Whistle-blower Policy

Status


Approved

Eastern College Australia is committed to achieving its business objectives while minimising the impact of significant risks that Eastern College Australia can meaningfully and realistically control; protecting and enhancing its reputation; and behaving as a responsible and ethical corporate citizen. As such, the College recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices and supports the making of disclosures that reveal corrupt conduct, conduct involving a substantial mismanagement of resources, or that which involves substantial risk to public health and safety or the environment. It is policy at Eastern College Australia that the Board of Directors, all staff, volunteers, contractors, consultants, and members of the College community shall be free to report concerns without fear of retaliation. They may wish to report activity occurring in College operations that they believe in good faith to be illegal, dishonest, unethical, fraudulent, or not in compliance with College...

Public
visibility
Approved on: 21 Jul 2021
Review cycle: 1 Year
Owned by

Executive

Approved by

Executive

Category: 
Policy Contact: 
General Manager (Operations)
Purpose: 

Eastern College Australia is committed to achieving its business objectives while minimising the impact of significant risks that Eastern College Australia can meaningfully and realistically control; protecting and enhancing its reputation; and behaving as a responsible and ethical corporate citizen. As such, the College recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices and supports the making of disclosures that reveal corrupt conduct, conduct involving a substantial mismanagement of resources, or that which involves substantial risk to public health and safety or the environment. It is policy at Eastern College Australia that the Board of Directors, all staff, volunteers, contractors, consultants, and members of the College community shall be free to report concerns without fear of retaliation. They may wish to report activity occurring in College operations that they believe in good faith to be illegal, dishonest, unethical, fraudulent, or not in compliance with College policy.

Scope: 

This Policy applies to Eastern College Australia Board of Directors, all staff, volunteers, contractors, consultants, and members of the College community.
It also applies to any person or organisation that has an association with Eastern College Australia who reports serious wrongdoing within or by Eastern College Australia.

Definitions: 

ECA - Eastern College Australia

The College - The College refers to Eastern College Australia

Statement: 

Eastern College Australia recognises that people who have a work, service or client relationship with the College are often the first to realise there may be something seriously wrong. However, they may not wish to speak up for fear of appearing disloyal or may be concerned about being victimised or subject to other reprisals if they report the matter. No person should be personally disadvantaged for reporting a wrongdoing. Not only is it illegal, but it directly opposes the values of the College.

Eastern College Australia is committed to sustaining an internal culture based on ethical behaviours that are aligned with our College Values of Community, Integrity, Humility and Service.

Eastern College Australia is committed to compliance with all applicable laws and practices governed by the Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation.

Eastern College Australia is committed to providing a supportive environment for individuals wishing to discuss or report their concerns without fear of retaliatory action or retribution. When an individual makes such a disclosure, they are entitled to expect that:

  • Their identity remains confidential at all times to the extent permitted by law and this is practicable in the circumstances.
  • They will be protected from retaliation, harassment and victimisation; and
  • Should retaliation occur, it will be treated as serious wrongdoing under this Policy.

This is achieved by:

  • Encouraging reporting of wrongdoing issues of legitimate concern.
  • Providing safe wrongdoing reporting alternatives to remove inhibitions that may impede such disclosures.

And by establishing procedures that enable:

  • Protection for those that make serious wrongdoing disclosures.
  • Independent internal inquiry/investigation of disclosures made.
  • Resolution of the issue(s) identified.

To demonstrate our commitment, this Whistle-blower Policy provides guidelines for any person or organisation associated with Melbourne School of Theology who may wish to discuss or report an actual or suspected wrongdoing.

A person considering making a Whistle-blower Report is expected to have reasonable grounds for believing that wrongdoing has occurred and to act in good faith.

1. Reportable Wrongdoing

Wrongdoing includes behaviour that is:

  • Illegal, for example, theft, drug sale or use, violence or threatened violence and criminal damage against property.
  • Unethical, for example, dishonesty, altering Eastern College Australia records or breaching Eastern College Australia’s Child Safety Code of Conduct.
  • Seriously harmful to a Eastern College Australia community member, e.g. disregarding their safety.
  • Conduct which is damaging or detrimental to Eastern College Australia’s reputation.

2. Definitions

Whistle-blowing is the disclosure by or for a witness, of actual or suspected wrongdoing in an organisation that reveals fraud, corruption, illegal activities, gross mismanagement, malpractice or any other serious wrong doing.
A Whistle-blower is a person who reports serious wrongdoing in accordance with the Eastern College Australia Whistle-blower Policy.
Wrongdoing includes conduct that:

  • is unethical,
  • is illegal, fraudulent or corrupt,
  • breaches Commonwealth, State, or Territory legislation,
  • is damaging or detrimental to Eastern College Australia’s reputation.

3. Reporting Procedure

If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your concerns or make a formal report, contact one of the following Whistle-blower Officers:
Principal - Rev Tim Meyers
Ph: 03 9881 7802
Email: tmeyers@mst.edu.au
General Manager (Operations) – Rev Cheryl Osment
Ph: 03 9790 9200
Email: cosment@eastern.edu.au
All reports of actual or suspected wrongdoing made under this Policy to a Whistle-blower Officer will be properly assessed, and if appropriate, independently investigated.
recognises that a person who has had a report made against them will also need to be supported during the investigation and Eastern College Australia will take reasonable steps to treat the person fairly during this process.

4. Confidentiality

The College recognises that a person may want to raise concerns in confidence and will do its utmost to protect the identity of a person who raises a concern and who does not want their name to be disclosed. Reports of misconduct pursuant to this policy will be treated confidentially to the greatest extent possible and will be promptly investigated.
However, it should be noted that investigation into the concern could reveal the source of the information. Further, it is feasible that statements may be required from the Whistle-blower as part of the investigation process, and that this may be seen by all parties involved in the investigation. If the disclosure leads to prosecution, then the Whistle-blower may be called to give evidence in court.

5. Safeguard against Reprisal, Harassment and Victimisation

Neither the College nor any of its employees, students or volunteers will take adverse employment-based or other action in retaliation against a Whistle-blower who reports information under this policy. Eastern College Australia will take all reasonable steps to protect a Whistle-blower from any detrimental action in reprisal for making the disclosure. It will also afford procedural fairness to the person/s who is the subject of the disclosure.
The College will not tolerate harassment or victimisation of a Whistle-blower raising concerns in accordance with this policy. Any employees, volunteers or students who victimise or harass any person as a result of their having raised a concern in accordance with the Whistle-blower Policy may be dealt with under Eastern College Australia’s Codes of Conduct, disciplinary procedures, and applicable laws.

6. Untrue and Malicious / Vexatious Allegations

If a Whistle-blower makes an allegation in good faith but it is not confirmed by further inquiry, the matter will be closed, and no further action taken. If, however, the inquiry shows that untrue allegations were malicious and / or vexatious or made for personal gain then the College will consider taking appropriate disciplinary and / or civil action.

7. Student Safety

All students who attend Eastern College Australia have a right to feel and to be safe. The wellbeing and safety of all students in our care is our first priority and we have zero tolerance to the personal abuse of any student. The welfare of students is the responsibility of everyone who is employed at or is engaged by Eastern College Australia. To ensure the safety and best interests of all students, we take into account the needs of those with an Aboriginal heritage, those from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds and those with a disability.

8. Relationship with the Grievance and Complaints Management Policy

This Policy is designed to complement normal communication channels between students, supervisors, employees, volunteers, students, and the Executive Team. It should be read together with the Complaints and Grievance Policy, which is designed to deal with concerns and complaints about conduct which do not rise to the level of illegality, dishonesty, fraud or other serious misconduct.