics line reports for more than 15 years, and during this time, I have been fortunate to take part in the development of many ethics strategy initiatives, including the setup of internal reporting processes from original implementation to reasonable levels of maturity.

If your company has strong ethics, a robust code of conduct, investigating protocols, and disciplinary procedures, why does it need an ethics reporting line? Many times, the ethics line does not get a proper level of appreciation and care, often viewed as just a system to receive confidential reports. It is, however, an essential part of a robust compliance program and the greater organization. Indeed, it is much more than just a tool for whistleblowers, so I use the term “ethics line,” opposed to “whistleblower line” (other alternative terms include “help line” and “integrity line,” among others).

With the compliance professional’s help in turning the ethics line from a necessary evil into a strategic tool that can provide insight and measurable benefits, an organization can achieve maturation. This article will provide recommendations for how to effectively manage your ethics reporting program and demonstrate its value.

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