Frequently asked questions

Can Tip-off information be subpoenaed?

Unlike confidential information from doctors, lawyers and journalists that can be subpoenaed, we don't believe that any legal basis exists for the information, which we gather and store, to be subpoenaed.

Additional support for this view comes from the Constitution and the provisions of the Protected Disclosures Act 26 of 2000. Protecting the anonymity of the caller and the confidentiality of the information lies at the very heart of our service and we have a fundamental interest in protecting the identity of anyone making contact with us.

Can clients visit the contact centre?

No! The location of the contact centre is kept strictly confidential to protect the information about our clients as well as the identity of the staff who work there.

Can clients listen to or read information received by the contact centre?

Absolutely not! This would obviously discourage callers from using the hotline and undermine the anonymity of our service. Clients can, however, call the contact centre manager and request that the call be listened to again to ensure that any specific questions are answered, but at all times respecting the anonymity wishes of the caller.

What about hoax, malicious and slanderous calls?

Unfortunately these are a reality and occur in all inbound contact centres and particularly where access to the service is free to the caller. The incidence of these calls is reduced because each subscribing organization has a unique 0800 Free Call number that is not advertised to the general public.

Many clients have requested that our contact centre operators filter out calls which do not contain a substantive allegation nor contain any meaningful evidence. This information will not be sent through to clients but will be stored by us should it be required at a later date to corroborate a trend or other information that may be received subsequently.

How do we know that the contact centre personnel will respect the confidentiality of the information that they are exposed to?

Our personnel are very carefully selected and undergo intensive background checking before they commence work in the contact centre. Contact centre agents also subject themselves to on-going truth verification testing and lifestyle audits at the discretion of the contact centre manager to ensure that we can identify, at an early stage, the likelihood of any personnel becoming victims of blackmail, becoming involved in any inappropriate or criminal activity or whose integrity becomes impaired.

Can the contact centre trace calls to the sender?

No! The contact centre does not make use of caller line identification technology.

There is obviously a risk that the identity of callers can be established by their organisations as a result of telephone, fax and e-mail tracking activities within their work environment.

Who has access to the information reported to the contact centre?

Tip-off reports are sent only to designated client personnel nominated by our clients and specifically included in our service agreement with them. Typically, these are persons who are in senior operational, financial or risk management positions. Further, in the event that these senior persons are implicated in tip-off reports, our service agreement requires the name of an independent person or persons, who ideally, are not involved in the day-to-day operations of your organisation - such as the audit committee chairman or a non-executive director.

Under no circumstances will we forward any tip-off information to any other person within or outside your organisation, who is not specifically named in the agreement, without the prior written consent of our client.

Does Tip-offs Anonymous get involved in following up or investigating tip-offs?

The core business of Tip-offs Anonymous is the provision of a professional and anonymous hotline service. The investigation and follow-up of tip-off reports is the responsibility of our client. In extraordinary cases, and with the client's consent, Tip-offs Anonymous can however refer the matter to Deloitte's Forensic Department and / or an independent forensic party.

Does Tip-offs Anonymous pay rewards for information?

The payment of rewards is entirely at the discretion of our clients. Tip-offs Anonymous has a mechanism to pay rewards on behalf of our clients so that recipients can feel free to divulge information whilst continuing to remain totally anonymous.

The introduction of a reward scheme requires careful thought and planning, including an assessment of the impact it could have on the behaviour of individuals and on the culture of an organisation.

Tip-offs Anonymous has developed detailed guidelines for introducing and managing reward schemes.

Why would you want to blow the whistle?

Simple, you as an employee have to take a stand against any form of crime. If you believe it does not affect you, you’re wrong.

By taking this stance, you in effect assist the company from going out of business. You create a safe and crime free environment for yourself and your co-workers.

How can I be assured that my identity will be protected?

When you call the Tip-offs Anonymous contact centre you are not required to give your name or any personal details, unless the laws and regulations in your local jurisdiction do not approve / authorize anonymous reporting.

Secondly, there is no caller identification so we do not know from where the call was made. Even though we record all the calls, your company will never have access to the recordings so no-one will be able to identify your voice. We also have report analysts on site who ‘sanitise’ every call, which means that they strip out any information that could lead to the identity of the caller, so your company only gets a very factual report of the alleged wrong-doing with no additional information.

How do we know that anything will be done about the information that we might forward?

Top management is committed to ensure that Tip-offs Anonymous is successful and part of the success is to ensure that all tip-off reports are followed up – they would not be going to so much effort if they were not committed to the service. Be assured that reports will be investigated, should you as the whistle blowing require feedback, and we can provide this to you once we have received your reference number. You can always follow up and still remain completely anonymous.

What happens if someone does not like someone else and uses the line to spread harmful stories (malicious call)?

Yes, this is a possibility and we are very aware that this can happen. Firstly, if there is malicious intent, one does not need this hotline to spread it – you can spread a rumour in the canteen or put a letter under someone’s door. However, all our agents are trained to identify a malicious call and so are our report analysts. We filter these calls and flag them as malicious when we forward them. When these reports are read by your company management they are read in the light that they could be malicious. Also remember that a tip-off is merely an allegation of wrong doing and proper evidence and proof has to be obtained, before any action can be taken.

What is the tracking/ reference number used for at the Contact Centre?

The tracking number is your reference number that relates to the incident that you have reported. Should you wish to add more information to a report at a later stage, you can call back and quote the reference number and just give the agent the additional information or should you wish to follow up on you Tip-off report made, you can call back and quote the reference number and we can give you feedback on the investigation provided that your company provides Tip-offs Anonymous with feedback.