On January 24, the Vatican issued new procedures on whistleblowing, recognizing the critical role whistleblowers play in exposing corruption and financial misconduct. The new document expands upon procedures first laid out in 2019 for reporting financial anomalies to the Office of the Auditor General.
Vatican News, the official news portal of the Vatican Holy See, notes that whistleblowing “is one of the most effective tools for combating corruption, provided for, among other things, by the United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which the Holy See acceded in 2016.”
According to Vatican News, the Auditor General will be accepting whistleblower tips on “particular situations related to anomalies in the use or allocation of financial or material resources; irregularities in the awarding of contracts or in the conduct of transactions or disposals; and acts of corruption or fraud.”
Whistleblowers will be able to make disclosures to a secure email address and the Auditor General promises that the whistleblower’s confidentiality will be maintained. These confidentiality protections extend beyond just the whistleblower’s name and include any potentially identifying information.
Opportunities to report anonymously will not be available, however. Anonymity provisions have been key to other successful whistleblower programs.
“The issuance of the procedure will give even greater impetus to the reports, already received by the Office of the Auditor General in previous years, making it easier, especially through the electronic channel, to send them,” said the Auditor General, Alessandro Cassinis Righini. “The procedure also clarifies the scope of admissible and excluded reports, as well as the fact that those who legitimately entertain economic relations with the Holy See and the Vatican City State are also included among the legitimised subjects.”
“Appearing ever clearer,” he continued, “are the organic nature of the economic reforms, starting with the recently amended rules on public contracts, which already give the Office of the Auditor General a supervisory role, together with other bodies of the Holy See and the State, precisely by virtue of its role as an anti-corruption authority.”