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Serious Wrongdoing Reporting Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Procedure defines University’s management of reports of serious wrongdoing (in compliance with the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022).

(2) This Procedure supports the Serious Wrongdoing Reporting Policy.

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Section 2 - Scope/Purpose

(3) This Procedure applies to, and for the benefit of, all public officials in NSW, including:

  1. all permanent, fixed term and casual employees of the University;
  2. affiliates, associates, fellows, conjoint employees, and anyone working for, or representing the University;
  3. consultants, contractors, and their employees working for the University; and
  4. individuals, such as volunteers, who may perform public duties on behalf of the University.

(4) This Procedure does not apply to:

  1. people who have received services from UOW and want to make a complaint about those services. For information on how to do this, refer to the UOW Complaints Management Policy; and
  2. people, such as providers, who provide services to UOW, for example, employees of a company that sold computer software to UOW.
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Section 3 - Principles

(5) The University takes reports of wrongdoing seriously:

  1. the University encourages the reporting of all wrongdoing regardless of whether it is serious wrongdoing; and
  2. we are committed to building a ‘speak up’ culture where our staff, students, associates and affiliates are encouraged to report any conduct that they reasonably believe involves wrongdoing.

(6) All reports must be handled in accordance with the PID Act.

(7) All reports of wrongdoing will be treated with confidentiality and care, even if they do not meet the criteria for protections under the PID Act.

(8) Policy documents such as the Complaints Management Policy may apply to non-PID reports, other allegations or complaints.

(9) If a report is made that has not met all the requirements of a voluntary PID, at the request of the reporter, the Vice-Chancellor and President may consider deeming the report to be a voluntary PID.

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Section 4 - Making a Public Interest Disclosure Report

(10) To meet the criteria of a PID, reports of wrongdoing must be made to one or more of:

  1. WBS (refer to Section 5);
  2. a Nominated Disclosure Officer (NDO) (NDO – refer to attachment 1 for a list of NDO’s);
  3. the NDO may refer the reporter to WBS, or may lodge the report themselves on the reporter’s behalf;
  4. a Manager;
  5. any Manager or Supervisor who receives a report of serious wrongdoing must refer the reporter to WBS (preferred option) or to an NDO; and/or
  6. The University Chancellor;

(11) All complaints and reports that could potentially constitute a PID are to be lodged with WBS, who will then assess and refer the matter to the Nominated Disclosure Coordinator (NDC).

(12) The NDC will refer the matter to the Serious Wrongdoing Reporting Committee (SWRC) for management. The NDC will also inform the Principal Officer that a report has been received by the University.

(13) If the reporter has given written consent to have their identity disclosed to the NDC, the NDC will contact the reporter to inform them of:

  1. the process to be undertaken;
  2. confidentiality requirements and any limitations;
  3. clarify information provided in the report; and
  4. if necessary, provide information about protections and support available and answer any questions the reporter may have.
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Section 5 - Reporting to the Whistleblowing Service

(14) Reports to the whistleblowing Services:

  1. online: https://www.whistleblowingservice.com.au/uow/;
  2. phone: 1300687927 (between 8am and 5.00pm AEST);
  3. unique key UOW2021; and
  4. client reference number 8yu9j2021.

(15) The reporter will be provided with a unique number:

  1. reporters must keep a record of the unique number; and
  2. this number is used if the reporter resumes a report, uploads more information, and allows access to monitor progress of the management of the disclosure.
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Section 6 - Referral to the Serious Wrongdoing Reporting Committee (SWRC)

(16) Upon receiving the report from the NDC, the SWRC will:       

  1. review the assessment provided by WBS;
  2. determine how the report will be progressed, including whether the report warrants action or investigation;
  3. determine if the report must be referred to an external investigation authority such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the NSW Ombudsman and/or other agencies; 
  4. assess the likelihood of maintaining confidentiality;
  5. conduct a risk assessment including assessing:
    1.  the risk of reprisal or detrimental action against the reporter;
    2. what protections and support are to be provided to the reporter; and
    3. risks to the wellbeing of the subject of the report.
  6. recommend risk controls such as changes to the employment arrangements of either the reporter and/or the subject of the report.

(17) The reporter will be consulted prior to any risk controls being implemented.

(18) The SWRC may recommend that the subject of the report be suspended during the investigation. Any such recommendation must be in writing to the Vice-Chancellor and President, and must include a report on its initial assessment and recommendations on how the report may be managed.

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Section 7 - Management of Suspected Cases of Serious Wrongdoing:

(19) The Vice-Chancellor and President (or delegate) will report the matter to ICAC. The report must be:

  1. as soon as is practicable; and
  2. prior to any internal investigation.

(20) The NDC will:

  1. conduct an investigation into the matter (this may involve engaging the services of an external investigator, or an appropriately skilled internal investigator);
  2. provide the reporter (or WBS if appropriate) with:
    1. information about how the report is to be dealt with;
    2. updates on the process, at least every 3 months; and
    3. general information on the status of the investigation (ensuring that this does not prejudice the investigation or breach any privacy obligation).
  3. provide a final report to the Vice-Chancellor and President with findings and recommendations for actions to be undertaken.
  4. provide the reporter with a final update (on completion of the investigation), containing:
    1. a description of the results of the investigation
    2. information about any corrective action as a result of the investigation.
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Section 8 - Roles and Responsibilities

(21) The Vice-Chancellor and President as Principal Officer is responsible for:

  1. fostering a workplace culture where reporting is encouraged;
  2. receiving disclosures from public officials;
  3. ensuring there is a system in place for assessing disclosures;
  4. ensuring UOW complies with this Policy and the PID Act; and
  5. ensuring that UOW has appropriate systems for:
    1. overseeing internal compliance with the PID Act;
    2. supporting those who make voluntary PIDs, including by minimising the risk of detrimental action;
    3. implementing corrective action if serious wrongdoing is found to have occurred;
    4. complying with reporting obligations regarding allegations or findings of detrimental action;
    5. complying with yearly reporting obligations to the NSW Ombudsman; and
    6. complying with reporting to the ICAC any matter where there is a reasonable suspicion that corrupt conduct has occurred or may occur.

(22) The Nominated Disclosure Coordinator is responsible for:

  1. receiving reports of serious wrongdoing from internal or external reporting persons;
  2. conducting a preliminary assessment of all reports to determine if the report constitutes serious wrongdoing or requires referral to an alternative University process;
  3. informing the Principal Officer and Chief Integrity Officer;
  4. informing the SWRC; and
  5. being the point of contact for the reporter.

(23) Disclosure Officers are responsible for:

  1. receiving reports from public officials;
  2. receiving reports passed on to them by Managers;
  3. ensuring reports they receive are referred to WBS; and                              
  4. ensuring any oral reports received are recorded in writing.

(24) Managers are responsible for:

  1. receiving reports from  to WBS or a NDO.

(25) All employees must:

  1. report suspected wrongdoing and misconduct;
  2. use their best endeavours to assist in an investigation of serious wrongdoing if asked to do so by a person dealing with a voluntary PID on behalf of UOW;
  3. treat any person dealing with or investigating reports of serious wrongdoing with respect; and
  4. not take detrimental action against any person who has made, may in the future make, or is suspected to have made, a PID.
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Section 9 - Definitions

Word/Term
Definition (with examples if required)
Affiliate
Includes people holding University of Wollongong Honorary Awards as conferred by the University Council, including the awards of Emeritus Professor, Honorary Doctor and University Fellow; people appointed in accordance with the Appointment of Visiting and Honorary Academics Policy; and people engaged by the University as agency staff, contractors, volunteers and work experience students.
Associate
A Director; a related entity; a director or employee of a related entity.
Contractor/s
Individuals or entities who perform a task or provide a service to the University, whether or not they are bound by a written contract to do so, e.g. security, cleaners.
Corrupt conduct
Corrupt conduct, as defined in the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (NSW) ("the ICAC Act"), is deliberate or intentional wrongdoing, not negligence or a mistake. It must involve or affect a NSW public official or public sector organisation. This includes the University of Wollongong and its related entities.
While it can take many forms, corrupt conduct occurs when:
  1. a staff member or affiliate improperly uses, or tries to improperly use, the knowledge, power or resources of their position for personal gain or the advantage of others; or
  2. a staff member or affiliate dishonestly exercise their official functions, or improperly exercise their official functions, breaches public trust or misuses information or material acquired in their official functions.
 
  1. A staff member of affiliate influences, or tries to influence, a public official (including University employees) to use their position in a way that affects the probity of the public official’s exercise of functions
  2. A staff member of affiliate who engages in conduct that impairs, or could impair, public confidence in public administration
Detrimental action
Any action causing, comprising or involving:
  1. injury, damage or loss;
  2. intimidation or harassment;
  3. discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to employment;
  4. dismissal from, or prejudice in, employment; or
  5. disciplinary proceedings.
Discloser
A person who makes a report of known or suspected serious wrongdoing. This includes employees, contractors, consultants or any other individual performing public duties on behalf of the University. A discloser may also be commonly known as a ‘whistleblower’.
Disclosure
Any report of actual or suspected wrongdoing within the University. Note: some, but not all, disclosures are protected disclosures.
Fraud
Deliberate and premeditated activity that involves the use of deception to gain advantage and/or obtain a financial benefit to the detriment of the University.
Examples include but are not limited to:
  1. acts or omissions;
  2. theft;
  3. making false statements;
  4. evasion;
  5. manipulation of information.
Government information contravention
A failure to comply with the system through which people can access government information, ie. a failure to properly fulfil functions under the GIPA Act. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  1. destroying, concealing, or altering records to prevent them from being released;
  2. knowingly making decisions that are contrary to the GIPA Act;
  3. directing another person to make a decision that is contrary to the GIPA Act.
Investigation
An enquiry or enquiries regarding a specific matter, which can include auditing.
Maladministration
An act or omission of a serious nature that is contrary to law, unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory and based wholly or partly on improper motives. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  1. awarding contracts and tenders to parties that are related by family, friendship, or association without merit;
  2. failing to decide in accordance with official Policy for no appropriate reason;
  3. breaches of natural justice / procedural fairness;
  4. unauthorised disclosures of confidential information;
  5. failure to provide information where there is a legal obligation to do so.
Manager
A public official to whom the public official reports directly or indirectly, or, a public official who directly, or indirectly supervises the public official in the exercise of the public official's function.
Mandatory PID
A report about serious wrongdoing that is made by a person because they have a legal obligation to make the report, or because making that report is an ordinary aspect of their role or function at the University.
Nominated Disclosure Coordinator
A person responsible for receiving voluntary public interest disclosures on behalf of the University. For the purposes of this Policy, the Nominated Disclosure Coordinator (NDC) is the Senior Manager Complaints.
Nominated Disclosure Officer (NDO)
A person responsible for receiving public interest disclosures for the University.
Principal Officer
For the purposes of this Policy, the Principal Officer is the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University.
Protected disclosure
The terms ‘protected disclosure’ and ‘public interest disclosure’ are often used interchangeably. Current applicable legislation refers to ‘public interest disclosures’. Legislation provides protections for those making public interest disclosures, which is why the terms are often used interchangeably. Making such disclosures is also commonly referred to as ‘whistleblowing’. (See also Public Interest Disclosure)
Public Interest Disclosure
A report of serious wrongdoing that involves corrupt conduct, maladministration, serious and substantial waste of public money or government information contravention. It may be a voluntary PID, mandatory PID or witness PID, as defined in the PID Act.
Public official
Public official means a person employed in or by an agency or otherwise in the service of an agency a person having public official functions or acting in a public official capacity whose conduct or activities an integrity agency is authorised by another Act or law to investigate:
  1. an individual in the service of the Crown a statutory officer;
  2. a person providing services or exercising functions on behalf of an agency, including a contractor, subcontractor or volunteer;
  3. an employee, partner or officer of an entity that provides services, under contract, subcontract or other arrangement, on behalf of an agency or exercises functions of an agency, and are involved in providing those services or exercising those functions;
  4. a judicial officer;
  5. a Member of Parliament (MP), including a Minister; or
  6. a person employed under the Members of Parliament Staff Act 2013.
Reasonable grounds
Reasonable grounds means a set of facts or circumstances that would indicate a judgement to be believed beyond suspicion.
Report
Any disclosure of actual or suspected wrongdoing within the University. The terms report and disclosure are often used inter-changeably.
Note: some, but not all, reports/disclosures are protected disclosures.
Serious wrongdoing
Serious wrongdoing for the purposes of this Policy generally relates to wrongdoing that is so serious that it is clearly in the public interest that it be reported, for eg. corrupt conduct, fraud, maladministration, serious and substantial waste of public money. It does not refer to general misconduct that is covered by other UOW policies, for eg bullying or harassment.
Serious Wrongdoing Reporting Committee (SWRC)
Serious Wrongdoing Reporting Committee is a high-level committee that assists the Vice-Chancellor and President and Senior Manager to discharge the University’s responsibilities with regard to the management of, and response to, allegations of serious wrongdoing at UOW.
Serious and substantial waste of public money
The uneconomical, inefficient or ineffective use of resources, authorised or unauthorised, resulting in a loss or wastage of public funds or resources. Examples include, but are not limited to:
  1. providing or accepting a bribe;
  2. use of University funds or resources for personal use;
  3. purchasing unnecessary or inadequate goods and services;
  4. manipulating a tender process to achieve a desired outcome;
  5. misappropriate or misuse of University property;
  6. overstaffing in particular areas without merit;
  7. failing to make a decision in accordance with official Policy for no appropriate reason;
  8. providing false or misleading information;
  9. unauthorised disclosure of confidential information;
  10. destroying, concealing or altering records to prevent them from being released; or
  11. luxurious, indulgent or excessive expenditure without merit.
Staff
All people employed by the University including conjoint appointments, whether on continuing, permanent, fixed term, casual or cadet or traineeship basis. Any references to staff in this Policy should be understood to mean both staff and affiliates.
Voluntary PID
A report made by a person because they decided, of their own accord, to come forward and disclose what they know.
Whistleblower
A ‘whistleblower’ is commonly understood to a person who makes a disclosure about illegal or illegitimate practices, such as fraud or maladministration, within the organisation.
Witness PID
A witness PID arises where a person discloses information during an investigation of serious wrongdoing following a request for requirement of the investigator
Work-related grievance
A grievance (complaint) about any matter in relation to an employee’s engagement or former engagement, that has personal implications for the employee, for example:
  1. an inter-personal conflict between one employee and another;
  2. a decision relating to the engagement, transfer or promotion of the employee;
  3. a decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the employee; or
  4. a decision to suspend or terminate the engagement of the employee, or otherwise, to discipline the employee.
Wrongdoing
See ‘Serious Wrongdoing’

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Section 10 - Attachment 1: Nominated Disclosure Officers

Wollongong Campus
Vice-Chancellor and President (Principal Officer)
Prof Patricia M. Davidson
Chief Operating Officer and Vice-President Operations 
Adam Malouf
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Innovation, Enterprise and External Relations)
 
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Student Life)
Prof Theo Farrell
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Assurance)
Prof Sean Brawley
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Sustainable Futures)
Prof David Currow
Chief Integrity Officer
Prof Trish Mundy
Director, Student Life
Theresa Hoynes
Director, Student Administration Services Division
Dr Kellie Ridges
Director, Academic Quality and Standards
Dominic Riordan
Director, Facilities Management Division
Kathleen Packer
Director, Financial Services Division
Matthew Wright
Chief People and Culture Officer
Joe Chalouhi
Chief Information Digital Officer
Ray Coury
Chief Risk and Assurance Officer
Robert Oldfield
Director, Learning, Teaching and Curriculum
Leanne Cambridge
Director, Research Services Office
Sharon Martin
Director, Library Services
Margie Jantti
Faculty Executive Manager, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Katrina Gamble
Faculty Executive Manager, Faculty of Business and Law
Sue Mathews
Faculty Executive Manager, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences
Jancey Malins
Faculty Executive Manager, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Adele McKenzie
Chancellor
Michael Still
Complaints Management Centre
Disclosure Coordinator and Senior Manager, Complaints Management Centre
Jo Braithwaite
Complaints Support Officer
Alison Attenborough
Complaints Coordinator
Natalie Projkoski
Regional Campuses
Academic Director, Regional Campuses
 
Campus Manager, UOW Shoalhaven
Chris Hadley
Campus Manager, UOW Southern Highlands
Stephen Lowe
Campus Manager, UOW Sutherland and UOW Liverpool
Nicole Smith
Campus Manager, UOW Eurobodalla
Jaimey Facchin
Campus Manager, UOW Bega Valley
Sam Avitaia