This policy applies to all employees and contractors of Commit Works.
Commit Works is committed to a culture of integrity and accountability and systems that support transparency in decision-making, good governance and ethical behaviour.
This Policy supports the disclosure by individuals of wrongdoing occurring within Commit Works so that appropriate action can be undertaken. Commit Works will treat all information disclosed in a confidential manner (so far as the circumstances permit), conduct a fair and objective investigation and take appropriate remedial steps or notify relevant authorities.
This document is effective from 2/10/17.
The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that Commit Works:
- encourages and facilitates the disclosure by individuals of wrongdoing without fear of reprisal;
- provides appropriate protection for those who make disclosures under this Policy and in accordance with the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act); and
- properly fulfils its responsibilities under the Act and is aligned to the Australian Standard, Whistleblower Program for Entities, AS8004-2003.
The benefits of encouraging disclosures of wrongdoing and protecting those who make disclosures include:
- effective compliance with the Commit Works' legal and regulatory obligations;
- effective compliance with other Commit Works policies and governance requirements;
- efficient fiscal management through avoidance of waste and of ensuring proper tendering and procurement practices are adopted and monitored;
- promotion of a culture of integrity and accountability;
- improved morale within the Commit Works community; and
- a healthier and safer working environment.
All members of the Commit Works community, including Commit Works employees and contractors are encouraged to report any wrongdoing in accordance with this Policy.
This Policy operates in conjunction with and does not take away from the protections which exist under the Act (or other applicable whistle-blower legislation) or the rights of individuals wanting to make reports to the Integrity Commissioner.
Commit Works' attitude to wrongdoing and disclosure
The Commit Works will not tolerate wrongdoing at Commit Works.
Commit Works is committed to:
- operating with the highest legal and ethical standards;
- supporting and protecting persons who make disclosures under this Policy or under the Act or other applicable legislation;
- conducting investigations in a fair and objective manner;
- informing persons who make disclosures under this Policy of the progress and outcome of any investigation;
- taking disciplinary action against any person found to have engaged in wrongdoing and, where appropriate, notifying the relevant authorities;
- taking all appropriate action to rectify any wrongdoing.
Commit Works recognises that employees who disclose wrongdoing at Commit Works may rely on protections under this Policy or under the Act in making a disclosure.
Commit Works will:
- establish policies which assist Commit Works employees to comply with their legal and ethical obligations (although such policies will not exhaustively detail those obligations);
- establish procedures and provide resources to encourage and facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoing at Commit Works;
- oversee the functioning of this Policy and the procedures established under this Policy;
- review the effectiveness of the Policy and procedures from time to time;
- provide training and education to assist Commit Works employees to comply with their legal and ethical obligations;
- provide sufficient information and guidance to facilitate disclosures of wrongdoing under this Policy or in accordance with the Act or other applicable legislation;
- deal with disclosures under this Policy thoroughly and impartially, and conduct investigations where appropriate;
- monitor the outcome of investigations to ensure that appropriate actions are taken;
- ensure that wherever possible confidentiality is maintained in respect of the Whistle-blower’s identity;
- take appropriate action to protect Whistle-blowers from victimisation;
- ensure the Whistle-blower is kept informed about the progress and outcome of the matters concerning their disclosure;
- take appropriate action to rectify any wrongdoing which is discovered;
- develop strategies to avoid or minimise recurrence of the wrongdoing;
- take appropriate disciplinary action against any person found to have engaged in wrongdoing or victimisation;
- as required, liaise with external agencies; and
- where appropriate, notify relevant authorities of wrongdoing.
- be aware of and comply with their legal and ethical obligations and the policies of Commit Works;
- make good faith disclosures of wrongdoing at Commit Works;
- not make false accusations of alleged wrongdoing;
- co-operate with investigations under this Policy;
- support and protect those who have made disclosures;
- not engage in victimisation: and
- where appropriate, keep confidential the identity of Whistle-blowers and other confidential information disclosed.
Disclosures of wrongdoing
This Policy encourages and provides protection for all disclosures of wrongdoing at Commit Works.
The protections under this Policy will also apply to other good faith disclosures of wrongdoing under this Policy.
Under the Act information provided by a discloser and the identity of the discloser (or information that may lead to the identity of the discloser) may only be passed on under the following circumstances:
- To ASIC, APRA or the Australian Federal Police without asking for the discloser’s permission.
- To another person if the discloser has given their consent.
Note: This means that as a member of an audit team you cannot pass on the information to an audit partner unless the discloser has consented to you doing this.
How to make a disclosure
A disclosure of wrongdoing must be made to:
- the Authorised Disclosure Officer (a person authorised by Commit Works to receive disclosures of that kind)
- the CEO / CTO of Commit Work or
- ASIC or
- the company’s auditor or a member of the audit team conducting an audit of the company
A disclosure of wrongdoing may be made:
- orally or in writing;
- on a confidential or non-confidential basis;
To trigger the provisions of the Act the whistle-blower must:
- give their name before making the disclosure and
- have reasonable grounds to suspect that their revelation indicates the company or an officer or employee has, or may have, contravened the Corporations legislation (which includes both the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act) and
- act in good faith.
If a disclosure of wrongdoing is made to Commit Works employees other than an Authorised Disclosure Officer, it must be immediately forwarded on a confidential basis to an Authorised Disclosure Officer.
If a disclosure is made orally, the Authorised Disclosure Officer will:
- make a comprehensive record of the disclosure;
- request the whistle-blower to sign the record of the disclosure;
- discuss the procedure to be followed in dealing the matters which were the subject of disclosure;
- discuss with the whistle-blower the confidentiality restrictions in respect of the disclosure and the whistle-blower’s identity; and
- request the whistle-blower Investigation Officer to undertake an investigation of the matters the subject of disclosure.
If a disclosure of wrongdoing involves the Authorised Disclosure Officer to whom the disclosure was made, the disclosure must be forwarded on a confidential basis to one of the other Authorised Disclosure Officers.
All disclosures of wrongdoing will be referred to the appropriate offices or agencies internally and externally as appropriate and in accordance with Commit Works policies and external reporting requirements.
Where a person wishes to disclose certain conduct but does not seek the protection afforded to whistle-blowers under this Policy, the Commit Works’ other procedures for reporting and handling employees grievances and complaints of misconduct will apply.
Persons may disclose Reportable Conduct directly to an Appropriate Authority or to the Integrity Commissioner.
Investigation of disclosures
All disclosures of wrongdoing will be the subject of investigation by an Investigation Officer.
Investigations will be conducted promptly and on a fair and impartial basis, separately from the whistle-blower or the person or part of Commit Works which is the subject of the disclosure.
Principles of natural justice will apply to the investigation so that the investigation is conducted without bias and the matters which are the subject of the investigation are made known to the person who is the subject of the disclosure and that person is given an adequate opportunity to respond to those matters.
The investigation will be conducted in the most appropriate manner to deal with the matters which are the subject of disclosure and, where required, the Investigation Officer may seek the assistance of other individuals within or external to Commit Works with relevant expertise and make disclosures of information to those individuals on a confidential basis for that purpose.
A whistle-blower will be informed of the progress and outcome of an investigation.
A record of steps taken in the conduct of an investigation must be maintained, including all enquiries made and critical decisions taken, to allow the review of the effectiveness of the procedures employed in investigations.
As far as possible, and subject to the need to conduct proper investigations and take any consequential disciplinary steps, Commit Works is committed to preserving the confidentiality of:
- the identity of the whistle-blower;
- the identity of the person who is the subject of disclosure; and
- the fact of the disclosure.
Information coming into the possession of a person from a whistle-blower in relation to the matters which are the subject of disclosure must not be released to any person not involved in the conduct of the investigation without the consent of the whistle-blower or the authority of the Protection Officer.
The identity of the whistle-blower or any information which would tend to identify the whistle-blower must not be released to any person not involved in the conduct of the investigation without the consent of the whistle-blower or the authority of the Protection Officer.
Although whistle-blowers have the right to disclose wrongdoing anonymously, Commit Works strongly recommends that whistle-blowers identify themselves so Commit Works can ensure the necessary protection and support is provided.
If an anonymous disclosure is made, the whistle-blower must ensure that the disclosure is supported by the provision of all relevant details and evidence to substantiate the disclosure.
Protection of whistle-blower
A whistle-blower is entitled to protection under this Policy and must not be the subject of victimisation.
Complaints about a breach of confidentiality or victimisation in connection with a whistle-blower’s disclosure or attempted disclosure of wrongdoing should be directed to the Protection Officer.
Such complaints will be investigated as a separate matter by a senior experienced person, who was not involved with dealing with the initial disclosure, who will give the results to the CEO / CTO.
If it is established that a breach of confidentiality or Victimisation has occurred, CEO / CTO will ensure all reasonable steps are taken to stop the activity and protect the whistle-blower. This may include disciplinary action against those involved in the breach of confidentiality or the Victimisation.
A whistle-blower who considers that they are the subject of Victimisation may also seek independent legal advice or contact appropriate authorities.
Where appropriate, the CEO / CTO and the whistle-blower may agree to take positive steps to protect the whistle-blower from a breach of confidentiality or victimisation including:
- granting leave of absence to the whistle-blower or the person who is the subject of the disclosure for the period of the investigation; or
- making alternative arrangements for the marking of a whistle-blower’s work.
Commit Works has professional support services (including counselling) available for whistle-blowers and persons who are the subject of disclosures under this Policy. Information regarding those services is available from the Protection Officer.
Deliberate and false disclosure accusations
A person who makes a disclosure of false Public Interest Information or other disclosure knowing it to be false or being reckless about whether it is false:
- is not afforded any protection under the Act or this Policy;
- may have engaged in misconduct and be subject to disciplinary action; and
- may be guilty of an offence under the Act.
Separation of responsibilities of Protection Officer and Investigation Officer
The Protection Officer is responsible for safeguarding the interests of whistle-blowers under this Policy and in accordance with the Act.
The Investigation Officer is responsible for conducting preliminary investigations into the conduct which is the subject of the disclosure.
The roles of the Protection Officer and the Investigation Officer are separate and will not be performed by the same person.
The Protection Officer is the current CEO.
the Act means the Corporations Act 2001.
Appropriate Authority means a member of the Police Force, the Auditor-General or the Ombudsman.
Authorised Disclosure Officer means any one of the following, each of whom is authorised to receive disclosures of wrongdoing on the Commit Works' behalf:
- the Protection Officer;
- the Company Secretary; or
- the CEO / CTO.
Investigation Officer means the person (or persons) appointed by Commit Works to investigate the matters which are the subject of the disclosures made under this Policy. "
Protection Officer means the CEO of Commit Works or such other person appointed by Commit Works from time to time.
Reportable Conduct may include, but is not limited to, the conduct defined in Section 5 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012.
Victimisation means when a person causes detriment (including injury, damage, loss, intimidation, harassment, discrimination, disadvantage, adverse treatment regarding employment or threats of reprisal) to another on the ground, or substantially on the ground, that the other person or a third person has made or intends to make an appropriate disclosure of wrongdoing.
Whistle-blower means any person (including Commit Works employees and contractors) who makes, or attempts to make, appropriate disclosure of wrongdoing (in which they are not involved) and wishes to avail themselves of protection against victimisation.
Wrongdoing means conduct which in the view of a person acting in good faith is:
- unethical (in breach of codes of conduct adopted by the Commit Works or generally);
- in breach of legislation or by-laws;
- other serious improper conduct;
- any other conduct which may cause financial or non-financial loss to Commit Works or be otherwise detrimental to the interest of Commit Works (including gross mismanagement, serious and substantial waste or repeated instances of breach of administrative procedures).