Why set up a notification channel?

Studies show that companies investing in sustainable business get a 5–15-year head start over their competitors. A notification channel is a part of a company’s responsible operations, and it is required and appreciated by personnel, customers and stakeholders alike.

With the Belgian Chambers Notification Channel service, your organization will be able to provide whistleblowers an anonymous and reliable way to report malpractice and irregularities at an early stage. It will be easy for the people receiving notifications in the service to manage and process notifications. The notification channel will enable your organization to meet the requirements of the whistleblower protection law.

The whistleblower protection law is coming into effect on 15 February 2023

The Council of the European Union adopted the whistleblower protection directive (Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of whistleblowers) on October 7th 2019. The Belgian whistleblower protection law transposing this directive was published in the Official Gazette on 15 December 2022, and entered into force on 15 February 2023.

The law requires organizations employing at least 50 people to implement a channel for reporting observed malpractice and irregularities within the organization. The organization can also use the channel to notify the whistleblower of any actions that have been taken.

With the Belgian Chambers Notification Channel, your company will be able to meet legal requirements and provide employees and other whistleblowers with a reliable and easy-to-use channel for submitting notifications.

If any of the following criteria are met,
the notification channel is for you:

The organization has at least 50 employees
Organizations employing 50 or more employees must have a channel for reporting observed malpractice and irregularities. Smaller organizations can implement the channel on a voluntary basis and thus demonstrate their responsibility.
The organization is active in certain sectors
Regardless of size, your organization is obliged to provide a notification channel if it operates in any of the following sectors:
  • The financial sector and other sectors covered by the money laundering directive
  • Aeronautics, maritime transport
  • Oil and gas extraction at sea
The organization operates responsibly
Set up a notification channel when you wish to act responsibly and to offer a way to report suspected malpractice.
Through the notification channel, you will be able to provide personnel and stakeholders the opportunity to submit notifications about your organization’s activities either anonymously or with a name. The notifications may relate to infringements, irregularities or malpractice observed or suspected by the whistleblower. The Notification Channel service can also be used for having a discussion with the whistleblower and for requesting more information about the incident if necessary. Only people authorized by your organization will have access to the notifications. They will be able to have a discussion with the whistleblower through the Notification Channel. The notifications are entirely between the whistleblower and the processors.

Who should be able
to submit a notification?

At a minimum, an organization’s current employees must be able to submit notifications.
Protection against retaliation is also given to:

  • current and former employees as well as jobseekers
  • potential volunteers and trainees
  • employees of subcontractors and suppliers
  • shareholders

If the organization has set up a notification channel solely for its personnel, the other persons mentioned above can report their concerns directly to the public authority’s notification channel. Notification channels are therefore often activated for all of the groups mentioned above.

Design internal processes when activating a notification channel:

1. Name the person or unit responsible for operating the notification channel.

2. Design notification processing procedures that are appropriate for your organization, while taking data protection and data security into account:

  • Who in your organization is responsible for receiving, processing and following up on notifications?
  • What steps are being taken to ensure that the deadlines for processing notifications are met?
  • How often and to whom are notifications reported?
  • Where are received notifications archived, and what information is stored in the archive?

3. Ensure that your personnel and stakeholders can find your company’s notification channel. The channel’s existence can be communicated to personnel via, for example, the intranet, and to other stakeholders on the website. State the notification channel’s purpose clearly.

Notification channel
The whistleblower protection law will require organizations to provide a channel for reporting suspected malpractice.

Federation of Belgian Chamber of Commerce

Rue Belliard 2, 1040 Brussels