- How to make a Protected Disclosure
- The University's Process for Dealing with a Protected Disclosure
- Processes for Protecting Disclosers
- Updates to this Procedure
- General Enquiries
1.1 This Procedure is governed by the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Protected Disclosures Policy 2016 (Policy).
1.2 Specific terms defined in clause 12 of the Policy have the same meaning wherever they appear in this Procedure.
2.1 ACU is committed to a culture of corporate compliance and the promotion of lawful and ethical behaviour and transparency in commercial, legal and other stakeholder dealings. ACU expects the Members of ACU and the Affiliates of ACU to act in accordance with the law at all times, to behave professionally and to uphold ACU’s Mission, values and Code of Conduct for All Staff 2006 in undertaking their duties and activities on behalf of or in association with ACU.
2.2 The Policy and this Procedure reflect ACU’s commitment to identifying and investigating Reportable Conduct and to support and protect Disclosers.
2.3 A Protected Disclosure can only be made by a Discloser to the Disclosure Receiver identified in Item 1 of Appendix A in accordance with this Procedure.
This Procedure outlines the framework for supporting Protected Disclosures including:
- how a Discloser can make a Protected Disclosure;
- the process for dealing with Protected Disclosures;
- measures to protect Disclosers;
- communication with the Discloser during any process employed in accordance with this Procedure; and
4. How to make a Protected Disclosure
4.1 Any person (a Discloser) who seeks to make a Protected Disclosure is required to follow the process set out in this Procedure.
4.2 A Discloser should contact the Disclosure Receiver either by:
(a) telephoning the confidential Protected Disclosure Hotline Service as set out in Item 2 of the Appendix; or
(b) sending a confidential email to the Protected Disclosure Email Service as set out in Item 3 of the Appendix.
4.3 The Discloser must be able to provide sufficient written or other evidence to the Disclosure Receiver at the time of making the Protected Disclosure or within a reasonable period to enable the matter to be referred to the Protected Disclosure Officer. The Discloser Receiver may ask the Discloser to provide further information or documents in relation to the Protected Disclosure at any time.
5. The University’s Process for Dealing with a Protected Disclosure
5.1 When the Disclosure Receiver has obtained all available relevant information or documents from the Discloser in relation to the Protected Disclosure, the Disclosure Receiver must refer the de-identified Protected Disclosure to the Protected Disclosure Officer within seven (7) days.
5.2 Upon receipt of the Protected Disclosure, the Protected Disclosure Officer may, at the Protected Disclosure Officer’s discretion, pursue any of the following actions (or any combination of the following actions) in order to reach an outcome:
(a) request the Disclosure Receiver to provide further documents or information in relation to the Protected Disclosure, including the identity of the Discloser in accordance with clause 5.1.1 of the Policy if the identity of the Discloser is necessary to pursue an investigation or reach an outcome;
(b) determine an outcome in relation the Protected Disclosure based upon the available information and documents including any actions or recommendations arising out of the outcome;
(c) investigate the Protected Disclosure or refer the Protected Disclosure to an investigator to reach an outcome in accordance with clause 5.4 of this Procedure;
(d) refer the Protected Disclosure to another officer of the University for investigation or action under another policy or procedure of the University;
(e) refer the matter to the Police; and/or
(f) dismiss the Protected Disclosure and take no further action.
5.3 The Protected Disclosure Officer must take appropriate action in accordance with clause 5.2 in a timely manner taking into consideration the nature of and circumstances surrounding the Protected Disclosure. Where relevant, the Protected Disclosure Officer will provide progress reports to the Discloser Receiver on a monthly basis to enable the Disclosure Receiver to communicate the progress of any action to the Discloser. The Protected Disclosure Officer must communicate any outcome to the Disclosure Receiver within seven (7) days of the outcome being determined.
5.4 Where the Protected Disclosure is referred to an Investigator, the Investigator shall:
(a) determine the process for the investigation, ensuring at all times that the principles of procedural fairness guide the investigation process;
(b) conduct the investigation in a timely fashion, bearing in mind any complexities associated with the investigation (e.g., the availability of witnesses); and
(c) provide a copy of the investigation report to the Protected Disclosure Officer for appropriate follow-up action.
5.5 Upon receipt of any report or notification from the Protected Disclosure Officer under clause 5.3 of this Procedure, the Disclosure Receiver must provide the Discloser with an update or details of the outcome within seven (7) days.
6.1 Appeal Process
6.1.1 Any appeals in relation to the steps taken by the Protected Disclosure Officer under clause 5.2 shall:
(a) be made in writing;
(b) be addressed to the Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee (Chair) in accordance with Item 4 of the Appendix;
(c) set out the grounds for appeal prescribed under clause 6.2; and
(d) provide an address to which notices or documents connected with the appeal may be posted or left for the Discloser.
6.1.2 The Chair may request the Disclosure Receiver to reveal the identity of the Discloser in accordance with clause 5.1.1 of the Policy if the Chair reasonably believes, based upon all the information before them, that the identity of the Discloser is necessary to determine the appeal.
6.2 Grounds for Appeal
6.2.1 The only grounds on which a Discloser may appeal are that:
(a) there was a lack of procedural fairness during any of the steps taken by either the Protected Disclosure Officer under clause 5.2 or the Investigator under clause 5.4;
(b) there is new evidence relating to the Protected Disclosure that was not taken into account by either the Protected Disclosure Officer and/or the Investigator that is reasonably likely to have a material impact upon the final outcome and that new evidence was not available to the Discloser prior to the decision or action which is the subject of appeal;
(c) the Protected Disclosure Officer and/or the Investigator took into account irrelevant evidence or failed to consider relevant evidence; and/or
(d) the determination made by the Protected Disclosure Officer under clause 5.2 was manifestly wrong.
6.2.2 The Discloser must set out details of each ground of appeal in sufficient detail to enable the Chair to determine the appeal.
6.2.3 The appeals process cannot to be used to seek a remedy for alleged Detrimental Action. Any claims of Detrimental Action should be pursued in accordance with the appropriate ACU policy, procedure or guideline, including, but not limited to, the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement, the Code of Conduct for All Staff or the Misconduct and Serious Misconduct Policy.
6.3 Appeal Outcome
6.3.1 In determining the appeal, the Chair may:
(a) uphold the appeal and make a determination as to the action to be taken; or
(b) dismiss the appeal.
6.3.2 The decision of the Chair is final and there shall be no further avenues of appeal.
6.3.3 Notwithstanding any decision on appeal, the Chair may make recommendations to the Protected Disclosures Officer in relation to the subject matter of the Protected Disclosure, the appeal or any process associated with the Policy or this Procedure arising out of the appeal.
7. Processes for Protecting Disclosers
7.1 Where a Protected Disclosure is made the University will ensure processes and systems are in place to protect the identity of, and provide confidentiality for, the Discloser, subject to any legal restrictions or requirements and/or clause 5.1 of the Policy.
7.2 Where a Protected Disclosure is made and where anonymity or confidentiality cannot be guaranteed or maintained due to the nature of any process taken or recommended under clauses 5.2 and/or 5.4 of this Procedure or clause 5.1 of the Policy, the Protected Disclosure Officer will, in consultation with the Discloser, endeavour to implement appropriate processes and systems to protect the Discloser such as relocation or leave of absence.
7.3 Subject to any legal processes or requirements, any electronic and hard copy records pertaining to any protected disclosure are to be treated and managed as strictly confidential in accordance with the following principles:
(a) Any person who has legitimate possession of any records, documents or information (in whatever form) in relation to a Protected Disclosure (including, but not limited to, the Discloser Receiver, the Protected Disclosure Officer, the Responsible Officer and the Chair) is directly responsible for any records or documents created as a result of a Protected Disclosure.
(b) Any person who has legitimate possession of any records, documents or information (in whatever form) in relation to a Protected Disclosure (including, but not limited to, the Discloser Receiver, the Protected Disclosure Officer, the Responsible Officer and the Chair) must take appropriate steps to protect the relevant records and documents such as storing hard copy files in a lockable cabinet and storing electronic records in a password-protected device with sufficient online security.
(c) Any person who has legitimate possession of any records, documents or information (in whatever form) in relation to a Protected Disclosure (including, but not limited to, the Discloser Receiver, the Protected Disclosure Officer, the Responsible Officer and the Chair) may not communicate the records, documents or information in a manner contrary to the Policy or these Procedures.
8. Updates to this Procedure
This Procedure will be reviewed frequently and updated as required.
9. General Enquiries
9.1 Any general enquiries in relation to the Policy and this Procedure should be directed as follows:
T: 02 9739 2228
P: PO Box 968, North Sydney NSW 2059
9.2 General enquiries made in accordance with the clause 9.1 will not normally be treated confidentially or anonymously
|Policy applies to||
|Date of Last Revision||Not Applicable|
* Unless otherwise indicated, this policy will still apply beyond the review date.
Page last updated: 2017-06-28
Short url: https://policies.acu.edu.au/1088312