Purpose - Why do we have this policy?
This Policy aims to:
● Encourage a person to report improper conduct in good faith if they know or have reasonable grounds to suspect such conduct.
● Provide a way to report misconduct or dishonest or illegal activity that has occurred or is suspected within the organisation.
● Enable Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. to deal with reports from whistleblowers in a way that will protect the identity of the whistleblower and provide for secure storage of the information.
● Ensure that any Reportable Conduct is identified and dealt with appropriately.
● Ensure that individuals who disclose wrongdoing can do so safely, securely and with confidence that they will be protected and supported.
● Help to ensure that Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. maintains the highest standards of ethical behaviour and integrity.
This policy applies to Board members, staff, volunteers, contractors, suppliers and consultants.
Within this policy all these people are represented by the term “Workers”.
Although they are under no obligation to do so, any associate, family member or dependent of any person in the above groups of people may also speak up. If they do choose to speak up in line with this Policy, we will extend to them the relevant rights and protections under this Policy.
Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. is committed to fostering a culture of legal, ethical and moral behaviour and exemplary corporate governance. We recognise the value of transparency and accountability in our administrative and management practices and supports the reporting of improper conduct. This Whistleblower Policy has been developed so that people can raise concerns regarding situations where they believe that Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. or anybody connected with us has acted in a way that constitutes serious wrongdoing, including unethical, illegal, corrupt or other inappropriate conduct, as set out below.
● Higher standard - This Policy is designed to comply with Australian Street Aid Project Ltd.’ legal obligations. If anything in this Policy is inconsistent with any law imposed on Australian Street Aid Project Ltd., that legal obligation or the “higher standard” will prevail over this Policy.
● Speak up and report it! - We encourage Workers at Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. to report any concerns in line with our policies and procedures.
● Our expectations of Workers - Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. expects Workers to act honestly and ethically, and to make any report on reasonable grounds.
● Our responsibility to Whistleblowers - Our obligations to Workers are spelled out in this policy, particularly in section ‘Protection’.
● Confidentiality and consent - Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will maintain confidentiality of all reports and fully protect the identity of reporters possible. While Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. encourages Whistleblowers to identify yourself to the CEO or Chair of the Board or delegated representative, you may opt to report your concerns anonymously.
Who can make a report?
A Whistleblower is a person who, whether anonymously or not, attempts to report misconduct or dishonest or illegal activity that has occurred in connection with Australian Street Aid Project, and wishes to avail themselves of protection against reprisal for having made the report.
A Whistleblower may be a current or former Worker with Australian Street Aid Project.
What is reportable conduct?
A person may disclose any information that the person has reasonable grounds to suspect concerns misconduct, or an improper situation or circumstances in relation to:
● Australian Street Aid Project Ltd.
● A related body corporate of Australian Street Aid Project Ltd.
Reportable Conduct is any past, present or likely future activity, behaviour or situation considered to be:
● corrupt (including soliciting, accepting or offering a bribe, or facilitating payments or other such benefits)
● illegal (including theft, drug sale or use, violence or threatened violence, or property damage)
● in breach of regulation, internal policy or code (such as our Code of Conduct)
● improper conduct relating to accounting, internal controls, compliance, actuarial, audit or other matters of concern to the whistleblower
● a serious impropriety or an improper situation or circumstances
● endangering health or safety
● damaging or substantially risking damage to the environment
● a serious mismanagement of Australian Street Aid Project’ resources
● detrimental to Australian Street Aid Project’ financial position or reputation
● maladministration (an act or omission of a serious nature that is negligent, unjust, oppressive, discriminatory or is based on improper motives)
● concealing reportable conduct.
Reportable Conduct usually relates to the conduct of employees or directors, but it can also relate to the actions of a third party, such as a funder, customer/service user, supplier or service provider.
What is not reportable conduct?
While everybody is encouraged to speak up and report any concerns to Australian Street Aid Project Ltd., not all types of conduct are intended to be covered by this Policy or by the protections under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
Personal work-related grievances are those that relate to the discloser’s current or former employment with Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. that might have implications for the discloser personally but do not:
● Have any other significant implications for Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. (or another entity) or
● Relate to any conduct or alleged conduct about a disclosable matter.
Personal work-related grievances include grievances such as interpersonal conflicts, decisions about promotions, decisions that do not involve a breach of workplace laws, or terms and conditions of employment.
However, personal work-related grievances may be covered by this policy where they include information about misconduct, an allegation that the entity has breached employment or other laws punishable by imprisonment by a period of 12 months or more, or the grievance includes victimisation due to whistleblowing.
What information do I need to make a report?
To make a protected report you must know of or have reasonable grounds to suspect the Reportable Conduct.
For a report to be investigated, it must contain enough information to form a reasonable basis for investigation. It is important therefore that you provide as much information as possible. This includes any known details about the events underlying the report such as the:
● name of person(s) involved.
● possible witnesses to the events
● evidence of the events (e.g., documents, emails).
In your report, include any steps you may have already taken to report the matter elsewhere or to resolve the concern.
How do I make a report?
Whistleblowing protections will only apply to reports of Reportable Conduct made in accordance with this policy and procedure.
Where you have reasonable grounds to suspect that an individual has engaged in Reportable Conduct, you should report the matter to any person authorised by Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. to receive Whistleblower disclosures.
Authorised people are:
● Chair or delegated representative of Australian Street Aid Project Ltd.’ Board
● The organisation’s auditor, or a member of the audit team.
If you are not comfortable or able to report Reportable Conduct internally, you may report it to Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
How are reports investigated?
After receiving your report, Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will:
● assess the report of Reportable Conduct
● consider whether there are any conflicts of interest prior to investigating
● determine whether external authorities need to be notified.
● determine whether and how to investigate.
● appoint a Whistleblowing Investigator if appropriate.
If an investigation is deemed necessary, it will be conducted fairly, objectively and in a timely manner. The investigation process will vary depending on the nature of the Reportable Conduct and the amount of information provided.
Any individuals who are accused of misconduct in a report (a Respondent) will have an opportunity to respond to allegations before any adverse findings are made and before any disciplinary action (if appropriate) is taken.
Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. may need to speak with a Whistleblower as part of an investigation. If the identity of the Whistleblower is known, Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will endeavour to keep them informed about the status of an investigation.
If there is insufficient information to warrant further investigation, or the initial investigation immediately identifies there is no case to answer, the individual who reported the Reportable Conduct will be notified at the earliest possible opportunity.
Outcome of an investigation
At the conclusion of the investigation, a report will be prepared outlining:
● a finding of all relevant facts
● a determination as to whether the allegation(s) have been substantiated or otherwise.
● the action that will be taken, which may include disciplinary action and dismissal.
The disciplinary action will be dependent on the severity, nature and circumstances of the Reportable Conduct.
Where possible and appropriate, having regard to Australian Street Aid Project Ltd.’s privacy and confidentiality obligations, the Whistleblower will be informed of the outcome of any investigation into their concerns.
How will I be protected if I speak up about reportable conduct?
If you have reasonable grounds to suspect Reportable Conduct, even if it turns out your concerns are mistaken, Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will support and protect you and anyone else assisting in the investigation.
Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will not tolerate any detriment inflicted on you because you or somebody else has made, or might make, a report of Reportable Conduct. Examples of a detriment include:
● Retaliation, dismissal, suspension, demotion, or termination of your role
● Bullying, harassment, threats or intimidation
● Discrimination, subject to current or future bias, or derogatory treatment
● Harm or injury
● Damage or threats to your property, business, financial position or reputation or
● Revealing your identity as a Whistleblower without your consent or contrary to law
● Threatening to carry out any of the above actions.
This protection applies regardless of whether any concerns raised in a report are found to be true, if you are acting honestly and ethically and made the report on reasonable grounds.
This protection also applies to individuals conducting, assisting or participating in an investigation. You will also be entitled to the protection if you make a report of Reportable Conduct to an external body under this Policy.
Anyone found to be victimising or disadvantaging another individual for making a disclosure under this Policy will be disciplined and may be dismissed or subject to criminal or civil penalties.
If you believe you have suffered a detriment in violation of this Policy, we encourage you to report this immediately to the CEO or the Chair of the Board or delegated representative, or an external body under this Policy. Your concerns of being disadvantaged will be treated as a report of Reportable Conduct in line with this Policy.
Anyone engaging in detrimental conduct may be subject to serious consequences, including disciplinary action and/or termination of engagements or contracts, as applicable. They may also be subject to civil and criminal penalties. You may also be entitled to the following legal protections for making a report:
● Protection from civil, criminal or administrative legal action
● Protection from having to give evidence in legal proceedings and/or
● Compensation or other legal remedy.
See the ASIC Whistleblower rights and protections
How will Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. ensure confidentiality?
A discloser can choose to remain anonymous while making a disclosure, over the course of the investigation and after the investigation is finalised. Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will do all it can to protect confidentiality.
However, we encourage all individuals to disclose their identity when raising a concern. This will assist us to gather further information on your report. If you choose to disclose your identity, your details will be treated confidentially in connection with the investigation. Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will take measures to protect your identity such as by redacting your personal information, storing your information and disclosure securely, referring to you in a gender-neutral context and only allowing qualified staff to investigate your disclosures.
You may choose to report your concerns anonymously. However, if you choose to disclose your identity, your details will be treated confidentially in connection with the investigation, and your identity will not be disclosed unless:
● You consent in writing to the disclosure.
● The disclosure is made to ASIC, APRA or the Australian Federal Police (AFP)
● The disclosure is made to a Legal Practitioner for the purpose of obtaining advice.
● The disclosure is authorised under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and/or
● Disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a threat to a person’s health, safety or welfare.
It is illegal for a person to identify a discloser, or disclose information that is likely to lead to the identification of the discloser unless an exception above applies. If you feel that your confidentiality has been breached, you can lodge a complaint with a regulator, such as ASIC, APRA or the ATO, for investigation. Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. may also take disciplinary action against individuals that breach the confidentiality of a discloser, including summary dismissal.
False reports or disclosures
Protected Disclosures must be made on reasonable grounds. Anyone who knowingly makes a false report/disclosure of Reportable Conduct may be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.
The disciplinary action will depend on the severity, nature and circumstance of the false disclosure.
Handling and investigating a disclosure
Upon receiving a Protected Disclosure, within 7 days, Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will endeavour to assess the disclosure to determine whether:
● It qualifies for protection and
● A formal, in-depth investigation is required.
Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will endeavour to provide the discloser with regular updates.
Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. may not be able to investigate a disclosure if it is unable to contact the discloser.
Australian Street Aid Project Ltd. will handle and investigate Protected Disclosures in accordance with the Whistleblowing Procedure.
In the event of any conflict or inconsistency of information, the policy statement and details prevail over the “what this means for you” statement.