Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS THE AFCA WHISTLEBLOWER HOTLINE?
The AFCA Whistleblower Hotline is an independent and confidential service available to receive information relating to improper conduct, unlawful or unethical behaviour and supports AFCA’s values and Code of Conduct.
What can be reported?
Reportable Conduct includes any activity, conduct (whether by act or omission) or a state of affairs that has occurred, is currently occurring, or is likely to occur, and which constitutes:
- corrupt conduct;
- dishonestly/improperly obtaining, or seeking to obtain, a personal benefit, or a benefit for a third party, including by fraud, bribery, blackmail or misrepresentation;
- a breach of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth);
- knowingly concealing conduct described in (a),(b) or (c);
- inducing or encouraging others to engage in conduct described in (a) (b) or (c) above;
- and is engaged in by an officer, employee or agent of AFCA; or
- taking reprisal action against a person for disclosing, or proposing to disclose, conduct described in (a) to (e) above.
What can’t be reported:
Any complaints related to harassment, discrimination or bullying, should be addressed through the AFCA Harassment, Discrimination and Workplace Bullying Policy. Conduct that constitutes harassment, discrimination or bullying is defined in that Policy. Any other inappropriate workplace conduct that is not Reportable Conduct should be referred to the People and Development team for appropriate action in accordance with relevant company policies and procedures.
WHAT CAN BE REPORTED?
Any breaches of the Code of Conduct, related policies, and issues that may adversely affect AFCA.This may include any criminal offence, breach of legal obligation, unsafe behaviour, harassment or bullying. (See Whistleblower policy for full details)
WHY IS AFCA INTRODUCING THIS SERVICE?
AFCA believes that all employees and other stakeholders should be able to assist in ensuring AFCA maintains its status as an ethical business. AFCA is adopting best practice in this aspect of corporate governance and will be compliant with international and Australian corporate governance standards.
HOW DO I MAKE A REPORT?
AFCA has engaged an independent consultant to manage the receipt, recording and reporting of serious misconduct. Stopline is an independent, confidential and impartial conduit for information that enables the reporting of corrupt or improper conduct. Stopline has people experienced in handling sensitive information from stakeholders. Details of how you can make contact are listed below.
WHO IS STOPLINE?
Stopline is an Australian company which specialises in providing integrity/whistleblowing services. It has been operating for over a decade and assists listed and private companies; local, state and Commonwealth public sector bodies and not-for-profit organisations. Further details are available at www.stopline.com.au
DO I HAVE TO GIVE MY NAME?
No. Your call to Stopline can, if you wish, be anonymous and the staff of Stopline will not ask for any personal details. You may volunteer the information anonymously to Stopline if you desire or you can be overt. If you do not wish to remain anonymous, this information may be provided to the Contact Officer at AFCA. If you choose to remain anonymous Stopline will issue a confidential reference and password should you wish to seek the status of your disclosure at some later date. Some legislation (e.g. Corporations Act in Australia) will only provide legislative protection if the caller identifies themselves. Stopline can assist at the time of your contact.
IF I MAKE A COMPLAINT REGARDING SUSPECTED MISCONDUCT, HOW WILL I BE PROTECTED?
AFCA is committed to the protection of genuine Whistleblowers against action taken in reprisal for the making of protected disclosures. Maintaining confidentiality is a crucial component of this protection. All disclosures will be treated with a high level of confidentiality. AFCA has appointed Stopline to enhance confidentiality and anonymity within AFCA with respect to Whistleblower procedures.
HOW DOES STOPLINE WORK?
Stopline enables employees, contractors and stakeholders to report in good faith, suspected misconduct via telephone, email, internet, facsimile or mail, to an independent organisation with trained staff who will receive your concerns confidentially (anonymously if you wish) and provide the confidential information to the Contact Officer at AFCA. The program then places procedural requirements on dealing with and finalising the outcome of the disclosure.
WHO AND WHAT IS THE CONTACT OFFICER?
A person within AFCA is responsible for ensuring that all serious complaints are handled appropriately. The Contact Officer is responsible for AFCA’s role in managing disclosures and being the contact point for both Stopline and the AFCA Board. That person is the Executive General Manager – Corporate Strategy and Services.
WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT STOPLINE?
You can contact the Stopline when you have knowledge of any fraudulent, corrupt, unlawful or unethical conduct by an employee and/or contractor.
AT WHAT TIME CAN I CONTACT STOPLINE?
You can telephone the Stopline on 1300 30 45 50 (in Australia) or +61 3 9811 3275 (overseas – reverse charges) during business hours (0800 – 2000 Mon – Fri AEST) to speak with a trained Stopline interviewer. Any messages left will be responded to within one working day. You can also send your disclosure via the internet (this website), email, facsimile or mail.
AS AN EMPLOYEE, HOW DO I KNOW THAT SOMEBODY WON’T JUST MAKE SOME FALSE CLAIM TO SETTLE A PERSONAL GRUDGE?
The strength of Stopline is that all allegations will be professionally managed by trained Stopline staff. The experience of Stopline is that vexatious calls occur very infrequently. Stopline focuses on the message, not the messenger. The Disclosure Officer may decline to investigate the matter if satisfied that the disclosure is trivial, frivolous or vexatious.
WILL I BE KEPT INFORMED ABOUT THE RESULT OF MAKING A REPORT?
Yes. You will be kept advised about the status of the report, decisions made regarding how the matter is to be handled, timeframes that apply and the result of any investigation and action taken. If you choose to remain anonymous, you will be issued with a confidential reference and password and must initiate contact through one of the methods above to receive feedback.
IF I MAKE A REPORT, AM I LIABLE IN ANYWAY?
Where a person who makes a disclosure is implicated in the misconduct, AFCA will use all reasonable efforts to protect the individual from reprisals; however the act of reporting improper conduct may not shield the person from the reasonable consequences flowing from any involvement in serious misconduct.
WHERE ELSE CAN I OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOTLINE SERVICE AND RELATED POLICIES?
Full details are available on AFCA’s intranet site.