The purpose of this policy is to ensure a supportive workplace culture where misconduct within or by indigo foundation can be raised without fear of retribution or retaliation.
This policy applies to all members of the indigo foundation team, including board members, staff, volunteers and consultants. It also applies to our overseas community partners and people who work for or with our community partners who report serious misconduct within or by indigo foundation representatives.
For the purposes of this policy, whistle blowing is defined as disclosure by or for a witness of actual or suspected misconduct in an organisation. Misconduct includes but is not limited to acts or behaviour that is or may:
- be fraudulent, corrupt or illegal;
- be unethical or dishonest including an abuse of power or wilfully breaching indigo foundation’s Code of Ethics and Conduct;
- be damaging to indigo foundation such as maladministration or gross mismanagement;
- cause serious harm to a member of the indigo foundation team or our community partners;
- cause serious financial or non-financial loss or reputational harm to indigo foundation or our community partners; or
- involve any other kind of serious impropriety including retaliatory action against a whistle-blower for having made a wrongdoing disclosure.
indigo foundation is committed to the highest standards of legal, ethical and moral behaviour however we understand that all organisations face the risk of unprofessional conduct, criminal behaviour or mismanagement.
We recognise that people who work with indigo foundation, be they staff, volunteers, consultants or our community partners, are often the first to realise or suspect misconduct.
We are committed to fostering a workplace culture where all team members in Australia and individuals working with our community partners overseas feel safe to honestly and freely raise concerns of misconduct without fear of being victimised or subject to reprisals or retribution. No person should be personally disadvantaged for reporting a wrongdoing in good faith.
All indigo foundation team members and individuals working with our community partners have an obligation to report misconduct without fear of retaliation and reprisal.
When a person makes such a disclosure under this policy they are entitled to expect that:
- indigo foundation will respond in a timely and respectful manner;
- their identity will remain confidential at all times to the extent permitted by law or is practical in the circumstances;
- they will be protected from reprisal, harassment or victimisation for making the report; and
- indigo foundation will take steps to protect them from detrimental treatment or dismissal if they report actual or suspected wrongful acts in good faith.
- It is the responsibility of the General Manager to ensure that:
- all indigo foundation staff, volunteers, board members and consultants are made aware of this policy and their responsibilities to report wrongdoing.
- all community partners are provided with a copy of this policy and made aware of their responsibilities to report wrongdoing.
- If misconduct is reported under this Policy, indigo foundation will endeavour to protect the whistle-blowers identity unless: the whistle-blower consents to the disclosure; the disclosure is required or authorised by law; and/or the disclosure is necessary to further the investigation.
- A person considering making a whistle-blower report is obliged to act in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the disclosure is reportable wrongdoing.
- Indigo foundation will treat all disclosures of wrongful acts seriously and protect staff who raise concerns in good faith. However, while protection is provided to whistle-blowers under this policy, deliberate false reports will not be tolerated and people found making a deliberate false claim may be subjected to disciplinary action.
- Even though a whistle-blower may be implicated in the wrongdoing they must not be subjected to any actual or threatened retaliatory action or victimisation in reprisal for making a report under this policy. It is important to note that making a report may not protect the whistle-blower from the consequences flowing from involvement in the wrongdoing itself. A person’s liability for their own conduct is not affected by their reporting of that conduct under this policy. However active cooperation in the investigation, an admission and remorse may be taken into account when considering disciplinary or other action.
Process of disclosing misconduct or suspected misconduct
- A whistle-blower should report instances or suspicions of misconduct to the General Manager and, where this is not possible or appropriate, to the Chair. Reports must be made in good-faith and be as thorough as is possible.
- If the report is lodged with the General Manager, the General Manager will contact the Chair with details of the disclosure. If the report is lodged with the Chair, the Chair will contact the General Manger. Both parties will agree on the appointment of an appropriate delegate, known as the Whistle-blower Protection Officer, who is not implicated in the report and who is independent of the area where the wrongdoing is alleged to have occurred, to lead the investigation. Where necessary, the Whistle-blower Protection Officer may be a qualified external investigator.
- The Chair will ensure that the Board is informed of a whistle-blower disclosure.
- The Whistle-blower Protection Officer:
- is responsible for assuring that action taken in response to the investigation is appropriate to the circumstances and that retaliatory action will not be taken against the whistle-blower;
- must notify the General Manager or Chair of the details and process of the investigation to be undertaken;
- must have direct and unfettered access to independent financial, legal and operational advisers as required and a direct line of reporting to the General Manager or Chair;
- must keep the General Manager or Chair regularly informed of the investigation process;
- must keep the whistle-blower informed of the progress and outcomes of the investigation subject to considerations of privacy of those against whom the allegations have been made;
- is authorised to apply the powers of the Board and may seek the expertise and involvement of internal or external experts or Police as required in the investigation;
- will produce a report of the investigation and any recommendations as necessary to the General Manager or Chair.
- The full report and any recommendations by the Whistle-blower Protection Officer will be considered by the Board.