Charlotte Rawlings
Mar 30, 2023

WPP sees 25% drop in whistleblower reports

WPP's annual report showed a 25% decrease in whistleblowing incidents, including issues around 'respect in the workplace' and 'protection of WPP assets.'

WPP: the majority of reports were received through the company’s ‘Right To Speak’ hotline
WPP: the majority of reports were received through the company’s ‘Right To Speak’ hotline

WPP has noted a decline in the number of whistleblower reports it received in 2022, according to the company’s annual report.

The number of whistleblowing incidents decreased by almost 25% last year, with 494 reports in 2021 and 372 in 2022. 

"In general, there has been a steady increase in the number of reports received over the past few years, though they fell year-on-year in 2022," the agency group's annual report said. "In 2020 and 2021 there were particular spikes reflecting concerns connected with Covid-19 and lockdowns."

In 2019 WPP received 361 whistleblower reports, in 2020 it rose to 408 and in 2021 it increased further, to 494.

WPP employees can raise whistleblower concerns through employee forums, WPP’s business integrity team or by calling its “Right To Speak” hotline, which is confidential and allows for anonymity.

In 2022, the majority of whistleblower reports were received through its hotline, a total of 328 incidents.

The most commonly raised concerns mirrored 2021’s, with “respect in the workplace” and “protection of WPP’s assets” taking the top spots.

The annual report also included a breakdown of the “risk impact” of the whistleblower incidents in 2022, with 82% involving people (increasing by four percentage points year on year).

The second most common “risk impact” was legal and regulatory (7.1%) and the third was financial (3.7%).

This was followed by clients (2.8%), operational (2.7%), and data privacy, security and ethics (1.7%).

WPP said every report received from a whistleblower is investigated and reported to the Audit Committee by WPP’s business integrity function.

The committee said it was “satisfied” that the “Right To Speak” helpline arrangements are “effective and facilitate the proportionate and independent investigation of reported matters and allow appropriate follow-up action”.

WPP said: “WPP’s Code of Business Conduct sets out our responsibilities to our people, partners and shareholders to act ethically and legally.

“We want to encourage a culture of integrity and transparency where our people make the right decisions automatically and instinctively.”

Campaign UK

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