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Whistleblower Statement and Procedures

 

Approving Authority:

Vice-Chancellor

Establishment Date:

12 March 2009

Date Last Amendment:

29 November 2011

Nature of Amendment:

Change of name of Co-ordination Officer

Date Last Reviewed:

 

Responsible Officer:

Vice-President (Strategy and Planning)

 

1. Scope  
  The following procedures apply to handling disclosures of information that:
  (i) meet the definition of reportable conduct (see 3. Definitions); and
  (ii) where the person disclosing the information wishes to avail themselves of protection against victimisation for making, or attempting to make, the disclosure
  (‘whistleblower status’).
  Where whistleblower status is not sought, one of the University’s other procedures for reporting and handling staff or student grievances and complaints of misconduct will apply.
2. Aims and objectives
  By having effective procedures for receiving and investigating disclosures of reportable conduct from whistleblowers, the University aims to:
  • encourage openness, transparency and accountability at all levels of the University;
  • deter incidences of misconduct and achieve more effective administration and management, including fiscal management, through the reporting of, for example, waste, or mismanagement of funds;
  • have a healthier and safer work environment, through reporting of unsafe practices; and
  • achieve good corporate governance and more effective legislative compliance.
  The University is committed to taking all reasonable steps aimed at:
  (i) keeping the identity of whistleblowers and persons who are the subject of whistleblower disclosures confidential; and
  (ii) respecting and protecting both whistleblowers and persons who are the subject of whistleblower disclosures from victimisation.
3. Definitions
  Reportable conduct as defined under Australian Standard AS 8004-2003 Whistleblower Protection Programs for Entities means conduct by a person or persons connected with the University, which, in the view of a person acting in good faith, is:
  (a) dishonest;
  (b) fraudulent;
  (c) corrupt;
  (d) illegal (including theft, drug sale/use; violence or threatened violence and criminal damage against property);
  (e) in breach of Commonwealth or state legislation or local authority by-laws;
  (f) unethical (either representing a breach of codes of conduct adopted by the University or generally);
  (g) other serious improper conduct;
  (h) an unsafe work-practice; or
  (i) any other conduct which may cause financial or non-financial loss to the University or be otherwise detrimental to the interests of the University, including gross mismanagement.
  Victimisation within the meaning of this Statement and Procedures includes injury, damage or loss, intimidation or harassment, discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to a person’s employment, or threats of reprisal.
  Whistleblower means an adult person who, in good faith and whether anonymously or not, makes, attempts to make, or wishes to make a disclosure in connection with reportable conduct and wishes to avail themselves of protection against victimisation for having made the report.
4. Whistleblower contact points
  4.1 Where a person is seeking to disclose reportable conduct information and wishes to avail themselves of protection against victimisation, the person should inform the University through the Independent Whistleblower Management Service, in writing, via a secure web-based disclosure form. Refer to Annexure A for contact details and important information for whistleblowers.
Disclosures may be made anonymously.
A confidential report of disclosures made in accordance with this clause will be referred to the Whistleblower Coordination Officer for investigation by the University.
  4.2 Disclosure of reportable conduct information by a whistleblower may also be made to a Minister of the Crown, a member of the police force, the Auditor-General or to the Ombudsman.
5. Complaints of breach of confidentiality or victimisation in connection with a whistleblower’s disclosure
  5.1 Complaints about a breach of confidentiality or victimisation in connection with a whistleblower’s disclosure, or attempted disclosure of reportable conduct, may be lodged through the Independent Whistleblower Management Service, or directed to the Whistleblower Coordination Officer (Refer to Annexure A for contact details).
  5.2 Complaints of breaches of confidentiality or victimisation in connection with a whistleblower’s disclosure will be investigated by the University as a separate matter in accordance with principles of natural justice and following any relevant University disciplinary policy and procedures.
  5.3 A whistleblower, or the subject of a whistleblower’s disclosure, who considers that he or she is the subject of victimisation is entitled to seek independent legal advice or contact the Equal Opportunity Commission.
6. Investigation
  6.1 To avoid potential conflicts of interest, the supervisor of a person who is the subject of a whistleblower disclosure will be excluded from the assessment and investigation of the matter.
  6.2 In accordance with principles of natural justice, person(s) who are the subject of a disclosure of reportable conduct by a whistleblower will be informed of the allegation(s) against them and given the right to respond.
  6.3 Whistleblowers will receive feedback as to the progress and outcome of any investigation.
  6.4 Where an investigation by the University shows that a University staff member or student purporting to be a whistleblower has made a false report of reportable conduct knowing it to be false or being reckless about whether it is false, the person concerned will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the University’s disciplinary procedures.
7. Roles and Responsibilities
  7.1 It is the responsibility of the Whistleblower Coordination Officer to:
  (i) provide general and impartial advice about this Statement and Procedures for any person seeking whistleblower status;
  (ii) receive and keep confidential all information and reports in relation to whistleblower concerns, assess whether the disclosure is reportable conduct information and refer all disclosures of reportable conduct information for investigation in accordance with an appropriate University policy and procedure;
  (iii) receive and keep confidential all information and reports in relation to complaints of breach of confidentiality or victimisation in connection with whistleblower disclosures and refer complaints for investigation in accordance with an appropriate University disciplinary policy and procedure;
  (iv) refer the matter to an appropriate University officer for response, where a disclosure is assessed not to be reportable conduct information;
  (v) ensure the identity of the whistleblower and the identity of the person(s) to whom a whistleblower’s disclosure relates are not divulged without consent, except so far as may be necessary to ensure that the matters to which the information relates are properly assessed and investigated;
  (vi) liaise with the Director, Human Resources, or other relevant University officer, as necessary, to appoint an officer responsible for supporting the whistleblower and attending to matters relating to the whistleblower’s welfare and protection;
  (vii) make arrangements, wherever practicable, for the whistleblower to be informed of the progress and outcome of the University’s investigation into the matters to which their disclosure relates, subject to considerations of privacy of the persons who are the subjects of a whistleblower disclosure and customary practices of confidentiality within the University.
  7.2 It is the responsibility of all persons connected with the University to:
  (i) report any workplace concerns or misconduct;
  (ii) protect and maintain the confidentiality of a person they know or suspect to be a whistleblower, or the subject of a whistleblower disclosure;
  (iii) refrain from any activity that is, or could be perceived to be, victimisation of a person they know or suspect to be a whistleblower, or the subject of a whistleblower disclosure.
8. Reporting
  Instances of disclosures of reportable conduct information and complaints of victimisation in connection with such disclosures, as well as the outcome of related investigations will be reported to Council.
9. Review
  This Statement and Procedures has been drafted with reference to Australian Standard 8004-2003 Whistleblower Protection Programs for Entities and the aims and objectives of the South Australian Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993 (the Act), and will be periodically reviewed to take account of amendments to the Act or any relevant new Commonwealth legislation.