Receiving and solving public interest disclosures… 177
The situation becomes even more complicated when the respective institution
has already in place a special procedure and dedicated channels to receive
whistleblowings, and such disclosure is received through a different channel. For
instance, there is a web platform set to submit/ receive whistleblowings, and such
disclosure is received by the public relations department of a public institution.
It should be noted in this case, that the legal nature of the public interest
disclosure is not given by the channel it is received, but by its content and the
quality of the complainant. Namely, if the disclosure regards a situation that my
harm or threaten the public interest and is made by an employee of that institution,
then it will always be a whistleblowing, and will be treated as such, receiving the
This interpretation is consistent with the wide range of institutions that can
receive whistleblowings according to art. 6 of the Law no. 571/2004. According to
the spirit of the law, whistleblowing can be submitted to any institution and, if in
good faith, it entitles the complainant to receive adequate protection since the very
first complaint, irrespective to which institution he/ she submitted it.
Therefore, in this case, the Law no. 571/2004 will prevail with regard to the
nature of the complaint, while with regard to the answer requested, shall be
applied provisions of art. 6 or 61 of GO no. 27/2002, which state petitions shall be
answered by the competent departments of the public institution or reverted to
such competent institution. According to art. 8 of the same GO, public institutions
shall answer any petition, irrespective the nature of the answer, within 30 days
from the date it was registered by the competent institution.
Legal provisions on petitions reporting are also applicable in case of
whistleblowings. Furthermore, they should be coordinated with provisions of the
Government Decision no. 583/2016 regarding the National Anticorruption
Strategy that requests public institutions to report on integrity incidents, public
interest disclosures consisting the basis for identifying such integrity incidents.
Last but not the least, we should consider for adequate analysis, provisions of
Law no. 50/200713, which explicitly state that provisions on whistleblowers`
protection shall prevail over the confidentiality obligations set by the ethical code,
while public institutions shall report on the ethical incidents annually.
The same law provides the obligation for managers of public institutions to
appoint an ethical advisor among the employees of the human resources
department, whose role is to advise and assist public servants from that institution
regarding the observance of the provisions of the code of conduct. The same law provides
that public servants can`t be sanctioned nor retaliated for disclosing in good faith to the
competent disciplinary commission breaches to the ethical code.
Last but not the least, it should be mentioned that reporting on
whistleblowings shall be made regularly available both to the public and
13 To amend Law no. 7/2004 regarding the ethical code for public servants.