Whistleblower Policy | Novita

Whistleblower Policy

1. Purpose

  • At Novita, we are committed to ensuring corporate compliance and promoting an ethical corporate culture where people feel safe and are encouraged to speak up when they see activity or behaviour that they feel is wrong or does not match our
  • The purpose of this policy is to:
  1. encourage the reporting of any instances of suspected unethical, illegal, corrupt, fraudulent or undesirable conduct;
  2. provide protections and measures for people who make a disclosure without fear of victimisation or reprisal; and
  3. ensure Novita meets its statutory and regulatory responsibilities and that it adheres to accepted best


2. Scope

  • This policy is applicable to all Novita services and applies to any person who is, or has been, any of the following with respect to Novita:
  1.  Employee
  2. Officer
  3. Director
  4. Contractor (including sub-contractors and employees of contractors)
  5. Supplier (including employees of suppliers)
  6. Consultant
  7. Auditor
  8. Associate
  9. Trustee, custodian or investment manager of a superannuation entity (or their officer, employee or a goods or service provider) and
  10. Relative, dependant, spouse, or dependant of one of the people referred to
  • This policy excludes any personal work-related grievance which is addressed in the Staff Grievance Procedure.


3. Policy Statement

  • Novita is committed to the highest standards of conduct and to promoting and supporting a culture of honest and ethical behaviour, corporate compliance and good corporate governance. We will:
  1. be open and responsive to reporting of any instances of suspected unethical, illegal, fraudulent or undesirable conduct involving Novita;
  2. ensure people who disclose (i.e. Whistleblowers) are protected from reprisal, discrimination, harassment or victimisation for making the disclosure;
  3. respect and maintain the confidentiality of identity of the Whistleblower if they choose to remain anonymous throughout and after the
  4. take the necessary steps to ensure no retaliation occurs if the Whistleblower decides to disclose his/her identity; and
  5. investigate the Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct, and to the extent of the law, provide feedback to the Whistleblower of progress and
  • Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct: You may make a report or disclosure under this policy if you have reasonable grounds to believe that a Novita director, officer, employee, contractor, supplier, consultant or other person who has business dealings with Novita has engaged in conduct which is:
  1. dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt;
  2. illegal (such as theft, dealing in or use of illicit drugs, violence or threatened violence and criminal damage to property);
  3. unethical including any breach of the Novita’s policies such as the Code of Conduct;
  4. oppressive or grossly negligent;
  5. potentially damaging to Novita, its employees or a third party;
  6. misconduct or an improper state of affairs;
  7. a danger, or represents a danger to the public or financial system;
  8. harassment, discrimination, victimisation or
  • Novita relies on its employees maintaining a culture of honest and ethical Accordingly, if you become aware of any Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct, it is expected that you will make a disclosure under this policy.
  • Nothing in this Policy prevents Novita from disciplining an employee who has disclosed information inconsistently with the Corporations Act 2001 and/or this Policy.


4. Key Principles

  • Whistleblowers play an important role in identifying and calling out misconduct and harm to clients, Novita and the
  • Novita’s Whistleblower Disclosure Management Process is underpinned by the following principles:
  1. Rights – People have a fundamental right to speak up about the concerns they have regarding Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct.
  2. Respect – People are to be treated with respect and dignity throughout the Whistleblower Disclosure Management This includes respecting their privacy and maintaining the confidentiality of their information and identity if requested by the Whistleblower.
  3. Fairness – People are treated fairly and their concerns regarding Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct are addressed in an unbiased and objective manner.
  4. Accessible – Information regarding the Whistleblower Disclosure Management Process is to be provided in plain English so people understand how to disclose.
  5. Responsive –There is a clear process for ensuring that disclosures regarding Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct are handled in a timely manner and where possible people are kept informed of the progress of their
  6. Natural justice – People involved in presenting feedback regarding a disclosure are to be given a fair opportunity to respond to concerns/issues raised and to present their views.
  7. Accountable – The process for resolving concerns regarding Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct is clearly outlined so people know what to expect.
  8. Excellence – The Whistleblower Disclosure Management Process is supported by a culture of honest and ethical behaviour and commitment to service excellence and business


5. Responsibilities

  • Whistleblowers are responsible for:
  1. disclosing Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct that is made with reasonable grounds and that they believe is
  2. providing information     to      assist      any     inquiry/investigation      of     the      disclosed Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct;
  3. for their own
  • Protection is not available where the disclosure is:
  1. trivial or vexatious in nature with no substance. This will be treated in the same manner as a false report and may itself constitute Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct;
  2. unsubstantiated allegations which are found to have been made maliciously, or knowingly to be false. These will be viewed seriously and may be subject to disciplinary action that could include dismissal, termination of service or cessation of a service or client or supplier
  • Making a disclosure may not protect the Whistleblower from the consequences flowing from involvement in the Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct itself. Even though a Whistleblower may be implicated in the Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct they must not be subjected to any actual or threatened retaliatory action or victimisation in reprisal for making a report under this policy.
  • The Protected Disclosures Coordinator is responsible for:
  1. coordinating information about all Whistleblower disclosure events;
  2. arranging for an inquiry/investigation into the disclosures made by the Whistleblower including appointing the Investigator who must have internal independence of line management in the area affected by the Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct disclosure;
  3. ensuring appropriate government agencies are notified about Whistleblower events where required;
  4. maintaining a Whistleblower Register for trend analysis and to identify systemic issues requiring

The Protected Disclosures Coordinator is the Executive Manager People.

  • The Whistleblower Protection Officers are responsible for:
  1. receiving any disclosures of Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct; and
  2. assessing the disclosure and liaising with the Protected Disclosures Coordinator regarding the

Novita’s Executive Leadership Team are Novita’s Whistleblower Protection Officers.

  • The Investigator is responsible for:
  1. conducting the disclosure investigation in an objective and fair manner and with having reasonable and appropriate regard to the nature of the disclosure and the circumstances;
  2. seeking information and the expertise of other officers of Novita to assist in the investigation and may seek the advice of internal or external experts as required;
  3. conducting the investigation and its enquiries based on the information provided to Anonymity of the Whistleblower may sometimes limit the inquiry/investigation if Novita is not able to obtain further information from the discloser.
  • Novita’s Chief Executive Officer is responsible for:
  1. providing leadership in demonstrating a commitment to the investigation and resolution of the Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct;
  2. ensuring there are effective, efficient, impartial and timely process and systems for the management of Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct matters;
  3. ensuring promotion and awareness of the Whistleblower Policy and related
  • Senior managers are responsible for:
  1. notifying a member of the Executive Leadership Team (Whistleblower Protection Officers) of any disclosures regarding Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct, provide particulars and maintain confidentiality about it;
  2. as required by the Investigator ensuring information requests regarding Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct disclosures are responded to in a timely manner;
  3. the implementation of practices and staff training aligned with this
  • All staff are responsible for:
  1. making a disclosure if you become aware of actual or suspected Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct;
  2. maintaining awareness, knowledge and compliance with this policy including disclosure;
  3. respecting and maintaining Whistleblowers’ rights and confidentiality;
  4. promptly responding to requests related investigations of Wrongdoing/Reported Conduct matters as


6. Whistleblower Disclosure Management Process

  • The below illustrates the Whistleblower Disclosure Management Process. Details of the process are outlined in the subsequent:
    Whistleblower Disclosure Management Process
  • Make a disclosure
  • Assess disclosure
  • Assign investigator
  • Conduct investigation
  • Communicate outcome
  • Protection of the whistleblower throughout

    7. Making a Disclosure

    • There are several ways in which you may report or disclose any issue or behaviour which you consider to be Wrongdoing/Reportable
    • Internal Reporting: You may disclose any Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct to a member of the Executive Leadership Team (who act as Whistleblower Protection Officers); either by speaking directly to or via an anonymous If you are unable to use this reporting channel, a disclosure can be made to an ‘eligible recipient’ within Novita. Eligible recipients include:
    1. Officers;
    2. Directors;
    3. senior managers; and
    4. auditors or member of an audit team conducting an audit of Novita.
    • The Whistleblower Protection Officer or eligible recipient will safeguard your interests and will ensure the integrity of the reporting
    • External Reporting: Where it is not appropriate to make an internal report because of the seniority of the person(s) involved, or repeated attempts have not elicited a response from management, an issue may be raised by the following external channels:
    1. Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA);
    2. your lawyer for the purposes of obtaining legal advice or representations;
    3. an external organisation such as NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission, Child Abuse Report line, Education Standards Board or other relevant regulatory body; or
    4. for criminal activity SAPOL should be
    • Anonymity: When making a disclosure, you may do so anonymously. It may be difficult for Novita to properly investigate the matters disclosed if a report is submitted anonymously and therefore Novita encourages you to share your identity when making a disclosure, however you are not required to do Where a disclosure has been made externally and you provide your contact details, those contact details will only be provided to a Whistleblower Protection Officer with your consent.
    • You may only make a public interest and emergency disclosure if:
    1. you have previously disclosed the information to ASIC or APRA;
    2. at least 90 days has passed since the previous disclosure was made;
    3. you have reasonable grounds to believe that action is not being taken to address the matters which you have disclosed;
    4. you have reasonable grounds to believe that making a further disclosure to a journalist or member of parliament would be in the public interest;
    5. you have given written notification, including sufficient information to identify the previous disclosure to the authority to which the previous disclosure was made that you intend on making a public interest disclosure; and
    6. the extent of information disclosed is no greater than is necessary to inform the recipient of the misconduct or improper state of
    • Public Interest and Emergency Disclosure: In certain situations, the conduct or wrongdoing may be of such gravity and urgency that disclosure to the media or a parliamentarian is A public interest and emergency disclosure can only be made to:
    1. a journalist, defined to mean a person who is working in a professional capacity as a journalist for a newspaper, magazine, or radio or television broadcasting service; or
    2. a Member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory parliament.
    • You will be qualified for protection where you have made a public interest disclosure if:
    1. you have previously disclosed the information to ASIC or APRA;
    2. you have reasonable grounds to believe that the information concerns a substantial and imminent danger to the health or safety of one or more persons, or to the natural environment;
    3. you have given written notification, including sufficient information to identify the previous disclosure to the authority to which the previous disclosure was made that you intend on making a public interest disclosure; and
    4. no more information is disclosed than is reasonably necessary to inform the recipient of the substantial and imminent


    8. Assessment, Investigation and Communication

    • The Whistleblower Protection Officer or other Eligible Recipient will assess the disclosure of Wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct to determine whether it is consistent with this Policy and liaise with the Protected Disclosures Coordinator regarding the investigation.
    • Novita will investigate all matters reported under this policy as soon as practicable after the matter has been reported. The Whistleblower Protection Officer or assigned Investigator will investigate the matter and where necessary, an external investigator will be appointed to assist in conducting the investigation. All investigations will be conducted in a fair, independent and timely manner and all reasonable efforts will be made to preserve confidentiality during the
    • If the report is not anonymous, the Whistleblower Protection Officer or Investigator will contact you to discuss the investigation process and any other matters that are relevant to the
    • Where you have chosen to remain anonymous, your identity will not be disclosed to the investigator or to any other person and Novita will conduct the investigation based on the information provided to it.
    • Where possible, the Whistleblower Protection Officer will provide you with feedback on the progress and expected timeframes of the The person against whom any allegations have been made will also be informed of the concerns and will be provided with an opportunity to respond (unless there are any restrictions or other reasonable bases for not doing so).
    • To the extent permitted by law, the Whistleblower Protection Officer may inform you and/or a person against whom allegations have been made of the findings. Any report will remain the property of Novita and will not be shared with you or any person against whom the allegations have been made.


    9. Protection of Whistleblowers

    • Protection from Legal Action: You will not be subject to any civil, criminal or administrative legal action (including disciplinary action) for making a disclosure under this policy or participating in any investigation. Any information you provide will not be admissible in any criminal or civil proceedings other than for proceedings in respect of the falsity of the
    • Protection against Detrimental Conduct: Novita (or any person engaged by Novita) will not engage in ‘Detrimental Conduct’ against you if you have made a disclosure consistent with this Detrimental Conduct includes actual or threatened conduct such as the following (without limitation):
    1. termination of employment;
    2. injury to employment including demotion, disciplinary action;
    3. alteration of position or duties;
    4. discrimination;
    5. harassment, bullying or intimidation;
    6. victimisation;
    7. harm or injury including psychological harm;
    8. damage to person’s property;
    9. damage to a person’s reputation; or
    10. damage to a person’s business or financial position or any other damage to a person.
    • Novita will take all reasonable steps to protect you from Detrimental Conduct and will take necessary action where such conduct is
    • Novita also strictly prohibits all forms of Detrimental Conduct against any person who is involved in an investigation of a matter disclosed under the policy in response to their involvement in that
    • If you are subjected to Detrimental Conduct as a result of making a disclosure under this policy or participating in an investigation, you should inform a Whistleblower Protection Officer or eligible participant in accordance with the reporting guidelines outlined above.
    • You may also seek remedies including compensation, civil penalties or reinstatement where you have been subject to any Detrimental
    • Protection of Confidentiality: All information received from you will be treated confidentially and
    • If you make a disclosure under this policy, your identity (or any information which would likely to identify you) will only be shared if:
    1. you give your consent to share that information; or
    2. the disclosure is allowed or required by law (for example where the concern is raised with a lawyer for the purposes of obtaining legal advice);
    3. the concern is reported to ASIC, APRA, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or the Australian Federal Police (AFP);
    4. where it is necessary to disclose information for the effective investigation of the matter, and this is likely to lead to your identification, all reasonable steps will be taken to reduce the risk that you will be identified.


    10. Support Available

    • Any person who makes a disclosure under this policy or is implicated as a result of a disclosure that is made may access Novita’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is a free and confidential counselling service.
    • Where appropriate, Novita may also appoint an independent support person from the Human Resources team to deal with any ongoing concerns you may
    • You may also access third party support providers such as Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) for


    11. Communication and Training

    • Information regarding the Whistleblower Disclosure Management Process is to be available in a variety of forms of communication and formats including on:
    1. the Novita website;
    2. the Novita intranet (Starnet)
    • All employees are to receive a copy of this Policy and acknowledge in writing their understanding of this Policy within the first week of joining Novita. Training will be provided as part of the induction and at intervals of no more than two years.


    12. Failure to comply

    • Any breach of this Policy may result in disciplinary action that could result in termination of employment from Novita.


    13. References

    • This policy draws on the following legislation, conventions and standards:
    1. the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth);
    2. the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth); and
    3. any instrument made under any of the above Acts.
    • This policy should be read in conjunction with Novita’s:
    1. Code of Conduct
    2. Staff Grievance Policy
    3. Feedback and Complaints Policy
    4. Risk Management Policy
    5. Incident Management


    14. Definitions

    • Terms used in this Policy are:
    Term Definition
    Personal work-related grievance A personal work-related grievance is a grievance about any matter in relation to a staff member’s current or former employment, having implications (or tending to have implications) for that person personally and that do not have broader implications for Novita. Examples of personal work-related grievances are:
    an interpersonal conflict between the staff member and another employee;
    a decision relating to the engagement, transfer or promotion of the staff member;
    a decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the staff member
    a decision to place the employee on a performance improvement plan, or take action on non-conformance of the performance improvement plan;
    a decision to suspend or terminate the engagement of the staff member, or otherwise to discipline the staff member.
    Reasonable grounds A reasonable person in your position would also suspect the information indicates misconduct or breach of the law.
    Whistleblowing Disclosure by (or for) a witness wrongdoing/Reportable Conduct of actual or suspected
    Whistleblower A person who reports wrongdoing / Reportable Conduct in accordance with this Policy
    Wrongdoing / Reportable Conduct Conduct that includes but is not limited to as defined in Paragraph

    3.2 of this Policy


    15. Policy Review

    • This policy shall be reviewed tri-annually, or at more frequent intervals if necessary due to legislative requirements.