1.1 Navy Health is committed to a culture that complies with the law and builds and protects its reputation by conducting its business with honesty and integrity. This is reinforced by its
commitment to ensuring employees and officers can raise concerns about poor or unacceptable practice, wrongdoing or misconduct.
1.2 This policy is developed to meet the requirements of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblowing Protections) Act 2019, which requires Navy Health to have a compliant whistleblower policy.
2.1 The purpose of this policy is to:
a) encourage the disclosure of wrongdoing;
b) help deter wrongdoing, in line with the entity’s risk management and governance framework;
c) ensure individuals who disclose wrongdoing can do so safely, securely and with confidence that they will be protected and supported;
d) ensure disclosures are dealt with appropriately and on a timely basis;
e) provide transparency around Navy Health’s framework for receiving, handling and investigating disclosures;
f) support Navy Health’s values, long-term sustainability and reputation; and
g) meet Navy Health’s legal and regulatory obligations.
2.2 This policy is an important tool for helping Navy Health identify misconduct that may not be uncovered unless there is a safe and secure means for disclosing wrongdoing.
3.1 This policy applies to anyone who has or is working for Navy Health or doing something in connection with their work for us. It includes:
(a) past and current employees and officers (including directors, agents, consultants and contractors);
(b) individuals that supply goods or services to Navy Health and their employees;
(c) any other third party acting for or on behalf of Navy Health; and
(d) a relative, spouse or dependent of an individual referred to above collectively referred to as ‘eligible disclosers’.
3.2 Any person defined as an eligible discloser may make a disclosure under this policy.
4 Policy Requirements
Matters that can be disclosed
4.1 If you have seen or have reasonable grounds to suspect misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances concerning Navy Health you are strongly encouraged to disclose it. Misconduct that should be disclosed includes but is not limited to:
a) illegal conduct, such as theft, use of illicit drugs, violence or threatened violence and criminal damage against property;
b) fraud, bribery, money laundering, misappropriation of funds or other financial irregularities;
c) failure to comply with legal or regulatory requirements;
d) conduct that poses a significant risk to public safety or the stability of, or confidence in, the financial system;
e) serious inappropriate or unethical conduct or misuse of information;
f) bullying, discrimination, harassment or other serious unacceptable behaviour;
g) serious breach of our policies and procedures or the law; and
h) substantial waste of company resources or causing substantial loss or detriment to Navy Health.
Matters that are out of scope
4.2 Personal work-related grievances are outside the scope of this policy and should be raised under the Grievance Complaints policy in the Employee Handbook.
How to make a disclosure
4.3 A disclosure may be made internally within our organisation, to our independent whistleblower service provider (Your Call) or to external authorities and entities.
4.4 If you need information and advice about making a disclosure, you may discuss the matter in confidence with the Navy Health Disclosure Officer (refer to Appendix One for contact details).
4.5 If you make a disclosure knowing it to be false or misleading, you may be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal. The disciplinary action will depend on the nature of the false disclosure.
Making a disclosure internally to our organisation
4.6 Navy Health encourages staff to make a disclosure internally in the first instance. If you Navy Health Whistleblower Policy – [February 2022] choose to raise misconduct internally, you may make a disclosure to:
a) the Navy Health Disclosure Officer (refer to Appendix One for contact details);
b) the Chair of the Navy Health Board (refer to Appendix One for contact details);
c) an officer or senior manager of Navy Health;
d) an auditor, or a member of an audit team conducting an audit of Navy Health; or
e) our appointed actuary.
Making a disclosure to independent service provider – Your Call
4.7 If you do not feel safe or able to make a disclosure internally, you may do so using Navy Health’s independent whistleblower service provider, Your Call.
4.8 Your Call operates under a Service Agreement with Navy Health and acts as an independent intermediary, providing the means for a whistleblower to retain anonymity. Disclosures received by Your Call are reported to Navy Health in accordance with this policy.
4.9 Your Call enables disclosures to be made anonymously and confidentially. Whistleblowers are not required to identify themselves and will not be named in any report to the Disclosure Officer at Navy Health unless they have consented to their identity being disclosed.
4.10 For information on how to make a report to Your Call, please refer to Appendix One of this Policy.
Making a disclosure to external regulatory authorities
Concerning misconduct under certain Acts
4.11 You may make a disclosure directly to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) or another prescribed
Commonwealth authority if the misconduct relates to breaches of certain laws outlined in section 1317AA of the Corporations Act 2001. This includes breaches of both the Corporations Act 2001 and the ASIC Act 2001.
4.12 For information on how to make a report to APRA or ASIC, please refer to Appendix One of
this Policy. Concerning public interest and emergency disclosures
4.13 You may make an emergency disclosure or a disclosure in the public interest to a member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, the Parliament of a State or the legislature of a
Territory or a journalist, however you must fulfil the requirements set out in section 1317AAD of the Corporations Act 2001. Concerning disclosures made to legal practitioner
4.14 You may make a disclosure to a legal practitioner for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or legal representation in relation to whistleblower protections.
Protections under Australian law
4.15 If you are an eligible discloser and disclose misconduct as described in section 4.1 of this policy through one of the reporting channels outlined above, you will qualify as a Navy Health Whistleblower Policy – [February 2022] whistleblower under the Corporations Act 2001 and receive specific legal protections. These
are outlined below.
4.16 Disclosures about matters that fall outside the types of conduct described in section 4.1 of this policy do not qualify for whistleblower protection under Australian law.
Protecting the confidentiality of a whistleblowers’ identity
4.17 There is no requirement for a whistleblower to identify themselves in order to qualify for protection under Australian law.
4.18 Your identity will not be disclosed by Navy Health or Your Call unless:
a) you consent to disclosing your identity;
b) the disclosure is required by law,
c) the disclosure is necessary to prevent a serious threat to a person’s health or safety;
d) the disclosure is reasonably necessary for investigating the issues raised in the disclosure.
4.19 Navy Health has in place the following measures for protecting the confidentiality of a discloser’s identity:
a) the discloser will be referred to in a gender-neutral context;
b) where possible, the disclosers may be contacted to help identify certain aspects of their disclosure that could inadvertently identify them;
c) disclosures will be handled and investigated by qualified staff;
d) all documents and other materials relating to disclosures will be stored securely;
e) only a restricted number of people who are directly involved in handling and investigating a disclosure will be made aware of a discloser’s identity (subject to the discloser’s consent) or information that is likely to lead to the identification of the disclosed;
f) access to all information relating to a disclosure will be limited to those directly involved in managing and investigating the disclosure;
g) communications and documents relating to the investigation of a disclosure will be handled with the strictest confidence; and
h) each person who is involved in handling and investigating a disclosure will be reminded about the confidentiality requirements, including that an unauthorized disclosure of a discloser’s identity may be a criminal offence.
4.20 As a discloser you should be aware that, in practice, people may be able to guess your identity if you have previously mentioned to others that you are considering making a
disclosure, if you are one of a very small number of people with access to the information or your disclosure relates to information that you have been told privately and in confidence.
4.21 An unauthorised disclosure of the identity of a whistleblower (or information that is likely to lead to the identification of a whistleblower) is a disciplinary matter and will be dealt
Navy Health Whistleblower Policy – [February 2022] according to Navy Health’s disciplinary procedures. It is also an offence under the Corporations Act 2001, which carries serious penalties for individuals and companies.
4.22 You can lodge a complaint with the Navy Health Disclosure Officer or with external authorities (such as ASIC or APRA) if you believe a breach of your confidentiality as a discloser has occurred. Please refer to Appendix One for contact details.
4.23 If you are a whistleblower and your identity is revealed without your consent, you may also be eligible to claim compensation and/or remedies under the Corporations Act 2001.
Protecting the whistleblower from reprisal
4.24 Navy Health will do everything reasonably possible to support and protect anyone who intends to or actually makes a disclosure, is mentioned in the disclosure, acts as a witness or
otherwise assists with the investigation and resolution of the disclosure from detrimental conduct, acts and omissions.
4.25 Examples of detrimental conduct, acts and omissions include but are not limited to:
a) dismissal of an employee;
b) alteration of an employee’s position or duties to his or her disadvantage;
c) harassment or intimidation of a person;
d) harm or injury to a person, including psychological harm; or
e) damage to a person’s reputation.
4.26 Navy Health has in place the following measures to protect disclosers from detriment:
a) ensuring that the Navy Health Disclosure Officer is aware of their responsibilities to maintain the confidentiality of a disclosure, address the risks of isolation or
harassment, manage conflicts, and ensure fairness when managing the performance of, or taking other management action relating to, a disclosed;
b) strategies to help a discloser minimise and manage stress, time or performance impacts, or other challenges resulting from the disclosure or its investigation;
c) support services that are available to disclosers using the Employee Assistance Program provided by Converge International (see Appendix One for contact details);
d) actions for protecting a discloser from risk of detriment—for example, we may allow the discloser to perform their duties from another location, reassign the discloser to another role at the same level, make other modifications to the discloser’s workplace or the way they perform their duties, or reassign or relocate other staff involved in the disclosable matter; and
e) disclosers may lodge a complaint to the HR department if they have suffered detriment. The complaint could be investigated as a separate matter by an officer who is not involved in dealing with disclosures and the investigation findings will be provided to the Board or Audit Committee or Risk & Compliance Committee;
f) interventions for protecting a discloser if detriment has already occurred— for example, we may investigate and address the detrimental conduct, such as by taking disciplinary action, or we may allow the discloser to take extended leave, Navy Health Whistleblower Policy – [February 2022] develop a career development plan for the discloser that includes new training and career opportunities or other remedies.
4.27 If necessary Navy Health may also appoint a Protection Officer to arrange or coordinate support and protection for anyone who has or is in the process of making a disclosure. The
Protection Officer is appointed to assess the immediate welfare and protection needs of a whistleblower, safeguard the interests of a whistleblower and address any issues or concerns of detrimental treatment.
4.28 We will thoroughly investigate reports of detrimental acts. If proven, those who have victimised another will be subject to management action including disciplinary action up to dismissal. It is also an offence under the Corporations Act 2001 which carries serious penalties for individuals and companies.
4.29 If you are an eligible discloser and you suffer detrimental acts you may also be eligible to claim compensation and/or remedies under the Corporations Act 2001.
Protection from liability
4.30 If you make a disclosure that qualifies for protection under Australian law:
a) you are not subject to any civil, criminal or administrative liability for making the disclosure;
b) no contractual or other remedy may be enforced, and no contractual or other right may be exercised, against you on the basis of the disclosure; and
c) the information is not admissible in evidence against you in criminal proceedings or in proceedings for the imposition of a penalty, other than proceedings in respect of the falsity of the information.
4.31 The Navy Health Disclosure Officer has been appointed to receive disclosures directly from you or from our independent whistleblowing service, Your Call.
4.32 The Navy Health Disclosure Officer will:
a) assess each disclosure to determine whether it qualified for protection; and a formal, in-depth investigation will be performed;
b) carefully assess the information provided to decide the best action to take, including whether an investigation is required (and, if so, the nature and scope of the investigation, who will conduct the investigation and a timeframe for the investigation);
c) keep the information provided in a confidential and secure system;
d) coordinate and oversee the investigation where an investigator has been appointed;
e) advise the whistleblower (through Your Call where anonymity is requested) of the progress of the matter to the extent it is legally permissible and appropriate to do so; and
f) take all reasonable steps to ensure fair treatment for and to ensure the identity of Navy Health Whistleblower Policy – [February 2022] the whistleblower and the person/s who is the subject of the disclosure are kept confidential. An employee who is the subject of a disclosure will be advised about the subject matter of the disclosure as and when required by principles of natural justice and procedural fairness and prior to any actions being taken.
4.33 The Navy Health Disclosure Officer must ensure that any investigations are comprehensive and conducted without prejudice, and in a fair, confidential and timely
manner, including having regard to the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice.
4.34 To avoid jeopardising an investigation, the whistleblower, an employee being investigated as a result of a disclosure or a witness in the investigation, are required to keep confidential the fact that a disclosure has been made (subject to any legal requirement to the contrary).
4.35 The Navy Health Disclosure Officer must ensure each investigation results in a confidential report that include details of the allegation, all findings of fact and the
evidence relied on in reaching any conclusions, the conclusions reached (including any damage caused and the impact on Navy Health and the affected parties), recommendations to address any wrongdoing or any other matter identified during the investigation.
4.36 The findings of the report will be communicated to the parties involved to the extent that
it is legally permissible and appropriate to do so (this will occur through Your Call if the
discloser is anonymous).
4.37 The findings of the report will also be documented and tabled at a closed session of the Risk & Compliance Committee (and notify the Board) and will not personally identify the
whistleblower without their consent and only in cases where it is absolutely necessary. The method for documenting and reporting the findings may depend on the nature of the disclosure. There may be circumstances where it may not be appropriate to provide details of the outcome to the disclosed.
4.38 Navy Health acknowledge the limitations of the investigation process. The Disclosure Officer may not be able to undertake an investigation if it is not able to contact the discloser (e.g. if a disclosure is made anonymously and the discloser has refused to provide, or has not provided, a means of contacting them).
4.39 A discloser will be provided with regular updates, if the discloser can be contacted (including through anonymous channels). The frequency and timeframe may vary depending on the nature of the disclosure. The anonymity must not be compromised when providing regular updates.
5 Policy Requirements – Access and Review
5.1 Navy Health will make this policy available to employees and officers by posting the policy on the staff intranet and the Board Portal.
5.2 The Navy Health Board will review this policy on a biennial basis to ensure it is operating effectively. Any amendments will be made known to staff by posting an updated version on the policy on the staff intranet and the Board Portal.
6 Policy Requirements – Periodic Reporting
6.1 The Chief Risk Officer will provide a periodic reporting on whistleblowing related data on a de-identified basis as part of the risk and compliance reports to the Risk & Compliance Committee (e.g. showing the total number of whistleblower calls for the period and year Navy Health Whistleblower Policy – [February 2022] to date, split by caller or matter).
6.2 The reports may include additional information on the type (e.g. internal vs external) and status of an investigation and any recommendations, as well as details of training and communication/ awareness sessions held.
7.1 No waivers will be granted to this policy.
APPENDIX ONE: CONTACT DETAILS
Navy Health Disclosure Officer Contact Details
Chief Risk Officer
t. 03 8831 3381
Ron Wilson (alternate officer)
Chief Executive Officer
t. 03 8831 3350
Navy Health Chairman of the Board Contact Details
Chairman of the Board
Your Call Contact Details
Reports to Your Call can be made via the Your Call website (www.yourcall.com.au/report) or by calling 1300 790 228 between 9am and 12am on recognised Australian national business days (AEST). Navy Health’s unique identifier code is: NAVY601.
External Authority Contact Details
Navy Health Employee Assistance Program Contact Details
Phone: 1300 687 327