It is the responsibility of United Nations staff members to report any violations of rules, regulations or published instructions, such as the misuse of funds and waste or abuse of United Nations facilities or privileges.

The information circular, Reporting of suspected misconduct (ST/IC/2005/19) outlines the mechanisms that currently exist within the United Nations system for reporting suspected misconduct. It also provides information on other mechanisms available to staff who may need advice when they are unsure of how they should proceed.

The three main mechanisms for reporting:

Reporting an incident to Heads of departments and offices

Heads of departments or offices have the responsibility and obligation to review information on suspected cases of misconduct. If the fact finding process indicates that the report of misconduct is well founded, the head of department or office has the duty to report the matter immediately to the Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Human Resources Management.

Should the matter concern a staff member from another department or office, the staff member should inform his or her supervisor or human resources officer, who has the duty to review the information and transmit it through appropriate channels to the department or office of the staff member suspected of misconduct.

At any time any of the parties mentioned above have the right to report the incident directly to the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

Reporting an incident to OIOS

Questions asked by OIOS when reporting an incident:

  • What are the particulars of the allegation? (describe exactly what took place).
  • Who is involved in the allegation of mismanagement? (provide their names, functional titles, organizational units, addresses and telephone numbers).
  • Where did the reported incident or activity take place? (be specific about time(s) and place(s) where the incident(s) occurred).
  • Personal information such as name, telephone number, and address.

The official reporting form, contained in ST/AI/397, published in 1994, can be downloaded from the Official Documents System of the United Nations.

Reporting of suspected misconduct - ST/IC/2005/19 (PDF)

How to contact the OIOS Investigations Division

  • 24-hour telephone Hotline: tel: + (1) (212) 963 1111 (long distance calls may be made collect).
  • In person: to any OIOS local office.
  • Postal service to: Reporting Facility, Dag Hammarskjöld Convenience Center (DHCC), P.O. Box 20114, New York, N.Y.10017, USA.
  • Internal mail/pouch to: Investigations Division, Office of Internal Oversight Services, Room DC1-0734, 866 United Nations Plaza.
  • Fax: + (1) (212) 963 7774.

Special procedures for sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse

Administrative instruction ST/AI/379 (PDF) lists a number of informal approaches that may be used in cases of sexual harassment. If informal resolution is not appropriate or has not been successful, the aggrieved individual should make a written complaint to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, who is responsible for conducting the initial investigation in sexual harassment cases.

Heads of departments, offices, and missions are required to appoint an official to serve as a focal point to receive reports on cases of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.

"The publication of ST/SGB/2005/20 launched an online learning programme entitled "Prevention of Workplace Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Authority" which is mandatory for all staff members system-wide. Staff members are reminded that a "zero tolerance" policy is applied to such cases of misconduct. See also ST/SGB/2008/5 "Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment, including Sexual Harassment, and Abuse of Authority".

Additional mechanisms and resources for advice and guidance

If staff members have information indicating that misconduct or a breach of integrity and ethical conduct may have occurred and are not sure how to proceed, they may wish to avail themselves of the following additional mechanisms and resources:

  • The Ombudsman
  • Staff Counsellor's Office
  • Panel of Counsel
  • Office of the Focal Point for Women in the Secretariat
  • Staff representative bodies

Contact details are provided in the Ask the Experts page.