Integrity Group Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “Integrity”) is committed to a culture of continuous improvement, transparency and speaking up about business risks. This Whistleblower Policy (Policy) is an important aspect of Integrity’s commitment to meeting its obligations to its stakeholders, as well as maintaining its reputation for high ethical standards.
The purpose of this Policy is to encourage you to report any circumstances where you suspect or know that Integrity, or an employee or Officer of Integrity, has acted in a way that constitutes misconduct. We understand that it takes courage to speak up. This Policy is designed to support you to make a report freely, anonymously and without fear of reprisal.
This Policy explains how you can report your concerns, how they will be investigated, what you can expect, the protections available to you and other sources of information that may be helpful to you in reporting your concern.
Throughout this Policy, the person making the report of suspected or actual misconduct is referred to as a “Discloser” and the report itself is referred to as the “Disclosure”.
1. Who does this Policy apply to?
You can make a Disclosure under this Policy if you are:-
- an officer or employee of Integrity (both current and former);
- a supplier of services or goods, including one of their employees;
- an associate of Integrity; or
- a relative or dependent of any of the above categories of persons.
2. Disclosable Matters
You can only make a Disclosure under this Policy about a Disclosable Matter. Examples of what might constitute a Disclosable Matter include the following conduct by Integrity or any person or entity connected with Integrity:-
- dishonest conduct;
- fraudulent conduct;
- corrupt conduct;
- any conduct which could cause consumer harm;
- illegal conduct (including, but not limited to, bribery, theft, illegal drug use, threatened violence and criminal damage against property);
- breach of applicable legislation (including but not limited to legislation dealing with competition, privacy, taxation, workplace health and safety, harassment, discrimination and corrupt practices);
- conduct in breach of Integrity’s Code of Conduct;
- gross mismanagement;
- serious and substantial or repeated breaches of administrative procedures;
- engaging in or threatening to engage in detrimental conduct against a person who has made a Disclosure or is believed or suspected to have made, or be planning to make, a Disclosure;
- breaches of any conditions applicable to the registration or continuing registration of the Company as a life insurer in accordance with the Life Insurance Act 1995 (Cth);
- any breach (or potential breach) of a prudential or regulatory requirement that could give rise to an obligation to make a report to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or any other relevant regulator;
- any other conduct which may cause financial or non-financial loss to Integrity or which may be otherwise detrimental to the interests or reputation of Integrity; or
- any information that may cause significant risk to public safety or the stability of, or confidence in the financial system, even if it does not involve a breach of a particular law.
For the purposes of this Policy, Disclosers are encouraged to make reports of Disclosable Matters where they believe, in good faith, that they have discovered or witnessed a Disclosable Matter. Protections under this Policy will apply, even if the Disclosure turns out to be incorrect.
Where a report of a Disclosable Matter is made otherwise than in good faith, the report will not be subject to the protections under this Policy. A report will not be considered to be made in good faith if it is frivolous or vexatious, raised maliciously or for an ulterior purpose, or if it is not based on facts and/or circumstances that provide a reasonable basis for making the report.
2.1 Matters which are not Disclosable Matters
Disclosures which are not about Disclosable Matters do not qualify for the protections under this Policy. Matters which are not Disclosable Matters include:-
If you are a customer and are unhappy with our products or services, we’d like to know straight away so we can work with you to find a resolution. Complaints will be managed in accordance with our Complaints Management Policy.
To lodge a complaint:
- Phone: 1300 54 33 66
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: R1741 Royal Exchange NSW 1225
For further information in relation to how we handle complaints, please refer to our complaints page or give us a call on 1300 54 33 66.
Personal work-related grievances such as:-
- an interpersonal conflict between the discloser and another employee;
- a decision that does not involve a breach of workplace laws;
- a decision about the engagement, transfer or promotion of the Disclosure; or
- a decision to terminate or suspend the engagement of the Discloser.
Employees, or former employees, who have experienced or are experiencing any of the above are encouraged to “speak up” by reporting the matter to the General Manager Human Resources. Such matters may be protected under the Fair Work Act and will be dealt with confidentially and with respect and gravity.
3. Reporting Disclosable Matters
3.1 How to make a disclosure
Integrity provides a number of avenues to make a Disclosure. The various options and how they can be accessed are set out below. They allow for Disclosures to be made anonymously, confidentially, securely and outside business hours.
Integrity does encourage the Discloser to disclose their identity and provide their contact details. Without this information, an investigation may be limited or impossible. Integrity can also use this information to provide the Discloser with regular updates throughout the investigation (where possible). Integrity will afford the Discloser all the protections as outlined under this Policy.
If the Discloser wishes to remain anonymous, the best avenue may be to use the external hotline, otherwise, the Discloser may use an anonymised email address or adopt a pseudonym.
3.2 Who Disclosures can be made to
For the Discloser to remain eligible for protections under this Policy, the Disclosure must be made to the following types of people within and outside Integrity:
3.2.1 Eligible Recipients
Where a Discloser wishes to report a Disclosable Matter to Integrity, the report must be made to an Eligible Recipient. An Eligible Recipient includes:-
- an Officer (i.e. a Director or the Company Secretary) or Senior Manager of Integrity;
- an internal or external auditor (including a member of an audit team conducting an audit); or
- an actuary of Integrity, including either the Appointed Actuary or the Chief Actuary.
Integrity’s Whistleblower Protection Officer is the General Manager of Human Resources. The Whistleblower Protection Officer is responsible for protecting or safeguarding Disclosers. Although a Disclosure may be made to any of the above Eligible Recipients, it is recommended the Disclosure be made to the Whistleblower Protection Officer in the first instance, should the Discloser feel comfortable doing so.
To contact Integrity’s Whistleblower Protection Officer:
- Phone: 1300 54 33 66
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post: R1741 Royal Exchange NSW 1225
Integrity recognises there may be circumstances under which a Discloser would prefer to make a Disclosure to someone independent to Integrity. As such, Integrity has established an external and confidential hotline operated by KPMG. All reports submitted through the hotline will be assessed and disclosed to Integrity.
Reports to the hotline may be made on an anonymous or on a named basis. There is also the option to provide contact details to KPMG whilst remaining anonymous to Integrity. KPMG can facilitate ongoing communication whilst seeking to protect the Discloser’s identity. The service is accessible 24/7.
To access the external hotline:
- Phone: 1800 500 965
- Email: FairCall@kpmg.com.au
- Web: https://www.kpmgfaircall.kpmg.com.au/Integritygroup
Post: The Fair Call Manager, KPMG Forensic PO Box H67 Australia Square, Sydney NSW 1213
3.2.2 Regulatory bodies and other external parties
Disclosers may notify regulators at any time in relation to a Disclosable Matter.
Each regulator provides comprehensive information on their websites about how to make a report and how such reports will be handled. For further information:
3.2.3 Public Interest Disclosures and Emergency Disclosures
Integrity encourages Disclosers to report directly to Integrity in the first instance (refer to the Eligible Recipients section above). This Policy is designed to support and encourage Disclosers to speak up and includes avenues to ensure Disclosers feel comfortable doing so. Public Interest Disclosures and Emergency Disclosures can cause significant damage to Integrity and as such should only be made as a last resort.
Public Interest Disclosure
A Discloser may make a Public Interest Disclosure to a journalist or parliamentarian if:-
- The Discloser believes making the Disclosure is in the public interest;
- At least 90 days have passed since the Disclosure was made to a regulator;
- There has subsequently been no action taken by the regulator; and
- The Discloser has informed the regulator they intend to make a Public Interest Disclosure.
A Discloser may make an Emergency Disclosure to a journalist or parliamentarian if:-
- The Discloser believes there is imminent and substantial danger to the health or safety of one or more persons or to the natural environment;
- The Disclosure has already been made to a regulator (note unlike Public Interest Disclosures, no waiting period applies);
- There has subsequently been no action taken by the regulator; and
- The Discloser has informed the regulator they intend to make an Emergency Disclosure.
Integrity recommends a Discloser seek independent legal advice prior to making a public interest disclosure or emergency disclosure.
3.2.4 Legal practioners
Any Disclosures made to a legal practioner for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or representation are still provided the protections under this Policy, even if the legal practioner concludes that the Disclosure does not relate to a Disclosable Matter.
It takes courage to speak up, particularly when making a Disclosure about a colleague or former colleague. Integrity recognises that the circumstances for the Discloser are often difficult and stressful. Integrity takes all Disclosures very seriously and commits to taking all reasonable steps to support and protect any Discloser who does come forward.
A Discloser who qualifies for protection as a whistleblower will receive the following protections:
4.1 Protection from detrimental conduct
A Discloser is protected from detrimental conduct including dismissal, demotion, discrimination, harassment or prejudice, or threats (express or implied) of any such conduct.
Integrity has adopted the following measures to protect a Discloser from detrimental conduct:
- Upon receipt of a Disclosure, Integrity will assess the risk of detriment to the Discloser and implement appropriate measures to mitigate. Integrity will retain records of this assessment and measures implemented;
- Disclosers who are employees will be reminded they have 24/7 access to Integrity’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP)– Working Life, who can be contacted at 1300 369 072. EAP can support the Discloser with informal repercussions such as stress, isolation and reduction in work performance arising from time and disruption associated with making the Disclosure;
- Management and those involved in the investigation will be reminded of their obligation to maintain confidentiality, and address the risk of isolation or harassment, manage conflicts and ensuring fairness when managing performance; and
- All employees complete compulsory annual training in relation to the Whistleblower provisions.
If a Discloser believes they have suffered detriment, Integrity will support them in making a complaint and have the complaint investigated as a separate matter. Integrity will provide all reasonable support to the Discloser under these circumstances. This may include allowing the Discloser to work from home, to take extended leave, to change roles or provide compensation or other remedies.
If a Discloser feels they have suffered detriment, they may also seek legal advice or representation, or lodge a complaint with a regulator, such as ASIC or APRA.
Actions which are not considered detrimental conduct include:-
- Administrative action to protect the Discloser (for example moving the location of where the Discloser works)
- Management actions arising directly from the Discloser’s unsatisfactory work performance.
If Integrity takes administrative or management action, the Discloser will be provided with a clear explanation, so they understand the reasons why.
4.2 Identity Protection
Integrity will protect the confidentiality of a Discloser including information which is likely to lead to the identification of the Discloser.
There are some exceptions. Integrity may disclose a Discloser’s identity under the following circumstances:-
- to a regulator or the Australian Federal Police;
- to a legal practioner when seeking legal advice or legal representation about the Disclosure or the whistleblower provisions;
- as required under law or regulations;
- where it is reasonably necessary for investigating the issues raised in the Disclosure; or
- with the consent of the Discloser.
It is illegal for Integrity to reveal the identity of a Discloser outside these exceptions.
Integrity’s measures to protect a Discloser’s identity will include, but are not limited to:-
- all personal information or reference to the Discloser will be redacted;
- the Discloser will be referred to in a gender-neutral context;
- where possible, the Discloser will be contacted to help identify certain aspects of their Disclosure which could inadvertently identify them;
- Disclosures will be handled and investigated by qualified employees; and
- information relating to a Disclosure will be stored securely and accessible only by those people directly involved with the investigation;
Despite Integrity’s best endeavors, there may be circumstances where the Discloser’s identity is guessed, for example if the Discloser has previously mentioned to people their concerns in relation to the Disclosable Matter or if there were limited people who had knowledge of the Disclosable Matter.
If a Discloser feels their identity has not been appropriately protected, they may lodge a complaint with a regulator, such as ASIC or APRA.
4.3 Compensation and other remedies
A Discloser may seek compensation or other remedies through the courts if they believe that, subsequent to making a Disclosure, they suffered loss, damage or injury, or Integrity failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent detrimental conduct.
Note however that the above protections do not grant the Discloser immunity for any misconduct the Discloser engaged in and that is identified as a result of the Disclosure being made.
4.4 Compensation and other remedies
A Discloser will be protected from any legal action, attempted prosecution and disciplinary action for making the Disclosure. This includes protection from civil liability, criminal liability and administrative liability.
5. Handling and Investigating Disclosures
5.1 Receipt of a Disclosure
The recipient of a Disclosure must ask the Discloser for consent to forward the Disclosure to Integrity’s Whistleblower Protection Officer i.e. the General Manager, Human Resources.
Integrity’s Whistleblower Protection Officer will complete an initial assessment of:-
- whether the Disclosure qualifies for the protections under this Policy; and
- whether a formal, in-depth assessment is required.
If it is unclear whether the Disclosure qualifies for protections under this Policy, Integrity will treat the Discloser as if the protections apply.
Integrity’s Whistleblower Protection Officer may involve the Chief Risk Officer and/or the Chief Executive Officer in this initial assessment, as required and as appropriate.
5.2 Investigating a Disclosure
The Whistleblower Protection Officer is responsible for ensuring the investigation is objective, fair and independent.
Although the steps involved in investigating a Disclosure will vary, generally, the approach will involve establishing:
- the nature and scope of the investigation. This will include consideration of whether the Disclosure is an indication of a broader or systemic problem;
- who should be involved in the investigation, including both internal and external parties. Only people who are independent to the allegations, with the right skills and without a conflict of interest, will be appointed to the investigation team;
- the nature of any technical, financial or legal advice that may be required to support the investigation; and
- the likely timeframe to complete the investigation.
Integrity endeavors to complete investigations within 30 days of the Disclosure being made, however, timeframes will vary depending on the nature, sensitivity and complexity of the Disclosure.
The identity of the Discloser and the details of the investigation will be kept confidential throughout the investigation (refer to section “Protections”).
Once the investigation is complete, the Whistleblower Protection Officer will prepare a report of the findings, including any recommended actions. A copy of the report will be provided to the Board Risk Committee (BRC) for review and consideration. The BRC will either endorse the proposed actions or make additional recommendations, including whether the matter should be reported to the Australian Federal Police and/or the relevant regulator. Where the Discloser has not provided consent to be identified, any information which may lead to their identification will first be removed from the report.
Where possible and appropriate, the Discloser will be kept informed of the progress and outcome of the investigation. There may be circumstances where it is not possible to provide details of the outcome to the Discloser.
If the Discloser is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, unless there is new information available, there are no further internal avenues to review the matter and the Discloser may lodge a complaint with a regulator.
5.3 Fair treatment for individuals mentioned in a Disclosure
Integrity will ensure the fair treatment of any employee named in a Disclosure, including those who are the subject of the Disclosure, by:
- The Disclosure will be handled confidentially, as far as practical and appropriate;
- Before an investigation commences, the Disclosure will be assessed to determine whether a full investigation is warranted;
- An investigation will be conducted in accordance with the rules of procedural fairness. An employee who is the subject of a Disclosure will be advised about the matter as and when required by principles of natural justice but before an adverse finding against them. They will also be afforded the opportunity to respond to any allegations before the outcome of the investigation is reported and a final decision is made.