Reporting wrongdoing | Investigations hotline | What is OIOS?

The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) of the United Nations has been entrusted with the responsibility of providing investigation services to UN Women. The Investigations Division of OIOS will assess and, as needed, investigate allegations of fraud, corruption or other wrongdoing by UN Women personnel or by third parties to the detriment of UN Women. OIOS will establish the facts that will allow UN Women’s senior management to take appropriate action, including initiate disciplinary proceedings or other sanctions. OIOS has established a reporting facility to provide a confidential mechanism for individuals wishing to report fraud, mismanagement and other types of misconduct.

Reporting wrongdoing

UN Women has zero tolerance for fraud, corruption and any kind of wrongdoing. UN Women takes all reports of alleged fraud, corruption and other wrongdoing seriously and has tasked OIOS to be the principal channel to receive and investigate such allegations.

Anyone with information regarding fraud, corruption or other wrongdoing relating UN Women programmes or involving UN Women personnel is strongly encouraged to report this information through the investigations hotline

Investigations hotline

Any individual can report directly to OIOS in the following ways:

Phone: +1 212 963-1111
(24 hours a day)

Online reporting form:
Report wrongdoing through this link

Regular mail:
Director, Investigations Division
Office of Internal Oversight Services
1 United Nations Plaza
9th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA

Complainants reporting wrongdoing to the investigations hotline have the option to leave relevant contact information or to remain anonymous. However, anonymous allegations are often more difficult to pursue as there may be no way for OIOS to clarify the information provided or to ask questions. If a complainant chooses to remain anonymous, they are asked to provide as much detail as possible and also consider providing OIOS with a means of contact if further information or clarification is needed—for example, a free web-based email address (for example, Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail)—with an assumed name or alias that will allow the complainant to retain its anonymity.

When reporting, complainants are encouraged to be as specific as possible, including the basic details of who, what, where, when and how any of these incidents occurred. Specific information will allow OIOS to properly investigate the alleged wrongdoing.


OIOS protects the confidentiality of those who make reports to it in good faith, whether the investigation substantiates the report or not. Requests for confidentiality by witnesses will be respected to the extent possible within the organization’s administration of justice framework; however, witness confidentially may not be absolute.

Malicious reporting

Where a source provides information that he or she knew or ought to have known was false, it would be considered a wrongful complaint and constitutes possible misconduct. In such circumstances, the source waives any rights of confidentiality and a new investigation may be initiated. Honest mistakes or error are not, however, subject to such consideration.

How to report retaliation

Retaliation is any direct or indirect detrimental action recommended, threatened or taken against an individual who officially reported misconduct or otherwise cooperated with duly authorized audits or investigations. If established, retaliation constitutes misconduct which is subject to possible sanction.

The Ethics Office is entrusted with administering the protection against retaliation policy, which offers enhanced protection for those who reveal wrongdoing.

The Ethics Office has functional responsibility for undertaking a preliminary review of claims of retaliation. This review is to determine if the report is being lodged in good faith and whether there is a prima facie case of retaliation. If established, the Ethics Office will refer the matter to OIOS.

Where retaliation is reported to or discovered by OIOS, it will be referred to the Ethics Office for an initial determination and possible referral back to OIOS for a full investigation.

What is OIOS?

The Investigations Division of Office of Internal Oversight Services of the United Nations provides UN Women with effective independent and objective oversight designed to foster greater transparency and accountability within the organization.

What is OIOS’s investigation mandate?

OIOS’s Investigations Division has the mandate to conduct administrative fact-finding investigations, which means collecting evidence to either support or refute the reported violations. The focus is on possible misconduct by individuals, vendors, implementing partners and other third parties with whom UN Women has a contractual relationship. Some systemic issues might also be analysed at the same time. Investigations are conducted by OIOS in a professional and impartial manner. Where evidence of misconduct is established, the Investigations Division will send to UN Women the results of its investigation, together with recommendations, to guide the UN Women in deciding on the appropriate action to be taken. OIOS is the sole office mandated to conduct investigations in UN Women.

All staff members are required to cooperate fully with official investigations. OIOS also has the right to direct and prompt access to all persons engaged in activities under the authority of the organization, as well as all records, documents or other materials, assets and premises and to obtain such information and explanations as it considers necessary to fulfil its responsibilities.

With its headquarters in New York, the Investigations Division provides global investigative services through regional investigation centres in Entebbe, Nairobi, New York and Vienna, plus field offices in five United Nations peacekeeping missions: Haiti (MINUSTAH), Liberia (UNMIL), Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI), South Sudan (UNMISS), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

What does OIOS investigate?

OIOS investigations focus on the most serious violations, such as fraud, corruption, criminal activities, sexual exploitation and abuse, outside activities, serious theft, procurement irregularities, conflicts of interest, embezzlement, gross mismanagement and waste of United Nations resources.

Examples of investigations conducted by the Investigations Division include reports of serious and costly mismanagement or waste of the Organization's resources, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, complex fraud, improper recruitment, conflicts of interest, and third party fraud in the execution of UN Women contracts or other agreements.

What does OIOS not investigate?

OIOS does not investigate cases that do not implicate personnel, funds and activities of the organization.

OIOS will not normally investigate personnel matters, traffic incidents, simple thefts, contract disputes, office management disputes, basic misuse of equipment or staff and basic mismanagement issues. These matters are usually dealt with by management.

How does OIOS investigate?

OIOS conducts administrative fact-finding investigations which means collecting evidence to either support or refute the reported violations. OIOS does so in an ethical, professional and impartial manner, in accordance with the UN Women Legal Policy for Addressing Non-Compliance with UN Standards of Conduct, the Uniform Guidelines for Investigations adopted by the Conference of International Investigators, and the OIOS’s Investigations Manual and Guiding Principles.

What will OIOS do?

OIOS will acknowledge the receipt of all allegations. Besides an acknowledgement of receipt of a report, OIOS will not generally provide updates to the complainant on the status of reported misconduct. The Director of the Investigations Division will decide whether to investigate, refer, or file your report for information, or whether to first suspend it for preliminary inquiries. In the event of an investigation, OIOS Investigations Division staff will carry out an administrative fact-finding process involving, for example, interviews with witnesses, documentary analysis and forensics.  The results of an OIOS investigation may be either a closure report or an investigation report on the facts established. 

OIOS is responsible for submitting an investigation report with appropriate recommendations to UN Women, for consideration of disciplinary proceedings or administrative action, as appropriate.

If there is no or insufficient evidence, OIOS will prepare a closure report and inform UN Women and the subject accordingly if the latter has been interviewed by OIOS.

What does “due process” mean?

Due process means that the investigation is conducted in a fair, transparent and professional manner.  Fairness in investigations includes, for example, that OIOS investigators follow established procedures and remain objective and impartial. OIOS investigations must be thorough and must follow all reasonable lines of inquiry, whether inculpatory or exculpatory.

Subjects enjoy specific information, disclosure and notification rights.  During the investigation and most importantly during the interview, OIOS will provide the subject with an opportunity to present his/her view on the suggested wrongdoing and to comment on the relevant facts established by the investigation.