WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY 4.7

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1 WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY 4.7 Policy Number and Name: Classification 4.7 Whistleblower Policy Public - Council Policy Adopted: April 2011 Frequency of Review: Annual Last Review: GSES Committee 5 April 2011, Council 19 April 2011 Next Review Due: April 2012 Responsible Officer(s): Policy Manual File Ref: Manager Finance CC10/2601 Council File Reference: Legislation Authority: Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993 Related Policies: Nil 1. INTRODUCTION The purpose of this policy is to ensure that: 1.1 Council is committed to a working environment which promotes honesty and integrity. 1.2 Council protects its asset base. 2. WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION ACT What is Whistleblowing? Blowing the whistle is revealing information which is in the public interest. It may be information about an individual or organisation who has: risked public health, safety or the environment acted illegally wasted public money misused public resources Maladministration by a public officer of official duties Activities disclosed by whistleblowers can be current or in the past. CR12/22298 Page 1 of 5

2 2.2 Who are Whistleblowers? Whistleblowers are individuals who disclose public interest information which they believe on reasonable grounds, is or may be true, to an appropriate authority. 2.3 Informant Obligations A whistleblower will be guaranteed protection under the Act if: the information disclosed is of public interest; disclosure is made to an appropriate authority; they provide assist to the police or other official investigating authority. The Act does not protect whistleblowers who knowingly make false claims or who carelessly make claims. 2.4 Protection of Whistleblowers The Whistleblowers Protection Act protects people making disclosures from: being victimised for revealing such information; legal action taken against them for revealing the information in good faith. It is unlawful to treat people unfairly because they are whistleblowers. 2.5 Whistleblower Victimisation recourse Council will actively take steps to ensure that whistleblowers are protected from victimisation and know what resources are available for their protection. All parties concerned should be made aware that victimisation is illegal and may result in legal action. Victims can lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission Complaints need to show that: information was revealed; it was in the public interest; it was appropriate to reveal the information; the person or organisation complained against has damaged you; the main reason you have suffered was because you revealed the information. CR12/22298 Page 2 of 5

3 3. RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS 3.1 Council Responsible Officers Responsible Officers are to apply the Act. It is required that they maintain a good relationship with the whistleblower and keep the whistleblower informed on the progress of the investigation. They are required under the Act to refer information relating to fraud or corruption in the public sector to the Anti-corruption Branch of the SA Police who may refer the matter to the appropriate official investigating authority. Fraud is defined here as the deceitful misuse of a council resource or using ones power for personal gain. 3.2 The current responsible Officer for the Town of Gawler is the Chief Executive Officer. 4. THE DISCLOSURE PROCESS 4.1 Information Disclosure An individual wishing to make a disclosure should contact a responsible officer in writing, by telephone or in person and be able to provide relevant details. If a responsible officer is not deemed appropriate then disclosure should be made with the Police or other authority as deemed appropriate in the Act. Appropriate authorities for Council are: Type of information to be disclosed Illegal Activity Irregular/unauthorised use of public money Matter relating to local government Appropriate Authority Police Auditor-General Responsible Officer of the Council or the Ombudsman 4.2 Responsible Officer Record Keeping The responsible officer will not divulge the identity of a whistleblower The responsible officer will keep all information confidential The responsible officer will only involve others in the investigation on a needs-to-know basis Every conversation in regards to an investigation/disclosure will have a record maintained All records will be held securely so that only authorised officers will have access to files. CR12/22298 Page 3 of 5

4 4.3 Responsible Officer Investigations Listen to all disclosures made without passing judgement Act promptly to determine whether the matter can be dealt with internally or whether it needs to be referred to an external authority Explain your intended actions to the whistleblower, ensure you have their support and have addressed all of their concerns Manage all information and investigations with sensitivity until the truth of the claims can be substantiated Maintain a high ethical standard throughout the investigation Keep the Chief Executive Officer informed on the details of allegation and the progress of investigation (unless the Chief Executive Officer is subject to the allegation) without revealing informant identity Keep the whistleblower informed on the progress of the investigation. Even if the investigation is with another authority ensure the whistleblower is supported and that assistance is provided where applicable The responsible officer should monitor protection of the whistleblower throughout the investigation. 5. INVESTIGATION OUTCOMES If an investigation verifies whistleblower claims, the perpetrator may face disciplinary action depending on circumstances and the investigating authority involved. Actions to be taken as a result of the investigation range from a warning or dismissal to criminal charges. 6. REVIEW AND EVALUATION The effectiveness of this Code will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that its commitment to the principles of good conduct and standards of behaviour is being achieved. The Chief Executive Office will report to council on the outcome of the evaluation and if relevant make recommendations for amendments, alteration or substitution of a new Code. The Code will not be altered or substituted so as to affect a process already commenced. The Code will be reviewed after each general election of Council. CR12/22298 Page 4 of 5

5 7. FURTHER INFORMATION Further information about this Code can be obtained by:- Telephone: Fax: Appointment: Town Hall, Murray Street, Gawler Letter: PO Box 130, Gawler SA AVAILABILITY OF THE POLICY The Code is available for inspection during ordinary business hours at the Council principal office, Gawler Town Hall or Library Council Offices, Murray Street, Gawler or is available from the Council website at A copy of this Code will be provided to interested parties upon request, for a fee as contained in the Register of Fees and Charges. CR12/22298 Page 5 of 5

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