Guidelines for reporting problematic conditions at NTNU.
Norsk versjon - Varsling
Table of Contents [-]
- What can you report?
- Who can report?
- Who should you report to?
- How to report
- NTNU follow-up of reported matters
- Whistleblowing guide in pdf format
- Notification procedures in pdf format
- Central links
What can you report? #
Whistleblowing is reporting breaches of:
- Laws and regulations
- Ethical norms
- Serious matters that might harm the university or society at large
According to The Working Environment Act (chapter 2-A) employees have the right, and in some instances the duty, to blow the whistle on problematic conditions at NTNU, such as when there might be danger to life and health.
We want you report any discovery of:
- Breaches of the Working Environment Act's regulations regarding victimization and harassment
- Environmental offences
- Economic matters such as corruption or misappropriation of funds
- Breaches of professional and research ethical guidelines
- Conditions that might represent a danger to life and health
- Activities that might cause damage to property or infrastructure
There will always be different opinions regarding decisions that are made, whether it concerns budget allocations, hiring, professional priorities or decisions pursuant to laws and regulations. Reporting these kinds of conflicts is not considered whistleblowing.
Who can report? #
NTNU employees, employee representatives, unions and safety deputies can report problematic conditions on their own or someone else's behalf. According to the Working Environment Act, employees have a duty to report victimization and harassment or breaches of NTNU safety regulations. NTNU students, external board members, customers and partners can also report problematic conditions.
If you are unsure of whether something should be reported or how you should proceed, you should consult your immediate supervisor. If the manager is involved in the matter, you can consult someone else that you trust.
Who should you report to? #
Reporting through official channels #
At NTNU we attempt to resolve matters as quickly as possible, and at the lowest possible level. If you discover problematic conditions, whether it concerns breaches of laws, norms or safety, you should consult your immediate supervisor. If you feel that the matter cannot be resolved locally, you can consult the manager on the level above (Dean/Head of Section). You have the right to have someone you trust accompanying you to meetings regarding the work environment. This could be someone from your union, your safety deputy or someone from the HSE department.
Reporting on the NTNU level #
If you feel that the matter has not been resolved, or that it cannot be resolved through official channels, you may bring the matter up to the NTNU level. Reporting on the NTNU level should be an alternative channel, and should not replace ordinary conflict resolution and communication with the responsible managers.
The Rector has given the NTNU Human Resources Manager the responsibility of following up on reported matters at this level, regardless of the subject.
External reporting #
If internal reporting at NTNU does not resolve the matter, or if you consider it not to be appropriate, you may alert supervisory authorities such as the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Police or the Ministry. You may also alert an external lawyer.
Use of the media #
You should be very careful if you choose to use the media to attract attention to problematic conditions. Proper reporting of problematic conditions is a prerequisite in order to be protected by the Working Environment Act's regulations for the protection of whistleblowers. Following NTNU notification procedures (internally at NTNU or via an external lawyer or supervision authority) is considered proper reporting.
How to report #
You have the right to present your opinion to a manager who has the possibility to do something about the matter. Reporting can be done in different ways, such as via mail, e-mail, telephone or verbally. However, in order for us to be able to follow up the matter, it is important that you let us know whether you consider it to be a matter that should be reported.
You should also give as precise a description of the matter as possible:
- What are you reporting?
- Where and when did it occur?
- Who is involved/are there witnesses?
- Any knowledge of previous matters?
Whoever receives the report is responsible for making a written presentation of the matter. If you only made a verbal report, you should ask to receive the written presentation for approval. The presentation will be used to assess whether the reporting was warranted, and what can be done to resolve the matter.
For further follow-up, it is best if you can come forward with your full name. NTNU will, to the best of their ability, make sure that your identity as a whistleblower is not known to more people than is absolutely necessary for dealing with the matter. If you want to remain anonymous you can use your safety deputy, union, HSE department or lawyer as an intermediary. That way, they can address the matter with NTNU without disclosing your identity. In this case, no one can demand to know your identity unless the matter ends up in court.
Proper reporting #
Both the whistleblower and those who are tasked with investigating the matter are responsible for the proper processing of the matter. This means, among other things, that we respect the confidentiality of personal matters, do not act in a defamatory manner, and that persons who blow the whistle in good faith are protected against retaliation from their employer, even if the investigation determines that there were no sufficient grounds for reporting the matter.
NTNU follow-up of reported matters #
The follow-up will vary due to the seriousness of the matter and what it is about. As a whistleblower, you will not necessarily be a part of the case and have access to the case documents, but you will be informed of the outcome when the case is concluded.
Follow-up through official channels #
NTNU managers with human resources responsibilities are obliged to act as quickly as possible when they are made aware of problematic conditions involving employees in their own unit. The manager must contact the involved parties to familiarize themselves with the matter at hand. If the matter concerns the working environment, the safety deputy and/or the employee representative should be involved.
If the matter cannot be resolved through conversation between the involved parties, and grounds for reporting appear to be present, a written factual account must be made. In addition to the whistleblowers presentation, supplementing information must be obtained to illuminate the matter from different perspectives (e.g. involved parties). The factual account should allow an assessment of whether laws, norms or regulations have been breached. The report should also comment on possible solutions to resolve the problem. Managers should not hesitate to seek assistance from the faculty or central departments.
If a manager is prejudiced or lacks the right to make decisions, or if the matter takes too much time, it must be brought up to the next level. If the matter is transferred to the faculty/department level or the NTNU level, it is per definition a reported matter. Whoever receives the report must then gather information about the matter and how it has been handled.
Follow-up on the NTNU level #
When reporting on the NTNU level, the Human Resources Manager must make sure that the facts are clarified. The Human Resources Manager can involve a lawyer or other competent assistance to get a professional assessment of the matter. In complicated matters, an investigation group led by a lawyer will be appointed to investigate the facts for the Rector. If the NTNU management could be involved, the leader of the investigation group reports to the board, the Ministry or the relevant supervision authority. In case of particularly serious breaches of the law, the Rector will alert the relevant supervision authority.
Whistleblowing guide in pdf format #
Notification procedures in pdf format #
Central links #
- The Working Environment Act
- Guidelines for the preparation of local whistleblowing routines in state government institutions (in Norwegian)
- Ethics portal (NTNU)
- Code of conduct for the public service sector (pdf, in Norwegian)
- Guidelines for research ethics (in Norwegian)
- Ot.prp. nr.84 (2005-2006)- On the law and changes in the Working Environment Act (in Norwegian)