Whistleblowing – reporting irregularities

The “Whistleblowing Act” requires Karolinska Institutet (KI) to set up an internal reporting channel for whistleblowers. This channel allows people in a work-related context to report irregularities that are so serious as to be in the public interest to disclose and rectify.

Who can file a report

The law only permits employees, volunteers, trainees, consultants and job applicants, current or former, or who work or have worked on behalf of KI to file a report. 

This is whistleblowing

A whistleblowing report can concern irregularities that constitute an imminent or manifest risk to life, health, safety, security or cause serious environmental harm. It may also concern other such events for which there is legitimate reason to file a report, such as financial irregularities, corruption and a breach of environmental regulations.

Whistleblowing does not include circumstances related to the whistleblowers own work or employment conditions.

How to file a report

A digital report can be made here: WhistIeblowing at KI

Written reports can be sent to Visselblåsarfunktionen, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm.

You can also make a report by phone, or request a personal meeting through the internal digital reporting channel above or by calling the switchboard on 08 – 524 800 00 and asking for the whistleblowing function.

Reports must contain a description of the irregularity and details of the person(s) involved.

Confirmation of receipt

You will receive confirmation of receipt of your report with seven (7) days, including a reference number for your dealings with KI.

Administration

Reports are received by KI’s whistleblowing function, which is staffed by a small number of specially selected and authorised officers, who judge whether the irregularity is covered by the Whistleblowing Act, then assess the correctness of the report and decide whether KI is to take appropriate action.

Whistleblowers are protected

If you report an irregularity covered by the Whistleblowing Act you are protected against reprisals.

To qualify for protection, you do not need to know for certain if the irregularity is unlawful or prohibited. It is enough for you to have a reasonable suspicion that such is the case.

Public access and confidentiality

When KI receives a report, it is registered and given a reference number. Since KI is a public authority, your report might be in the public domain, which means that anyone has the right to read it.

However, the details contained in a whistleblowing report can be covered by confidentiality regulations. KI always therefore carries out a confidentiality assessment, which can mean that confidential details will not be released. A decision not to release public documents can be appealed to a court.

The Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (SFS 2009:400) contains provisions that protect the whistleblower’s identity and other persons’ identities that might appear when a case is followed up or acted upon. Identities are handled only by a few authorised personnel.

What does the law say?    

The Whistleblowing Act provides that no one can be held to account for breaking a confidentiality obligation. This does not, however, apply to professional secrecy regarding defence inventions and information that is security classified by the Security Protection Act or that concerns national security.

Protection is not extended to anyone who commits a criminal offence in submitting a report.

Note that by virtue of the constitutional freedom to disclose information, employees in public service may pass on information to the media for publication without risk of reprisals.