PROTECTED DISCLOSURES

PR-6-13

PROCEDURAL DOCUMENT

Effective date: 10-Mar-08

 

Rationale

A protected disclosure is a declaration made by an employee where they believe a serious wrongdoing has occurred.  In accordance with the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 employees making disclosures will be protected. 

“Serious wrongdoing” includes:

-         unlawful, corrupt or irregular use of public funds or resources

-         an act or omission or course of conduct which

      -     seriously risks public health or safety or the environment, or

-         that constitutes an offence, or

-         that is oppressive, improperly discriminatory, grossly negligent or constitutes gross mismanagement, or

-     constitutes serious risk to the maintenance of law. 

Guidelines

  1. Any employee of the school can make a disclosure, including current and former employees and principals and contractors supplying services to the school.
  2. An employee who makes a disclosure and who has acted in accordance with this procedural document:

(a)  may bring a personal grievance in respect of retaliatory action from their employers,

(b)  may access the anti-discriminatory provisions of the Human Rights Act in respect of retaliatory action

(c)  are not liable for any civil or criminal proceedings, or to a disciplinary hearing as a result of having made or referred to a disclosure, and

(d)   will have their disclosure treated with the utmost confidentiality.

These protections will not be available to employees making allegations they know to be false or where they have acted in bad faith. 

Procedure

  1. The disclosure should be submitted in writing.
  2. The disclosure should contain detailed information including the nature of the wrongdoing, the name/s of the people involved and surrounding facts.
  3. The disclosure should be sent in writing to the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (or an appropriate outside person).
  4. On receipt of a disclosure the Chairperson must, within 20 working days, examine the allegations made and decide whether a full investigation is warranted.  If warranted a full investigation will be performed by people or persons professionally proficient, or planned by him/her as promptly as practically possible, through an appropriate authority.
  5. All disclosures will be treated with the utmost confidence – every endeavour will be made not to reveal information that could identify the disclosing person – unless the person consents in writing or if disclosure of such information is essential in the investigation, to prevent serous risk or to have regard to the principals of natural justice.
  6. At the conclusion of the investigation the Chairperson will report on the investigation with recommendations, if appropriate.
  7. A disclosure may be made to an appropriate authority if the person making the disclosure has reasonable grounds to believe:

-                     that the person responsible for handling the complaint is or may be involved, or

-                     immediate reference to another authority is justified, or

-                     there has been no action within 20 working days of the disclosure. 

Appropriate authorities may include (but are not limited to):

-   Commissioner of Police

-   Controller and Auditor General

-   Director of the Serious Fraud Office

-   Ombudsman

-   Police Complaints Authority

-   Solicitor General

-   State Service Commissioner

-   The head of every public sector organisation.