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WPP sees dramatic surge in whistleblowers; close to 500 staff reports come up in 2021

The agency has seen a sharp surge in employees contacting their whistleblower helpline

WPP has seen a dramatic surge in employees contacting their whistleblower helpline, named Right to Speak, which is anonymous with their concerns. There has been a big jump in whistleblowing incidents rising from 200 in 2018 to 361 in 2019, 418 in 2020 and 494 in 2021, as per its annual report.

The most commonly raised concerns, as per the report, were about respect in the workplace and the protection of WPP’s assets.

“All reports were followed up, investigated where appropriate by our business integrity team, and reported to the audit committee which is composed of non-executive directors of the parent company,” WPP said.

“All whistleblower reports received by the Group Chief Counsel and General Counsel, Corporate Risk, which includes all Right to Speak reports, are handled in line with WPP’s Whistleblowing and Investigations Protocols and logged, investigated and tracked through to a conclusion including any remediation or follow-up actions that might be required,” it added.

According to the company, these numbers show that it is being proactive and addressing all the wrongdoings.

Recently, WPP had agreed to tighten its internal procedures and had appointed almost 36 new compliance and risk roles as part of an agreement with US regulators from the SEC.

The SEC in 2021 had issued a $19 million fine against WPP for a number of violations that happened before 2017.

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