Whistle blowing

Singapore 20h May 2013

Now here is an interesting and sensitive subject…whistleblowing! I have read about it, movies have been made around the subject, but so far I had not really encountered it in my daily line of work…until today. I am pitching for a project and as part of the tender submission documents I found an appendix about the whistleblowing frame work that the client has in place. It did not state you have to sign or adhere to it, but the simple fact that it was added as a part of the documents and tender briefing suggest that there is a zero tolerance towards illegal conduct, any possible conflict of interest or activities or other malpractices that may breach laws are be against general public interest; a forewarning to discourage any one with “illegal” conduct in mind. It also describes that miss-usage like un-faithful reporting or even knowingly not reporting could be cause for legal action; making you guilty for abuse of the system but also for not reporting! It then goes explaining at lengths how the potential whistle blower would be protected against possible reprisals and how your identity would be kept with utmost confidentiality; only to follow with a disclaimer that “under certain circumstances” they may be under obligation to reveal your identity…so much for confidentiality…

While I am principally a supporter of ethical conduct, there are many grey areas that are not really defined. Like any good police case, you cannot just report based on hearsay or assumptions. You need facts…facts that can be backed up. This whistle blower system encourages people to denounce anything that feel illegal, but perception can be clouded easily, certainly when it concerns competition or people you really don’t like. I may suspect or think something is going on but without proof I cannot just start whistle blowing…

Point in case; today I received an email from a contractor in another country saying that he could not find any supplier able to provide him the fitting we had specified. So he proposed an alternative fitting to the client. What I found out: 1) he had not checked availability with the actual supplier of the product specified, 2) he specified an alternative (and here I assume) for the same price 3) I found out the brand he specified is a cheap Chinese brand. The assumed intent…making profit on the back of the client and not passing on the price benefit…I have killed it by rejecting the alternative, but would that be a case for whistle blowing?

Light Watch 4-88 Not surprisingly there are whistles with light…

20. May 2013 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting design practice, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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