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Whistleblower policy

1. Purpose and scope

1.1 APRA AMCOS is committed to the highest standards of corporate compliance and ethical business conduct. This policy supports that commitment by encouraging individuals to report concerns of wrongdoing without fear of reprisal or retribution.

1.2 This policy sets out how Whistleblowers can raise Reportable Matters and how APRA AMCOS will receive and investigate Reportable Matters and protect Whistleblowers. APRA AMCOS encourages those who are aware of wrongdoing to speak up. This policy is available to APRA AMCOS employees and officers via the wiki and to the public via APRA AMCOS’ website.

1.3 This policy does not apply to complaints concerning the Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies or to personal work-related grievances. If your complaint is about these matters, you should consider the scope of the following policy: Code of Conduct for Copyright Collecting Societies. To receive the protections afforded to a Whistleblower, an individual must meet the criteria set out in sections 2 to 4 below.

2. Who is a Whistleblower?

An eligible Whistleblower is an individual who is, or has been:

(a) an APRA AMCOS officer, including a director;

(b) an APRA AMCOS employee, including fixed-term or temporary employees, interns, and secondees;

(c) an APRA AMCOS supplier of goods or services (whether paid or not);

(d) an employee of an APRA AMCOS supplier (whether paid or not), including contractors and consultants;

(e) a member of APRA AMCOS;

(f) an associate of APRA AMCOS;

(g) a relative, dependant, or spouse of an individual referred to in (a) to (f) above.

3. What is a Reportable Matter?

3.1 A Reportable Matter is one in which a Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to suspect that:

(a) APRA AMCOS, an officer or employee has engaged in conduct that is an offence or contravention under any of the following legislation:

  • (i) the Corporations Act 2001;
  • (ii) the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001;
  • (iii) the Banking Act 1959;
  • (iv) the Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001;
  • (v) the Insurance Act 1973;
  • (vi) the Life Insurance Act 1995;
  • (vii) the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009;
  • (viii) the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993; or
  • (ix) or any other law of the Commonwealth in which an offence is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more;

(b) APRA AMCOS, an officer or employee has engaged in conduct that represents a danger to the public or the financial system; or

(c) there has been misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances in relation to APRA AMCOS, which may include fraud, corruption, or other types of criminal behaviour; negligence; gross mismanagement or waste; default; breach of trust or breach of duty; or dishonest or unethical behaviour.

A Reportable Matter does not necessarily have to involve a breach of a particular law.

3.2 Reports that are solely related to a Personal Work-Related Grievance are not covered by this policy and do not qualify for protection. These grievances will be managed under the internal APRA AMCOS Grievance Handling Policy.

3.3 Examples of a Personal Work-Related Grievance include:

(a) an interpersonal conflict between the individual and another employee;

(b) a decision relating to the engagement, transfer, or promotion of the individual;

(c) a decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the individual; and

(d) a decision to suspend or terminate the engagement of the individual, or otherwise discipline the individual.

A Personal Work-Related Grievance may qualify for protection if it also includes information about a Reportable Matter outlined in section 3.1 above or if the Whistleblower suffers from or is threatened with Detriment as outlined in section 5.2 of this policy.

3.4 Reports of wrongdoing that do not fall under section 3.1 above do not qualify for whistleblower protection. However, even if a Reportable Matter turns out to be incorrect or unsubstantiated, an individual can still qualify for protection.

4. Who is a Recipient?

4.1 To receive the protections afforded to a Whistleblower, a Reportable Matter must be made directly to a Recipient. A Recipient is:

(a) the APRA AMCOS CEO, a divisional head or a member of APRA AMCOS’ Executive Leadership team;

(b) a board director of APRA AMCOS;

(c) an auditor or a member of the auditor’s team conducting an audit of APRA AMCOS;

(d) the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority;

(e) the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC); or

(f) a prescribed Commonwealth authority.

4.2 If an individual makes a disclosure of information to a legal practitioner for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or legal representation in relation to the whistleblower protection legislation, that individual will also qualify for protection under this policy. Public interest or emergency disclosures can also be made to a journalist or parliamentarian under certain circumstances and qualify for protection if previously made to ASIC, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority or another prescribed Commonwealth body.

4.3 A Recipient does not include APRA AMCOS line managers, supervisors or human resource Managers. If a Reportable Matter is made to an individual or entity other than those referred to in section 4.1 and 4.2 above, APRA AMCOS may not be able to protect the Whistleblower.

5. Support and protections available to Whistleblowers

Confidentiality of a Whistleblower’s identity and protection from detrimental treatment

5.1 APRA AMCOS is committed to supporting Whistleblowers in a number of ways, including protecting the identity of the Whistleblower by redacting personal information to the extent possible while still enabling the complaint to be investigated and access to information about the complaint will be limited to those directly involved in investigating the matter For current APRA AMCOS employees, APRA AMCOS may:

(a) offer a Whistleblower a leave of absence while a matter is investigated;

(b) relocate the Whistleblower to a different work group or department or allow them to perform their duties from another location; and

(c) offer independent professional counseling through APRA AMCOS’ Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that individual.

5.2 APRA AMCOS will also protect Whistleblowers from Detriment, which includes ensuring that a Whistleblower is not subject to any of the following:

(a) dismissal from his or her employment;

(b) injury in relation to his or her employment;

(c) alteration of his or her position or duties to his or her disadvantage;

(d) discrimination between other employees;

(e) harassment or intimidation;

(f) harm or injury, including psychological harm;

(g) damage to his or her property, reputation, business or financial position; and

(h) any other damage to the Whistleblower.

5.3 Detriment does not include moving a Whistleblower to another work group or department to protect them or managing a Whistleblower’s work performance in accordance with APRA AMCOS’ Performance Appraisal and Management of Performance and Misconduct Policy.

5.4 The following actions may constitute criminal and/or civil offences resulting in penalties and/or imprisonment:

(a) if a Recipient (other than ASIC, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority or a legal practitioner) discloses the identity of a Whistleblower, or any information that is likely to lead to the identification of a Whistleblower, without the Whistleblower’s consent; and

(b) for a person to threaten or cause Detriment to a Whistleblower because they reported or propose to report a Reportable Matter.

A Whistleblower may seek compensation or other remedies if they suffer loss, damage or injury because they report a Reportable Matter and APRA AMCOS failed to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to prevent the Detriment.

Legal immunity

5.5 A Whistleblower will be protected from civil, criminal or administrative liability (including disciplinary action by APRA AMCOS) when reporting a Reportable Matter, excluding any misconduct an individual may have engaged in. In addition, APRA AMCOS will not enforce a contractual or other remedy, or exercise a contractual or other right, against a Whistleblower on the basis of a Reportable Matter.

6. How to report a Reportable Matter

6.1 APRA AMCOS encourages Whistleblowers to report a Reportable Matter directly to either:

(a) the APRA AMCOS Whistleblower hotline at https://talkintegrity.com/apra/; or

(b) a Recipient by phone, email, in person or by post to: APRA AMCOS, 16 Mountain Street, Ultimo, New South Wales 2007 (marked to the attention of the Recipient). Whistleblower reports will be treated confidentially and if requested, will be anonymous.

6.2 A Reportable Matter may be made anonymously and still be protected. An individual may choose to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym while making a report, over the course of any investigation and after an investigation is finalised. An individual may also refuse to answer questions they feel could reveal their identity. However, although a Whistleblower is not required to disclose their identity, it may make it more difficult for APRA AMCOS to undertake an investigation or address the conduct if the Whistleblower remains anonymous. APRA AMCOS encourages a Whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous to maintain ongoing two-way communication with APRA AMCOS so it can ask follow-up questions or provide feedback.

Submit Reportable Matter

7. How APRA AMCOS will handle and investigate Reportable Matters

7.1 APRA AMCOS will assess all Reportable Matters reported under this policy as soon as practicable after the matter has been reported and determine whether it qualifies for protection. If APRA AMCOS thinks it is necessary, it may engage an external investigator or expert to conduct a formal investigation. All investigations will be conducted in a fair, independent and timely manner.

7.2 Where appropriate (and if the identity of the Whistleblower is known), APRA AMCOS will provide regular updates to the Whistleblower regarding the investigation’s progress and/or outcome, subject to considerations of confidentiality and the privacy of any persons mentioned in the Reportable Matter. The investigation process and the frequency of updates may vary depending on the nature of the Reportable Matter.

7.3 APRA will redact personal information to the extent possible while still enabling the complaint to be investigated and access to information about the complaint will be limited to those directly involved in investigating the matter. This documentation and reporting of any findings will depend on the nature of the Reportable Matter and there may be circumstances where it may not be appropriate to provide details of the outcome to the Whistleblower.

7.4 Without a Whistleblower’s consent, APRA AMCOS cannot disclose information that is likely to lead to the Whistleblower’s identity as part of an investigation unless:

(a) the information does not include the Whistleblower’s identity;

(b) APRA AMCOS removes the information relating to the Whistleblower’s identity or other information likely to lead to their identification; and

(c) it is reasonably necessary for investigation the Reportable Matter.

7.5 It may be necessary for APRA AMCOS to report the Reportable Matter to the police or a statutory body or government department.

8. Further information

If an individual wants to obtain additional information before reporting a Reportable Matter under this policy, understand the criteria for making a public interest or an emergency disclosure, seek compensation or other remedies after reporting a Reportable Matter, or believe they have suffered a Detriment, they should seek independent legal advice, contact ASIC, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority or the ATO.

If an individual wishes to complain about a breach of confidentiality they should contact APRA AMCOS’ Head of Legal, Corporate and Policy or ASIC, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority or the ATO.