Jun 20, 2022
Just like commercial organisations, not-for-profit organisations may be subject to fraudulent activity. Therefore, Community Based Support (CBS) must provide a supportive environment and protections to employees, volunteers and contractors to raise legitimate concerns, without fear or victimisation, detriment or other retribution and provide suitable avenues for reporting of matters that may cause loss to or damage of CBS’s reputation.
“Whistleblowing” means the deliberate, voluntary disclosure of individual or organisational wrongdoing by a person who has or had privileged access to data, events or information about an actual, suspected or anticipated wrongdoing within or by an organisation that is within its ability to control.
“Wrongdoing” means any conduct that is dishonest, fraudulent, corrupt, or illegal, such as theft, drug sale or use, violence, harassment, criminal damage to property or other breaches of state or federal legislation; unethical behaviours, such as dishonestly altering company records or engaging in questionable accounting practices or wilfully breaching CBS’s code of conduct or other ethical statements; potentially damaging to another employee or contractor, such as unsafe work practices or substantial wasting of resources; cause financial loss to CBS or damage its reputation or be otherwise detrimental to CBS’s interests or involves any other kind of serious impropriety, and may include concealment of wrongdoing.
The purpose of the Policy is to document:
- Protections available to whistleblowers
- How to make a qualifying disclosure, including to whom
- Your entity’s measures to support and protect whistleblowers
- How your entity will investigate whistleblower disclosures and ensure fair treatment of employees named in disclosures or to whom such disclosures relate
- How the policy will be made available to officers and employees.
Whistleblower Reporting any Wrongdoing
- Any employee, volunteer or contractor who detects or has reasonable grounds for suspecting wrongdoing is encouraged to raise any concerns with their immediate Executive Manager through normal reporting channels.
- The Executive Manager will report the allegation to the Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible for ensuring the matter is properly dealt with. This may include appointing an independent investigator to inquire into the allegations. Alternatively, it may be appropriate to continue to be dealt with by an internal Executive Manager.
- If the employee, volunteer, or contractor does not believe reporting to their immediate Executive Manager through normal reporting channels is appropriate given the circumstances of the wrongdoing, the report may be made directly to the Executive Manager Human Resources, the designated Whistleblower Protection Officer.
- If the allegations involve the Executive Manager Human Resources, and an employee, volunteer or contractor reasonably believes that reporting the allegations to this person would not be sufficiently independent, then they should report the allegation to the CEO.
- If the allegations involve the CEO, the report may be made directly to the Chair of the CBS Board.
- If the allegations involve a Director of the Board, the report may be made directly to the Chair of the CBS Board or the External Auditor. If the allegations directly involve the Chair of the CBS Board, then they should report the allegation to the External Auditor.
- Where it is shown that a person purporting to be a Whistleblower has knowingly made a false report of wrongdoing, then that conduct itself will be considered a serious matter. A false report includes matters the reporter knows, or ought to know, have no substance.
- Making a false report may lead to the Whistleblower being the subject of disciplinary action which may include dismissal.
Confidentiality of Whistleblower’s identity and Whistleblower Reports
- If a person makes a report of alleged or suspected wrongdoing under this policy, CBS will endeavour to protect that person’s identity from disclosure. This may not occur if confidentiality is not a practical option.
- Generally, CBS will not disclose the person’s identity unless:
- The CBS employee making the report consents to the disclosure;
- The disclosure is required or authorised by law, and/or
- The disclosure is necessary to further the investigation.
- Generally, reports made under this policy will be treated confidentially. However, when a report is investigated it may be necessary to reveal its substance to people such as other CBS personnel, external persons involved in the investigation process and, in appropriate circumstances, regulatory and/or law enforcement agencies. At some point in time, it may also be necessary to disclose the fact and the substance of a report to the person who is the subject of the report. While confidentiality is maintained, in some circumstances, the source of the reported issue may be obvious to a person who is the subject of a report.
- Unauthorised disclosure of information relating to a report, the identity of a CBS employee, volunteer or contractor who has made a report of wrongdoing or information from which the identity of the reporting person could be inferred will be regarded seriously and may result in disciplinary action, which may include dismissal.
Protection of Whistleblowers
- CBS is committed to protecting and respecting the rights of a person who reports wrongdoing in good faith. CBS will not tolerate any retaliatory action or threats of retaliatory action against any person who has made or who is believed to have made a report of wrongdoing, or against that person’s colleagues, employer (if a contractor) or relatives. For example, the person must not be disadvantaged or victimised by having made the report by:
- Any form of harassment;
- Current or future bias; or
- Threats of any of the above.
- Any such retaliatory action or victimisation in reprisal for a report being made under this policy will be treated as serious misconduct and will result in disciplinary action, which may include dismissal.
- If a person who makes a report is implicated in the wrongdoing, that person must not be subjected to any actual or threatened retaliatory action or victimisation in reprisal for making a report under this policy.
- The act of whistleblowing does not, of itself, protect the person from any reasonable consequences flowing from any involvement in wrongdoing. A person’s liability for his or her own conduct is not affected by the person’s disclosure of that conduct. However, the reporting of the wrongdoing, cooperation with any investigation, or an admission by the person may be a mitigating factor when considering disciplinary or other action to be taken against them.
- All reports of alleged or suspected wrongdoing made under this policy will be properly assessed, and if appropriate, independently investigated with the objective of locating evidence that either substantiates or refutes the claims made by the Whistleblower.
- The CEO will be responsible for ensuring the proper conduct of the investigation, which may include appropriate instruction and oversight of a third party such as the External Auditor, appointed to conduct an investigation. Where the investigation involves the CEO then this responsibility will fall to the Chair of the CBS Board.
- The investigation will not be conducted by a person who may be the subject of the investigation or has inappropriate links or connections (actual or perceived) to the person(s) or practice(s) under investigation.
- The CEO or Executive Manager (or External Auditor) who noted the allegations will keep the Whistleblower informed of the outcomes of the investigation to his/her report subject to the considerations of privacy of those against whom the allegations have been made.
- Throughout the assessment and investigation process, CBS will treat fairly the person who is the subject of a report.
- If, following an investigation, the allegations are found not to be substantiated, then any documents relating to the investigation will be handled confidentially, subject to disclosures to the appropriate members of management or the Board, as appropriate.
Reviewed May 2023