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Whistleblower policy

Objectives

Scope 

Overview

What is a Whistleblower?

Who is an Eligible Whistleblower?

What matters can a complaint be made about under DCA Whistleblower’s Policy? 

What complaints should not be made under DCA Whistleblower’s Policy?

Who can a Whistleblower complaint be made to?

Protections available to Whistleblowers

Taking action against people who cause or threaten detriment

How DCA will support and protect Whistleblowers

What happens after a report is made?

Disclosure Management & Investigations

What happens if nothing is done after making a complaint?

What happens to you as a Whistleblower?

What Support is available?

References

 

Objectives:

The objectives of this policy are to provide information to eligible whistleblowers can raise concerns safely and securely about serious complaints (wrongdoing) that may be occurring at Deaf Children Australia (DCA).

The policy explains how whistleblowers will be protected in line with legal requirements that apply to whistleblowers, Where the term ‘speaking up’ is used in this policy it shall take on the same meaning as whistleblower under the applicable legislation.

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Scope

This policy applies to all eligible Whistleblower’s defined by this policy.

Any employee who makes or is the subject of a report is encouraged to contact the EAP should they require these services.

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1. Overview

DCA is committed to fostering a ‘speak up’ culture in which honesty, integrity and business ethics are a part of everyday behaviour

As a Company Limited by Guarantee, DCA is considered a ‘public company’ and under section 1317AI of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and is therefore required to have a Whistleblower Policy. This legislation is designed to provide protections to individuals who are making very serious complaints about an organisation and may need protection against retaliation.

The DCA Quality Manager will take the role of Whistleblowing Investigation Officer (WIO) for the purposes of this policy.

Whistleblower protections are the protections provided to Whistleblowers to enable them to come forward to report misconduct without fear of retribution or personal detriment.

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2. What is a Whistleblower?

A Whistleblower is someone with inside knowledge of an organisation who reports misconduct or dishonest or illegal activity that may have occurred within that organisation.

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3. Who is an Eligible Whistleblower?

An individual making a complaint is an Eligible Whistleblower in relation to DCA if that person is:

· An officer of DCA.

· A current or former officer or associate of DCA, for example a director;

· A current or former DCA employee, including employees who are permanent, part-time, fixed term or temporary, and managers;

· An individual who supplies services or goods to DCA (whether paid or unpaid).

· An employee of a person that supplies services or goods to DCA (whether paid or unpaid).

· A relative of an individual referred to above.

· A dependent or spouse of an individual referred to above.

· An individual prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph in relation to the regulated entity.

· A service provider or contractor who is providing, or has provided goods or services

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4. What matters can a complaint be made about under DCA Whistleblower’s Policy?

If you want to make a Whistleblowing complaint you must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the information concerns misconduct, or an improper state of affairs in relation to DCA.

The complaint can be about DCA, an officer or employee of DCA, a contractor or any other person who has business dealings with DCA who has engaged in conduct that is:

· dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt;

· breaches the Corporations Act,

· breaches other financial sector laws enforced by ASIC or APRA,

· is an offence against any other law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months, or

· represents a danger to the public or the financial system.

Reasonable grounds means that a reasonable person in your position would also suspect the information indicates misconduct or a breach of the law.

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5. What complaints should not be made under DCA Whistleblower’s Policy?

Personal work-related grievances are not covered by this legislation unless that grievance is about a threat made to that person about making a complaint under this legislation.

Examples of personal work-related grievances include:

· An interpersonal conflict between the discloser and another employee.

· A decision relating to the engagement, transfer, or promotion of the discloser.

· A decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the discloser.

A decision to suspend or terminate the engagement of the discloser, or otherwise to discipline the discloser.

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6. Who can a Whistleblower complaint be made to?

If you have a complaint under this Whistleblower Policy, you must make it to one of the following people:

· A Board member of DCA.

· A Member of the DCA Leadership Team.

· One of DCA’s Auditors (Saward Dawson).

· ACNC (Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission)

· ASIC (Australian Securities and Investment Commission).

· ATO (Australian Taxation Office)

· Your lawyer.

You can make a complaint anonymously if you choose.

If you need support in raising a whistleblower complaint, you can contact the Company Secretary or HR Department of DCA for support in raising a complaint.

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7. Protections available to Whistleblowers

If you make a qualifying disclosure under this legislation, then DCA will protect your identity.

It is illegal (through a criminal offence and civil penalty) for someone to cause or threaten detriment to you because they believe or suspect that you have made, may have made, or could make a Whistleblower disclosure.

The criminal offence and civil penalty apply even if you have not made a Whistleblower report, but the offender causes or threatens detriment to you because they believe or suspect you have or might make a report.

A person may be causing you detriment if they:

· dismiss you from your employment,

· injure you in your employment,

· alter your position or duties to your disadvantage,

· discriminate between you and other employees of the same employer,

· harass or intimidate you,

· harm or injure you, including causing you psychological harm,

· damage your property,

· damage your reputation,

· damage your business or financial position, or

· cause you any other damage.

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8. Taking action against people who cause or threaten detriment

ASIC can investigate allegations that a person caused or threatened detriment to you but would need your assistance to investigate the claim. Any action ASIC take may result in a penalty to the person but not necessarily any compensation.

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9. How DCA will support and protect Whistleblowers

An interpreter or captioner will be made available for any Whistleblower who requires one.

If you are making a qualifying disclosure under this legislation, you can ask the person you have chosen to disclose to, to keep your identity, or information that is likely to lead to your identification, confidential. DCA is restricted from disclosing your identity or the information you provide. However, they may report the information to ASIC, APRA, or the Australian Federal Police, or to a lawyer for advice about the Whistleblower protections.

It is illegal for a person to reveal the identity of a Whistleblower, or information likely to lead to the identification of Whistleblower, outside of these circumstances. ASIC can investigate allegations from a Whistleblower that their confidentiality has been breached following their report.

In DCA’s investigation of the concerns raised in your report, DCA must take reasonable steps to ensure that information likely to lead to your identification is not disclosed without your consent.

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10. What happens after a report is made?

DCA will investigate all reported concerns appropriately and will, where applicable, provide feedback regarding the investigation’s outcome. DCA will take the necessary course of action in response to a report and if no action is taken, we will give you an explanation.

Your identity and the fact you have made a report and the contents of the report will be kept confidential and no details of your participation in the process will be included in your personnel file or performance review. The report will not be disclosed to anyone except those who are actively involved in investigating the matters raised in the report.

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11. Disclosure Management & Investigations

DCA’s Company Secretary General Counsel will act as DCA’s Whistleblower Protection

Officer. (WPO). Part of the role of the WPO, in conjunction with the WIO, is to safeguard the interests of Whistleblowers, to assist them to understand the process and the available protections and to ensure the integrity of the whistleblowing mechanism.

DCA recognises that individuals against whom a disclosure is made must also be supported during the handling and investigation of the Whistleblower investigation.

DCA takes reasonable steps to treat fairly any person who is the subject of a disclosure, particularly during the assessment and investigation process.

The WIO will determine whether disclosures should be investigated. Whilst not all disclosures will necessarily lead to an investigation, they will be assessed and a decision made as to whether they should be investigated.

If the WIO decides that the disclosure will be investigated, the WIO will conduct or commission an investigation following best practice principles. The WIO may not be able to undertake an investigation if they are not able to contact the Whistleblower. For example, the Whistleblower may have made a report anonymously and have either refused to provide or have not provided a means of contacting them.

Generally, where an investigation is conducted and the investigator believes there may be a case for an individual to respond, the WIO must ensure that a person who is the subject of a disclosure:

· is informed of the substance of the allegations;

· is given a fair and reasonable opportunity to answer the allegations before the investigation is finalised; • has their response set out fairly in the investigator’s report; and

· is informed about the substance of any adverse conclusions in the investigator’s report that affects them. Where adverse conclusions are made in an investigator’s report about an individual, that individual has a right to respond to those conclusions prior to any action being taken by DCA against them.

The WIO will protect the identity of the Whistleblower and maintain appropriate records for each step in the investigation process. The WIO will provide the Whistleblower with regular updates about the investigation if they are able to be contacted. The frequency and nature of updates may vary depending on the nature of the disclosure.

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12. What happens if nothing is done after making a complaint?

If a Whistleblower makes an eligible disclosure and 90 days have passed and the Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to believe that no action is being taken to address the complaint, then the person can give notice to DCA that he/she is intending to make a public interest disclosure then can make a disclosure to a member of Parliaments or a journalist.

You do not need to wait 90 days if you believe that concerns a substantial or imminent danger to health or safety to an individual or group or the natural environment.

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13. What happens to you as a Whistleblower?

DCA will ensure fair treatment of employees who are mentioned in Whistleblower disclosures.

You will not be discriminated against or disadvantaged in your employment with DCA for making a report in accordance with this policy, nor will you receive reprisals due to your actions in making a report.

DCA will take all reasonable steps to ensure that adequate and appropriate protection is being provided for those who, in good faith, make a report. This protection applies if the matter is proven or not, regardless of whether it is reported to an external authority.

Whistleblowing is not about airing a grievance. It’s about reporting real or perceived malpractice. A report may damage the career prospects and reputation of people who are the subject of serious allegation and therefore if your report is not made in good faith or found to be malicious, deliberately misleading or frivolous, you may be subject to disciplinary action.

DCA will make this policy available to all staff members on the DCA Internet and through the HR Policies document.

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14. What Support is available?

You may access DCA’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is a free and confidential counselling service, using the details below:

Phone: 1800 818 728 Email: info@accesseap.com.au Web: www.accesseap.com.au

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References

· Section 1317AI Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

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Scope (WB)
Objectives
Overview
What is a wb?
Who is an eligible wb?
What matters can a complaint be made...
What complaints should NOT....
Who can a complaint be made to
Protections available to wb
Taking action against ppl who threaten
How DCA will support and protect
10.What happens after a report is made
Disclosure management & investigations
12.What happens if nothing is don
13.What happens to you as a WB?
What support is available
References

POL-CP-21 Whistleblower Policy Version 4.0 Approved 05/03/2024

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