Purpose and Scope
This document sets out Skills Insight’s position concerning Whistleblowers and provides the framework for Skills Insight’s response to reporting of serious wrongdoing, including unethical, illegal, corrupt or other inappropriate conduct.
This policy applies to all:
Although they are under no obligation to do so, any associate, family member or dependant 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.
A number of Commonwealth and State laws, regulations, and contract and grant deed clauses may apply to whistleblowing and the underlying governing principles. Compliance with these is a requirement for the implementation of this policy.
Skills Insight values, behaviours and strategies are the foundations for this policy and all actions must be consistent with them. Any conflict between this policy and the values, behaviours and strategies of Skills Insight should be brought to the attention of the CEO for resolution or should be raised in line with the policies and procedures outlined in this policy.
Relationship to Other Policies
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following codes, policies and guidelines:
All people within the scope of this policy (other than associates, family members or dependents) should be aware that Skills Insight is a values-based organisation and that we actively encourage the reporting of any potential or actual behaviours which may raise issues about appropriateness, alignment with values or effective procedure. We are constantly seeking to improve and to ensure alignment with our values.
This policy is designed to provide a safe and effective pathway for issues to be raised where other approaches have failed or where you have any uncertainty or concerns about the way the issue may be received or your personal welfare, safety or position.
Skills Insight 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 support the reporting of improper conduct.
a)encourages a person to report improper conduct in good faith if they know or have reasonable grounds to suspect such conduct
b)provides a mechanism to report misconduct or dishonest or illegal activity that has occurred or is suspected within the organisation
c) deals with reports from whistleblowers in a way that will protect the identity of the whistleblower and provide for secure storage of the information
d) takes available steps to ensure that any Reportable Conduct is identified and dealt with appropriately
e) ensures that individuals who disclose wrongdoing can do so safely, securely and with confidence that they will be protected and supported
f) helps to ensure that we maintain the highest standards of ethical behaviour and integrity.
Higher standard – This Policy is designed to comply with Skills Insights legal obligations. If anything in this Policy is inconsistent with any law imposed on Skills Insight, that legal obligation or the “higher standard” will prevail over this Policy.
Speak up and report it! – We encourage everyone covered by this policy to report any concerns in line with our policies and procedures.
Our expectations of Workers – Skills Insight expects everyone covered by this policy (other than associates, family members or dependants) to act in line with our values and to make any report on reasonable grounds.
Our responsibility to Whistleblowers – Skills Insight acknowledges a responsibility to ensure whistleblowers are treated fairly and that they will be protected and supported.
Confidentiality and consent – Skills Insight will maintain confidentiality of all reports and protect the identity of reporters to the fullest extent possible. While we encourage whistleblowers to identify themselves, they may opt to report their 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 Skills Insight, and wishes to avail themselves of protection against reprisal for having made the report.
What is Reportable Conduct?
Reportable Conduct is any past, present or likely future activity, behaviour or state of affairs considered to be:
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/client, supplier or service provider.
What is not Reportable Conduct?
While everybody is encouraged to speak up and report concerns, not all types of conduct are intended to be covered by this Policy or by the protections under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
This Policy does not apply to feedback and complaints received related to the functions of Workforce Planning, Training Product Development, Implementation, Promotion and Monitoring, and Industry Stewardship which can be characterised as a disagreement with outcomes based on personal, sectorial or industry association viewpoints and or priorities.
This policy does not apply to personal work-related grievances, unless the grievance includes victimisation due to whistleblowing. Those matters are dealt with under other policies.
Personal work-related grievances are those that relate to the discloser’s current or former employment with Skills Insight that might have implications for the discloser personally but do not:
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:
In your report, include any steps you may have already taken to report the matter elsewhere or to resolve the concern.
However, if you don’t have all of the above information but do feel you have information Skills Insight can act upon, you are encouraged to report your concerns under this or other Skills Insights policies, as well as in accordance with our values.
How can I make a report?
A report will normally be made to:
There are other avenues available should you feel uncomfortable with the above listed options. Skills Insight will also protect individuals who have made a report in connection with Skills Insight:
Protection and Support
How will I be protected and supported 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, Skills Insight will support and protect you and anyone else assisting in the investigation.
Skills Insight 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:
This protection applies regardless of whether any concerns raised in a report are found to be true, providing 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 an Executive Manager, 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:
Skills Insight will provide directors, employees and officers (and their immediate family members) with access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs provide you with free, confidential, short-term support services by qualified professionals, either face to face, over the phone or over the internet.
How will Skills Insight 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. Skills Insight 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 to the fullest extent possible in connection with the investigation and your identity will not be disclosed unless:
Skills Insight 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 or external/independent individuals to investigate your disclosures.
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 as listed 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. Skills Insight 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 14 days, Skills Insight will endeavour to assess the disclosure to determine whether:
Skills Insight will endeavour to provide the discloser with regular updates. We may not be able to investigate a disclosure if it is unable to contact the discloser. Skills Insight will handle and investigate Protected Disclosures in accordance with the Whistleblowing Procedure below.
How do I make a report?
Whistleblowing protections will only apply to reports of Reportable Conduct made in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy and this 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 Skills Insight to receive Whistleblower disclosures. Authorised people are:
a) The CEO
b) An Executive Manager
c) The Chair or Deputy Chair of the Board
d) The organisation’s auditor or a member of the audit team
e) To external bodies or legal advisers as outlined in the Whistleblower Policy
How are reports investigated?
After receiving your report Skills Insight will:
a) assess the report of Reportable Conduct;
b) consider whether there are any conflicts of interest prior to investigating;
c) determine whether external authorities need to be notified;
d) determine whether and how to investigate; and
e) 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.
Skills Insight may need to speak with a Whistleblower as part of an investigation. If the identity of the Whistleblower is known, we 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 (if known) 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) a finding of all relevant facts;
b) a determination as to whether the allegation(s) have been substantiated or otherwise;
c) 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 Skills Insight’s privacy and confidentiality obligations, the Whistleblower will be informed of the outcome of any investigation into their concerns.
The Board, through the Chair or Deputy Chair, is responsible for:
a) Assessing and overseeing whistleblower reports and consequent actions, subject to any conflict of interest
b) Ensuring that advice and support is provided to disclosers
c) Ensuring that a secure and restricted record of all reports made under the Whistleblower Policy and this Procedure is maintained
d) Ensuring that role-specific training is available as and when required.
The CEO and Go-Tos are responsible for ensuring that:
a) Workers are made aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to whistleblowing at induction
b) Workers are regularly encouraged to speak up about concerns of Reportable Conduct.
Executive Committee Members, in the capacity as Whistleblower Protection Officers are responsible for:
a) Receiving whistleblower reports and protecting the interests of disclosers
b) Determining whether the report falls within the scope of the Whistleblower Policy
c) Determining whether and how a report should be investigated
d) Appointing a Whistleblowing Investigator where an investigation is deemed appropriate
e) Ensuring investigations are conducted in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy
f) Ensuring any reports involving a director or the Chief Executive Officer are reported to the Chair of the Board, or the Deputy Chair of the Board if it relates to the Chair of the Board
g) Updating disclosers on progress and details of outcomes to the fullest extent possible
h) Maintaining to the fullest extent possible confidentiality of the identity of and reports made by disclosers
i) Immediately reporting concerns in relation to any detrimental conduct to the CEO or Chair of the Board (provided that the concerns do not relate to them, in which case another director should be informed.)
j) Determining the appropriate courses of action to remediate or act on the investigation
k) Reporting matters to relevant authorities
l) Making recommendations to prevent future instances of reportable misconduct
m) Completing any training mandated by the Board
n) Seeking to ensure the integrity of the Whistleblower Program is maintained.
Whistleblower Investigators are responsible for:
a) Investigating reports in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy and this Procedure
b) Maintaining to the fullest extent possible confidentiality of the identity of and reports made by disclosers
c) Gathering evidence and taking steps to protect or preserve evidence
d) Making findings based on a fair and objective assessment of the evidence gathered during the investigation, and formalising this in a report
e) Keeping comprehensive records about the investigation
f) Making recommendations to the Chair of the Board, CEO or Executive Committee (as appropriate given the nature of the disclosure) about how to implement the strategy in relation to how reported misconduct can be stopped, prevented and/or mitigated in future
g) Reporting back to the Chair of the Board, CEO or Executive Committee (as appropriate given the nature of the disclosure) on the progress of their investigation 7 days after the initial report was received and every 14 days thereafter
h) Complying with the directions of the Chair of the Board, CEO or Executive Committee (as appropriate given the nature of the disclosure) in relation to any further follow up, and reporting action and requirements, including the implementation of any recommendations.
Individuals within the scope of the Whistleblower Policy are responsible for reporting misconduct or dishonest or illegal activity that has occurred or is suspected within Skills Insight as quickly as possible, whether anonymously or otherwise.
Other Relevant Policies
This policy is to be read in conjunction with other relevant policies, including: