Our Whistleblower Policy
Hall Chadwick Melbourne Pty Ltd trading as Hall Chadwick Melbourne is committed to best practice in corporate governance, compliance and ethical behaviour generally. Hall Chadwick Melbourne recognises that any genuine commitment to detecting and preventing illegal and other undesirable conduct must include, as a fundamental cornerstone, a mechanism whereby employees and others can report their concerns freely and without fear of repercussion. This policy provides such a mechanism, and encourages the reporting of such conduct.
This policy is consistent with the Australian Standard AS8004-2003 Whistleblower Protection Programs for entities and the whistleblower provisions of the Corporations Act, Part 9.4AAA. Reference is also made to the Whistleblowers Protection Act (2001).
This policy forms an integral part of Hall Chadwick Melbourne’s risk management strategies and will contribute to a culture of awareness and application, at all levels in Hall Chadwick Melbourne, of measures required to combat illegal, unethical or undesirable practices. It does not replace existing reporting structures in place for discrimination, harassment, bullying, grievances or other dispute resolution mechanisms unless these processes have failed to suitably address legitimate concerns.
Managers will ensure that all contractors working for their areas of responsibility are aware of Hall Chadwick Melbourne’s Whistleblower Policy, and Contractors’ employees need to be made aware of their responsibilities.
Hall Chadwick Melbourne regards and treats misconduct of any type seriously. We are committed to the following aims and objectives of this policy and:
- expects the highest standards of integrity;
- does not tolerate improper conduct by its employees or appointees;
- does not tolerate the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct;
- recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices;
- supports the making of disclosures that reveal corrupt conduct, conduct involving a substantial mismanagement of public resources, or conduct involving a substantial risk to public health and safety or the environment;
- will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make such disclosures from any detrimental action in reprisal for making the disclosure; and
- will afford natural justice to the person who is the subject of the disclosure.
3. BODY OF POLICY
3.1.1 For the purposes of this policy, whistleblowing is defined as the reporting in good faith by an individual of reportable conduct that is within Hall Chadwick Melbourne’s ability to control.
3.1.2 Reportable conduct is defined as:
- dishonest, corrupt, illegal or fraudulent conduct;
- unethical or immoral behaviour;
- legal or regulatory non-compliance;
- a substantial mismanagement of Hall Chadwick Melbourne resources;
- damaging behaviour to the reputation of Hall Chadwick Melbourne;
- unsafe work practices; or
- serious breaches of the Hall Chadwick Melbourne Ethical Policy, Hall Chadwick Melbourne Code of Standards, Hall Chadwick Melbourne Code of Professional Standards (found in the Induction and Office Procedures Manual) or other form of serious impropriety that would if proven, constitute:
- a criminal offence;
- reasonable grounds for dismissing the services of personnel engaged in the conduct; or
- reasonable grounds for disciplinary action.
3.1.3 For the purposes of this policy, whistleblower is defined as any employee, contractor, or employee of a contractor who attempts to make or wishes to make a report in connection with reportable conduct under this policy and avail themselves of the protections offered by this policy.
3.1.4 The role of the Whistleblower Protection Officer (WPO) is generally to safeguard the interest of the whistleblower in terms of this policy. The role of WPO will be filled by David Lissauer.
3.1.5 The Whistleblower Investigation Officer (WIO) is defined as the person responsible for the investigation of the substance of the complaint to determine whether there is evidence in support of the matters raised. This person will be appointed by the WPO.
3.2. Reporting under this policy
3.2.1 Normal reporting channels (team members)
In the first instance, the whistleblower is encouraged to follow normal reporting channels as outlined in the Grievances Policy (found in the HR manual) and discuss with their immediate supervisor/manager. This should allow the matter to be discussed, clarified where necessary and appropriate action determined. In these circumstances, the manager must ensure that the matter is kept confidential and only escalated or promulgated in accordance with this policy. Unless the matter is agreed between the parties to be of a trivial nature or an incident has been misconstrued by the reporter, the manager is bound to take further action as deemed appropriate including reporting the matter to the Whistleblower Protection Officer (WPO).
3.2.2 Whistleblowing reporting channels (team members)
If the nature of the matter means that it is not appropriate for it to be reported through normal channels, or if the whistleblower does not feel comfortable in doing so, or if it has previously been reported in this way but the whistleblower believes no appropriate action has been taken, the whistleblower can contact the Whistleblowers Protection Officer (WPO) directly to discuss and file a report or email on email@example.com.
3.2.3 Whistleblowing reporting channels (non-team members)
Contact the Whistleblowers Protection Officer (WPO) directly to discuss and file a report or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
3.3. What happens once a call is made?
All reports of reportable conduct will be the subject of a thorough investigation with the objective of locating evidence that either substantiates or refutes the claims made by the whistleblower. Such investigations will be conducted by the Whistleblower Investigations Officer, who will follow best practice in investigations and be fair and independent.
The rules of natural justice will be observed in the investigation will be conducted without bias and any person against whom an allegation is made will be given the opportunity to respond. The Whistleblower Investigation Officer may engage external professionals to assist in any investigation process.
3.4. Communication with the whistleblower
Where possible and assuming the identity of the whistleblower is known, the whistleblower will be kept informed of the outcome of the investigation of his or her report, subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations. All whistleblowers must maintain confidentiality of all such reports, and not disclose the same to any person.
3.5. Whistleblower anonymity
If requested the identity of the whistleblower will be kept confidential. Any commitment of confidentiality is subject to the requirements of the law which may require disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower in legal proceedings.
Information obtained from a whistleblower will only be disclosed to the extent necessary to conduct an investigation into the matter, and to the extent set out in the reporting paragraph 3.8 below, if the whistleblower consents to the disclosure, or as may be required by law.
Unauthorised disclosure of information other than in accordance with this policy may be the subject of disciplinary proceedings, including dismissal. Where it is not possible to maintain the anonymity of the whistleblower, the whistleblower may request of the WIO that an alternative means of protection such as a relocation or leave of absence be provided. Any such requests will be considered in good faith by Hall Chadwick Melbourne and will be actioned with the assistance of the WPO.
3.6. Protection of whistleblowers
Whistleblowers who report matters in good faith, and provided he or she has not been involved in the conduct reported, will not be penalised or personally disadvantaged because they have reported a matter, by any of the following:
- any form of harassment;
A whistleblower who believes he or she, or his or her family, has been the victim of any of the above by reason of their status as a whistleblower, should immediately report the same to the WPO.
Any employee or manager who is found to have dismissed, demoted, harassed, or discriminated against a whistleblower by reason of their status as a whistleblower, may be subjected to disciplinary measures, including summary dismissal.
A whistleblower who has been involved in the reported conduct may still be provided with immunity from Hall Chadwick Melbourne initiated disciplinary proceedings, by agreement with Hall Chadwick Melbourne. Hall Chadwick Melbourne however has no power to provide immunity from criminal prosecution.
3.7. Whistleblowers not acting in good faith or falsely reporting.
Where it is established by the WIO that the whistleblower is not acting in good faith, or he or she has made a false report of reportable conduct, then he or she will be subjected to disciplinary proceedings, which may include dismissal.
Whilst not intending to discourage whistleblowers from reporting matters of genuine concern, it is strongly suggested whistleblowers ensure as far as possible that reports are factually accurate, complete, from firsthand knowledge, presented in an unbiased fashion (and any possible perception of bias of the whistleblower is disclosed), and without material omission.
The WIO and the WPO will both report their findings and actions directly to the Board of Directors. In cases where the directors, WIO, or WPO has been accused of reportable conduct, or where he or she has a close personal relationship with the person against whom the accusation is made, he or she will be excluded from the reporting process.
4. COMPANY AUDITORS’ OBLIGATIONS
Company auditors, under sections 311, 601HG and 990K of the Corporations Act 2001, have legal obligations to notify the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there has been a contravention of the Corporations Act. The contravention may be significant or insignificant and the auditor has to believe that it has not or will not be dealt with adequately.
The auditor’s reporting obligations are not limited to matters that arose from the audit or review and auditors are expected to make appropriate inquiries when they are warranted. An auditor making a report to ASIC has qualified privilege (protection from proceedings for defamation) and an auditor failing to make a report is guilty of an offence. Guidance on when an auditor must report contraventions of the Corporations Act is contained in Regulatory Guide 34 Auditor’s obligations: Reporting to ASIC.
Company auditors also have a legal obligation under the Corporations Act if they receive a disclosure from a whistleblower reporting breaches of the Corporations Act or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) or secondary offences under these acts. These disclosures need to be handled in accordance with the legislation in order to prevent an inadvertent breach of the Corporations Act.
Under the Corporations Act the disclosure and the identity of the whistleblower (or information that may lead to the identity of the whistleblower) can only be made when:
- informing ASIC, APRA or the Australian Federal Police without the whistleblower’s consent
- informing another person if the whistleblower has given consent. This means that as a member of an audit team you cannot pass on the disclosure to an audit partner unless the whistleblower has consented to this.
5. CONCERNS OR COMMENTS
If you have any concerns about Hall Chadwick Melbourne’s handling of whistleblowers please contact the Administration Director Peter Pryn, via email at email@example.com. Requests must be in writing and resolution of concerns will be sought as promptly as possible.
6. CHANGES TO HALL CHADWICK MELBOURNE’S WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY
Hall Chadwick Melbourne may modify or amend this policy at any time. Formal notice of amendments will not ordinarily be given, but the latest version of the policy can be accessed via Hall Chadwick Melbourne’s website.
7. FURTHER INFORMATION
- ASIC: Whistleblowers Australia Corporations Act 2001.
- Australian Standard on Whistleblower Protection Programs for entities (AS8004-2003).
- Australian Standard on Fraud and Corruption Control (AS8001-2003).
- Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001, Whistleblowers Protection Regulations 2001 and Procedure for Handling Disclosures made under the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001.
This Whistleblower Policy was reviewed in June 2018