Sections on this page
- What is a whistleblower disclosure?
- Who can be a whistleblower?
- Who can receive a whistleblower disclosure?
- Who is the Whistleblower Protection Officer?
- How to make a whistleblower disclosure
- What you can expect following submission of a disclosure
- Disclosure to other personnel
- Investigating a whistleblower disclosure
- Whistleblower protection and support
- Anonymous reporting
- Nature of reporting
- Fair treatment
- Access to whistleblowing documentation
The policy encourages people aware of wrongdoing to come forward if they identify a problem, and to feel safe doing so.
Staffing and practices are in place to reduce the risk of poor conduct, and the need to report wrongdoing. By doing this, it safeguards the organisation’s reputation, values and ethics.
What is a whistleblower disclosure?
A whistleblower disclosure refers to behaviour that is:
- in breach of internal policy (including the Code of Conduct)
- misconduct or an improper state of affairs
- a danger to the public.
Who can be a whistleblower?
A whistleblower can be a:
- current or former director, officer, associate or employee (including permanent, fixed or temporary) of Neami
- contractor or consultant (including employee of contractors) who supply goods and services (whether paid or unpaid) to Neami
- student of Neami
- relative and/or dependent of any of the persons listed above.
Who can receive a whistleblower disclosure?
To report wrongdoing at work, you must inform someone authorised to receive whistleblower disclosures. These people include:
- Whistleblower Protection Officer/s
- Board of Directors
- Chief Operating Officer
- Chief Financial Officer
- General Counsel.
Who is the Whistleblower Protection Officer?
The Whistleblower Protection Officer (WPO) makes sure the whistleblower receives protection and fair treatment. The WPO can receive whistleblower disclosures via email, directly, verbally or in writing.
Neami has several WPO’s. These include:
- Senior Manager, People, Capability & Culture
- Senior Manager, Quality, Compliance & Risk
- A member of General Counsel.
How to make a whistleblower disclosure
A whistleblower disclosure can be made via:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- in person to a Whistleblower Protection Officer
- phone: 03 8691 5300
- post to a WPO:
- Attn: Whistleblower Protection Officer
4-8 Water Road
Preston VIC 3072
- Attn: Whistleblower Protection Officer
What you can expect following submission of a disclosure
The WPO who receives the disclosure will review the content and determine whether to:
- launch a formal investigation
- refer the matter to be dealt with under a different Neami policy, or
- take no further formal steps.
Disclosure to other personnel
Any whistleblower disclosures made to other personnel at Neami, such as a supervisor or manager, will be referred to a WPO.
A whistleblower disclosure can be made to Neami’s external auditors. However, any disclosures made to the external auditors will be referred to a WPO.
Where disclosures are made to General Counsel and General Counsel considers there to be an actual or perceived conflict of interest, the CEO will be made aware of the disclosure and external legal advice will be sought. Where General Counsel receives a disclosure as a WPO, and an investigation is launched, another WPO will conduct the investigation.
Investigating a whistleblower disclosure
If the WPO determines that a formal investigation is necessary, the WPO will refer the matter to the Whistleblower Investigation Officer or an external investigator (where appropriate) for investigation.
Whistleblower protection and support
Neami will never treat a whistleblower negatively for making a report, regardless of the outcome.
Neami will do everything it can to make sure the whistleblower doesn’t receive any type of unfavourable treatment. However, this procedure will not protect the whistleblower if they are found to have engaged in serious misconduct or illegal conduct in the report.
A disclosure can be made anonymously e.g. through the creation of an anonymous email account, and the identity of a whistleblower can’t be disclosed to a Court or Tribunal without a court order. However, it may be difficult for Neami to properly investigate anonymous reports. If authorities take legal action in relation to the reportable conduct or a disclosure is referred to an external authority e.g. police, ASIC or ACNC, early on for formal investigation, it may become necessary for a whistleblower to identify themselves. If a whistleblower is required or encouraged to disclose their identity, Neami will continue to ensure that the whistleblower is protected from retaliation.
Neami will do everything it can to ensure the identity of a whistleblower remains confidential throughout the investigation process. Neami will not disclose a whistleblower’s identity unless:
- the whistleblower consents to the disclosure of their identity
- disclosure of the whistleblower’s identity is compelled by law
- disclosure is necessary to prevent a serious threat to any person’s health or safety, or
- it is necessary to protect or enforce Neami’s legal rights or interests or to defend any claims.
Nature of reporting
A report may have serious consequences, including potential damage to the career prospects and reputation of people who are the subject of the reportable conduct. Therefore, it’s important that those who make a report under this procedure do so honestly and with genuine or reasonable grounds for believing that the information is correct or likely to be correct. Although the motivation of a whistleblower when making a report will not be considered relevant, if a report is found to be malicious, deliberately misleading or frivolous, the person making the report may be subject to disciplinary action.
The WPO can initiate or coordinate support for employees who have or are in the process of making a report. As a first step, employees can also contact Neami’s employee assistance program, Benestar on 1300 360 364.
A whistleblower within Neami who is, or considers themselves at risk of being, subjected to detrimental treatment as a result of making a report on objectively reasonable grounds should inform an appropriate WPO immediately. The WPO will work with them to take appropriate action, where possible, which may include making recommendations to the Misconduct Governance Committee, e.g. that the concerns be investigated.
The WPO may be unable to assist if the whistleblower wishes to remain anonymous. Where requests cannot be met, the whistleblower will be told why.
Neami is committed to ensuring that any person who discloses reportable conduct, acts as a witness or participates in any way with respect to a report of reportable conduct, does not suffer detriment or is not victimised or unfavourably treated. Any reports of such conduct will be thoroughly investigated and, if proven, those who have engaged in such conduct may be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.
Access to whistleblowing documentation
Neami whistleblowing documentation will be made available through:
- Neami’s website and intranet
- induction packs for all new employees
- electronic link to all current employees and contractors
- trainings, and
- requests from staff.
Contact the Whistleblower protection officer
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