Patients, students and other stakeholders rely on us. And we rely on each other. This means that we are honest, trustworthy, committed and involved in our work, thereby creating an open and pleasant work environment where we express ourselves, discuss matters with each other, make commitments, and call each other to account in this respect. This way of working is described in our Integrity code of conduct. Our UMC Utrecht Research Code describes the standards for good research practices and refers, where applicable, to internal policy and procedures. It also specifies how and to whom any (suspected) violation of scientific integrity can be reported.
For notifications on scientific integrity, the Ombudsman and Confidential Matters office works with confidential counselors on scientific integrity at Utrecht University.
Ombudsman and Confidential Matters
In 2022, the Ombudsman and Confidential Matters office received 257 notifications (as opposed to 217 in 2021). Most of the notifications pertained to questions and issues regarding co-working problems (72), followed by reports of undesirable behavior (51) and notifications related to legal situations (38). The sharpest increase was in the relating to co-working problems (from 42 to 72), followed by notifications related to undesirable behavior and to legal situations (both increasing by 10).
The increase in notifications that had to do with co-working is partly due to remote working in certain job categories, the current work pressure, and a number of situations pertaining to insufficient leadership qualities. Public attention to the issue of transgressive behavior has not led to an explosion in the number of notifications in this regard. There was an increase in the sexual and/or moral harassment category, which was mostly related to moral harassment. There was also a slight increase in reports of discriminations. Employees seem to find their way to the Office of Ombuds and Confidential Affairs somewhat more readily when undesirable behavior occurs.
In 2022, the Executive Board made a call to managers in a statement on the intranet to talk to each other about the issue of transgressive behavior. Managers regularly enlisted the support of the Ombudsman and Confidential Matters office in this regard. In addition to regular presentations on the work of the Ombudsman and Confidential Matters office , the office gave 16 presentations or workshops on the subject of undesirable behavior in the workplace. During these meetings, substantive information was shared and the discussion about undesirable behavior within departments and teams was facilitated using various tools.
No whistleblower notifications were received in 2022.
Utrecht Holdings reports fraud and bribery
Utrecht Holdings, the Knowledge Transfer Office of Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht, reported irregularities involving three (former) employees. These involved suspicions of fraud and bribery in relation to share transactions of two former shareholdings of Utrecht Holdings in the period 2006–2018. An investigation showed that these (former) colleagues did not act in the interest of Utrecht Holdings. Utrecht Holdings suffered financially as a result.