Protecting whistleblowers — responsibilities of funded service providers
Last published 30 Jul 2019
What is whistleblowing?
A whistleblower is a person who provides information and exposes corrupt conduct within an organisation in the hope of stopping it.
Whistleblowing plays a crucial role in managing risk and cultivating an ethical culture, and is an effective way of uncovering potential fraud and corruption.
The department is subject to two pieces of legislation in relation to whistleblowers.
- The Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 protects public officials who report public sector wrongdoing under certain circumstances.
- The Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 protects individuals who provide the Commission with information about suspected corrupt conduct or assist it in other ways.
The department is committed to protecting the confidentiality of persons reporting misconduct if there is a genuine fear of reprisal or detriment.
As an organisation funded by us, you’ve agreed to maintain policies that are consistent with the intent of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 and Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.
A whistleblowing program that aligns to better practice (AS 8004-2003, Corporate governance – Whistleblower protection programs for entities) would generally include:
- a clear statement of commitment to enable the reporting of wrongdoing and to encourage whistleblowing
- multiple reporting options, including senior and non-senior staff, a direct line to the governing body, and/or an accessible and independent external contact
- provisions to protect whistleblowers, including confidentiality of information provided, maintaining their anonymity, and protecting them against litigation, reprisals and victimisation
- a process for investigating allegations and referrals from external parties.
Resources to assist you
These resources will assist your organisation to develop a fit-for-purpose whistleblowing program that accords with best practice.
Whistleblowing policy template, Justice Connect, Not-for-profit Law
Whistleblowing at your Not-for-profit: A Leaders Guide, Institute of Community Directors Australia
Guidelines for public interest disclosures, NSW Ombudsman
Whistleblowing program checklist, Your Call Whistleblowing Solutions
Whistleblowing, Australian Securities and Investment Commission