Type: Policy

Classification: 
Operational

Policy Number: SCS2020006

Document Rescinds/Replaces:
SCS202002 11 September 2020

Policy Effective date:
24 November 2020

Review date:
March 2023

Document owner:
Director: Strategy, Policy and Governance

Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) is committed to the protection of individuals who disclose information about illegal or improper conduct occurring within SCS. This policy aims to provide a safe and confidential environment where concerns can be raised by whistleblowers without fear of reprisal or detrimental treatment.

This policy sets out:

  • who is entitled to protection as a whistleblower
  • the protections whistleblowers are entitled to
  • how disclosures will be handled by SCS

All SCS officers, employees, and contractors must comply with this policy. A copy of this policy is available on the SCS internet.

This document applies to a person who is, or has been:

  • an officer or employee of SCS
  • a supplier of goods or services to SCS (paid or unpaid) or one of their employees
  • an associate of SCS
  • a relative, spouse, or a dependent of one of the above.

Any of the above are able to be treated as a whistleblower under this policy if they disclose information regarding the type of matters set out in section 3.1 to one of the persons or bodies set out in section 3.3.

3.1 What information is considered a whistleblower disclosure?

A whistleblower disclosure is one that is made about unlawful conduct or conduct that endangers the public or financial system that you suspect (on reasonable grounds), has occurred or is occurring within SCS. This includes conduct by an officer or employee of SCS.

3.2 What is not considered a whistleblower disclosure?

Disclosures which are solely about a personal work-related grievance are not considered whistleblower disclosures and therefore are not protected under this policy.
A personal work-related grievance is as defined in the Act and includes the following grievances:

  • interpersonal conflict between the discloser and another person
  • a decision relating to the engagement, transfer or promotion of the discloser
  • a decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the discloser
  • a decision to suspend or terminate the engagement of the discloser, or otherwise discipline the discloser

If you have a personal work-related grievance please refer to SCS’ Code of Professional Conduct, Positive Workplace Relationships Policy and/or Performance Management Procedures for further information or contact our People and Culture directorate for assistance.

3.3 Who can a whistleblower disclose information to?

A whistleblower can make a disclosure to one of the following people or bodies:

  • a supervisor or manager (if you are an employee of SCS)
  • an Officer of Sydney Catholic Schools, including the Chair of the SCS Board
  • an auditor of Sydney Catholic Schools
  • ASIC
  • APRA
  • a lawyer in order to obtain advice or representation about the Act.

In addition to the above, SCS also has a third party whistleblower service which we encourage people to use. Their contact details are below:

If the circumstances under s 1317AAD of the Act apply, a whistleblower may make a public interest or emergency disclosure to:

  • a member of a Commonwealth or State Parliament or Territory legislature
  • a journalist.

3.4 How is a disclosure made?

A disclosure can be made in person, by telephone or in writing. Please note, the external bodies listed above may also have other means by which a whistleblower can make a disclosure.

3.5 How are whistleblowers protected?

A whistleblower is entitled to the protection of their identity, or information that is likely to lead to their identity becoming known.

Furthermore, whistleblowers do not have to reveal their identity when making a disclosure.

Additional protections are that:

  • SCS will not cause any detriment to the whistleblower because of the disclosure
  • anyone who causes or threatens to cause detriment to a whistleblower or another
  • person in the belief or suspicion a report has been made, may be guilty of an offence
  • under the Act and may be liable for damages
  • a whistleblower has immunity from any civil, criminal or administrative legal action
  • (including disciplinary action) as a result of making the disclosure
  • no contractual or other remedies may be enforced and no contractual or other
  • rights may be exercised, against the whistleblower for making the disclosure

3.6 When may a whistleblower’s identity be disclosed?

A whistleblower’s identity, or information that is likely to lead to their identity becoming known, can only be disclosed where it is made to:

  • an in-house or external lawyer to obtain legal advice or representation;
  • ASIC
  • APRA
  • A Commonwealth, State or Territory Authority for the purposes of assisting them in the performance of their duties
  • The Australian Federal Police
  • A Court or Tribunal, in circumstances where it is considered necessary in the interests of justice

A whistleblower can also consent to their identity being disclosed.

Furthermore, a whistleblower’s identity may be disclosed to others if it is a necessary part of the investigation process and SCS will take all reasonable steps to avoid identification of the whistleblower.

3.7 How does SCS investigate a disclosure?

When a disclosure is received, it will be promptly forwarded to the Strategy, Policy & Governance directorate, who will review whether it falls within the intended scope of the policy. All qualifying whistleblower disclosures will be investigated.
Investigations of a disclosure will be undertaken by an impartial person or an external investigator.

SCS will ensure the investigation:

  • is conducted promptly
  • is sufficiently resourced
  • is conducted in a fair and objective manner
  • is conducted in strict confidence
  • protects the identity of the whistleblower
  • gives the opportunity to any person who is adversely mentioned in the disclosure an opportunity to respond prior to any findings being made.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will provide the Director of Strategy, Policy & Governance with a report summarising how the investigation was conducted, the evidence collected and contain findings in relation to the allegations in the disclosure and recommend any action required.

The Director of Strategy, Policy & Governance will then take appropriate action, including:

  • implementing the recommendations of the investigator
  • requesting further investigation
  • recommending disciplinary action
  • notifying regulatory or law enforcement bodies.

If the whistleblower is able to be contacted, they will be informed of the results of the investigation. However, some circumstances may limit the information provided to the person such as confidentiality or other legal constraints.

the Act means the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

ASIC means the Australian Investment and Securities Commission

APRA means the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Associate means any individual within the meaning of the Act

Public Interest & Emergency Disclosure is as defined in section 1317AAD of the Act

Relative has the same meaning as the Act

Spouse has the same meaning as the Act

If you have any questions about this document or would like further information, please contact the Strategy, Policy and Governance team on 9568 8215.

Policy Number: SCS2020006

Document Rescinds / Replaces: SCS202002 11 September 2020

Released: 24 November 2020

Review by: March 2023

Document Owner: Director: Strategy, Policy and Governance

Printable PDF – Whistleblower Policy