Corruption and illegalities – the most common whistle-blower reports in Latvia of 2021

In the third year since the Law on Whistle-blowing was adopted in Latvia, state and municipal institutions in the country have received 557 reports requesting action from law enforcement institutions. 156 reports were declared reports from whistle-blowers in 2021. Residents reported acts of corruption, illegalities and tax avoidance last year.
«Three years have passed since we adopted the Law on Whistle-blowing. This law has become an impulse for the creation of an entire whistle-blowing system in Latvia. This year it is planned to commence in-depth evaluation of existing legislation in whistle-blowing, underlining both strong and weak sides. This evaluation will serve as the foundation for the development of improvements for the whistle-blowing system,» said Latvian State Chancellery expert Inese Kušķe about challenges ahead in 2022.
How many reports marked from whistle-blowers did law enforcement institutions receive?
The general activity of whistle-blowers in Latvia remained stable in 2021. The State Chancellery, composing its report on whistle-blowing and their protection in 2021, reached out to 45 institutions, forwarding to them about 527 reports from residents marked as whistle-blower reports.

467 of them were sent to state institutions and 60 to municipal institutions.

In 2021 there was an increase of the number of residents who used the option to submit reports to the State Chancellery’s website for whistle-blowers. Law enforcement institutions received 67 reports from
Last year most residents reported their observations to the State Revenue Service, which received 85 reports, and Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, which received 63 reports. The number of whistle-blowers who turn to their local municipal administration with reports of corruption and other illegalities increases year after year. The number of residents who turned to State Police, Office of the Prosecutor General, Health Inspectorate, Ministry of Education and Science with whistle-blower reports had also increased last year.
How many reports marked as whistle-blower reports were confirmed to be as such?
The State Chancellery concluded that a positive situation is observed when it comes to the number of incoming whistle-blower reports. A total of 156 were confirmed as whistle-blower reports in accordance with the law. Authors of those reports have the right for protection if they suffer from repressions due to their act of whistle-blowing.

127 whistle-blower reports were confirmed as such in 2020 and 119 in 2019.

Residents most often report corruption, illegalities committed by officials, misuse of public resources, conflicts of interests, as well as public health and tax avoidance.
What effect have whistle-blower reports have had so far?
Data compiled for whistle-blower reports and their effect on improvements in 2021 indicates hat in multiple cases it was possible to prevent damages to state administration and execute preventive actions, improve organisation of work in institutions and improve processes at institutions and companies.
Activity in legislation has also increased when compared to 2020. The interest for protection guarantees is also higher. In 2021 the Law on Whistle-blowing was mentioned in 15 rulings (13 cases) of which 6 were made in civil cases, 8 in administrative cases and one in a criminal case. The criminal case in question and one of the administrative cases featured previously unused safety guarantees – the request to be relieved of state fees and legal liability.
It should be mentioned that the number of cases when facts reported by whistle-blowers were not confirmed in investigations that followed has also increased – in 2021 there were 61 such cases and in 2020 there were 55 such cases.
What did the State Chancellery’s contact office accomplish for whistle-blowers in 2021?
In addition to intensively consulting residents, companies and institutions, the State Chancellery also adopted in Latvia the European Parliament and European Council’s Directive 2019/1937/EC of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons reporting breaches of Union Law. In accordance with this directive, the State Chancellery developed a new Law on Whistle-blowing. To put the new law into practice, the chancellery produced materials in 2022 and restored existing guidelines for the creation of an internal whistle-blowing system to process reports.
To improve the competence of officials who work with reports, the State Chancellery and State Administration School organised three webinar cycles in 2021. The cycle explained topics related to the protection of identities of whistle-blowers, processing of reports and effective review of reports.
Since 2021 it is possible to submit reports electronically to using authentication module.