The Advice Centre is a confidential advice service free of charge available to anyone in work in the Netherlands and aims to advise and support individual whistleblowers in specific cases; provide general information to whistleblowers and employers on whistleblowing and procedures; and report regularly on patterns and developments in the field of whistleblowing and integrity.
The Advice Centre is incorporated and funded by the Ministry of Interior Relations and the Ministry for Social Affairs and Employment but is independent of them. It consists of a three-member committee – representing the private sector, the public sector and the trade unions – and a small staff team including a director, three senior legal counsel, a part-time communication consultant, an office secretary and an administrative assistant.
While there is no comprehensive national law that protects whistleblowers in all sectors, there are regulations in local and central government, the police and defence in the Netherlands. In order to assist and facilitate potential whistleblowers in making reports of malpractice or wrongdoing (to employer or an appropriate external body or regulator), the Dutch Government and social partners (eg. employers and trade unions, etc) decided that advice and support was needed for potential whistleblowers – along the lines of the independent NGO Public Concern at Work in the United Kingdom. In October 2012, the ‘Adviespunt Klokkenluiders’ (the Advice Centre for Whistleblowers) opened with a view to reviewing its effectiveness some time in 2014.