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Whistleblower Protection Policy

Whistleblower Protection Policy

Whistleblower Protection Policy

Whistleblower Protection Policy – Planit

1. Purpose

Planit Test Management Solutions Pty Ltd (Australia) (Planit or Company) values its culture of developing and fostering high standards of ethical and moral business conduct. Reflecting its commitment to transparency, this policy provides a mechanism by which protected disclosures can be made and investigated.

This policy:

  • Outlines the process by which a protected disclosure may occur, including how and to whom a protected disclosure should be made;
  • Outlines the process by which Planit will investigate protected disclosures;
  • Informs eligible whistleblowers who make protected disclosures about protections from detriment; and
  • Outlines the process for fair treatment of persons to whom a protected disclosure relates or mentions (the respondent).

2. Scope

This policy applies to all eligible whistleblowers and eligible recipients as defined in this policy.

3. References

The policy is developed and implemented in accordance with the requirements of Part 9.4AAA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act) as amended from time to time.

It will be made available to all applicable persons by way of the Company’s website. Employees and officers should review the internal Whistleblower Protection Policy available on Planit Connect, the Company people management system.

4. Guidance

4. 1 What is a protected disclosure?

A disclosure of information by a person will be a protected disclosure under this policy and the Act if:

  1. the disclosure is an eligible whistleblower; and
  2. the disclosure is made to an eligible recipient (which could be done orally or in writing); and
  3. the disclosure is of a disclosable matter.

4.2 Who is an eligible whistleblower?

An individual will be an eligible whistleblower if they are, or have been:
  1. an officer of Planit;
  2. an employee of Planit;
  3. an individual who supplies services or goods to Planit;
  4. an employee of a person that supplies services or goods to Planit (paid or unpaid);
  5. an individual who is an associate of Planit within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) being a director, secretary, related body corporate, or a director or secretary of a related body corporate; or
  6. a relative, dependant or spouse of an individual referred to in any of paragraphs 4.2 (a) to (e) above.

4.3 Who is an eligible recipient?

  1. Each of the following is an eligible recipient to whom an eligible whistleblower may make a protected disclosure about the disclosable matters referred to below at paragraphs 4.4(a) and 4.4(b):
    1. a senior manager, the Security & Compliance Officer or an officer of Planit or of a related body corporate of Planit which, for the avoidance of doubt, includes the relevant Regional People & Culture Manager and Chief People & Culture Officer;
    2. a person authorised by Planit to receive protected disclosures, which includes Planit’s Executive Team, People & Culture Management Team, Legal & Compliance Officer and Security & Compliance Officer;
    3. an auditor, or a member of an audit team conducting an audit, of Planit or a related body corporate of Planit;
    4. an actuary of Planit or of a related body corporate of Planit;
    5. ASIC;
    6. APRA;
    7. a Commonwealth authority; or
    8. where the eligible whistleblower is disclosing for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or legal representation in relation to the operation of relevant whistleblower legislation - a legal practitioner.
  2. For disclosable matters relating to tax affairs (defined at paragraph 4.4(c) below), each of the following is an eligible recipient to whom an eligible whistleblower may make a protected disclosure:
    1. a senior manager, the Security & Compliance Officer or an officer of Planit or of a related body corporate of Planit which, for the avoidance of doubt, includes the relevant Regional People & Culture Manager and Chief People & Culture Officer;
    2. a person authorised by Planit to receive protected disclosures, which includes Planit’s Executive Team, People & Culture Management Team, Legal & Compliance Officer and the Security & Compliance Officer;.
    3. where the eligible whistleblower is disclosing for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or legal representation in relation to the operation of relevant whistleblower legislation - a legal practitioner;
    4. an auditor, or a member of an audit team conducting an audit, of Planit;
    5. a registered tax agent or BAS agent who provides tax agent or BAS services to Planit;
    6. any other employee or officer of Planit who has functions or duties that relate to the tax affairs of Planit; or
    7. where the eligible whistleblower considers that the information may assist the Commissioner of Taxation to perform their functions or duties in relation to Planit’s tax affairs – the Commissioner of Taxation.

4.4 The protective officer

  1. The Protective Officer is responsible for providing protection to the Whistleblower against being treated detrimentally.
  2. Details of the Protective Officer are set out in Appendix A.
  3. The Protective Officer must act impartially without any pre-determined opinion regarding the Whistleblower or the Reportable Conduct/Wrongdoing, and without any conflict of interest.
  4. If the Whistleblower has a concern about the Protective Officer, they should contact the Legal and Compliance Officer (details of whom are set out in Appendix A).

4.5 What is a disclosable matter?

Disclosable matters are information that is given (disclosed) by an eligible whistleblower where:

  1. The eligible whistleblower has reasonable grounds to suspect that the information concerns misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances (including but not limited to dishonest conduct, unlawful conduct, corruption or fraud) in relation to the Company or a related body corporate of the Company; or
  2. The eligible whistleblower has reasonable grounds to suspect that the information indicates that Planit, a related body corporate of Planit, or an officer or employee of Planit or a related body corporate of Planit, has engaged in conduct that:
    1. contravenes any provisions of the Corporations Act 2001, ASIC Act 2001, Banking Act 1959, Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001, Insurance Act 1973, Life Insurance Act 1995, National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 or an instrument or regulation made under any of those Acts; or
    2. contravenes any other law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for 12 months or more; or
    3. represents a danger to the public or the financial system; or
  3. In relation to a disclosure about affairs of Planit or an associate of Planit (within the meaning of section 318 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936) (associate) relating to any tax imposed by or under, or assessed or collected under, a law administered by the Commissioner of Taxation (tax affairs):
    1. that is made to an eligible recipient (see above at paragraph 4.3(b)), where the eligible whistleblower:
      1. has reasonable grounds to suspect that the information indicates misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstances, in relation to the tax affairs of Planit or an associate; and
      2. considers that the information may assist the eligible recipient to perform functions or duties in relation to the tax affairs of Planit or an associate; or
    2. that is made to the Commissioner of Taxation, where the eligible whistleblower considers that the information may assist the Commissioner of Taxation to perform their functions or duties in relation to the tax affairs of Planit or an associate.

4.6 Is a personal work-related grievance a protected disclosure?

A disclosure of information by an individual concerning a personal work-related grievance does not qualify for protection (except where the grievance is about a breach of the whistleblowing protections).

  1. Personal work-related grievances of an eligible whistleblower are not disclosable matters, and are therefore not protected disclosures, except to the extent that they concern detriment to the eligible whistleblower in contravention, or alleged contravention, of paragraph 5.5 below (Protection from detriment).
  2. A personal work-related grievance includes where the information disclosed:
    1. concerns a grievance about any matter in relation to the eligible whistleblower’s employment, or former employment, having (or tending to have) implications for the eligible whistleblower personally. Examples include but are not limited to:
      1. an interpersonal conflict between the discloser and another employee;
      2. a decision relating to the engagement, transfer or promotion of the discloser;
      3. a decision relating to the terms and conditions of engagement of the discloser; and
      4. a decision to suspend or dismiss the discloser, or otherwise to discipline the discloser; or
      5. conduct (or alleged conduct) in respect of workplace bulling, harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination;
        and does not:
    2. have significant implications for Planit (or another organisation regulated by whistleblower protection laws) that are unrelated to the eligible whistleblower; and
    3. relate to conduct (or alleged conduct) set out at paragraph 4.4(b) above under disclosable matters.

4.7 What is an emergency disclosure?

Other than for disclosable matters that relate to tax affairs, an eligible whistleblower may make an emergency disclosure to a Member of Parliament or a journalist where:

  1. they have already made a protected disclosure to ASIC, APRA or a Commonwealth authority; and
  2. they have reasonable grounds to believe that the information disclosed concerns a substantial and imminent danger to the health or safety of either:
    1. one or more persons; or
    2. to the natural environment; and
  3. they have notified the entity to which they made the protected disclosure that they intend to make an emergency disclosure; and
  4. the extent of the information disclosed in the emergency disclosure is no greater than necessary to inform the recipient of the substantial and imminent danger.

4.8 What is a public interest disclosure under this policy?

Other than for disclosable matters that relate to tax affairs, an eligible whistleblower may make a public interest disclosure to a Member of Parliament or a journalist where:

  1. they have already made a protected disclosure to ASIC, APRA or a Commonwealth authority;
  2. at least 90 days have passed since the protected disclosure;
  3. they do not have reasonable grounds to believe that action has been or is being taken to address the matters to which the protected disclosure related;
  4. they have reasonable grounds to believe that making the public interest disclosure in accordance with this paragraph would be in the public interest;
  5. after 90 day period has passed since the protected disclosure, they have notified the entity to which they made the protected disclosure that they intend to make a public interest disclosure; and
  6. the extent of the information disclosed in the public interest disclosure is no greater than necessary to inform the recipient of the disclosable matters.

4.9 Investigation of protected disclosures made to Planit

The Company will investigate all protected disclosures made under this policy, as is appropriate, as soon as reasonably practicable after the disclosure has been made. The following procedure applies where an eligible whistleblower discloses a disclosable matter to an eligible recipient at paragraphs 4.3(a)(i) and 4.3(a)(ii) above.

  1. In carrying out their obligations in an investigation under this policy, all persons must ensure they do not breach the confidentiality requirements under paragraph 5.2 below (Protection of identity).
  2. As soon as reasonably practicable after the eligible recipient receives a disclosable matter, the eligible recipient must:
    1. provide the eligible whistleblower with the protections set out in paragraph 5 on an interim basis until the investigation under this policy is finalised; and
    2. ask the eligible whistleblower if they consent to the eligible recipient disclosing their identity, or information that may identify them, to:
      1. the individuals occupying the positions listed below at paragraph 4.6(b);
      2. the person(s) investigating the disclosable matter; and/or
      3. any other parties involved in the investigation of the disclosable matter, such as witnesses.
  3. Within a reasonable period of receipt of the disclosable matter, the eligible recipient must inform an individual occupying one of the following positions of the nature and substance of the disclosable matter:
    1. Security & Compliance Officer;
    2. Regional People & Culture Manager; or
    3. Chief People & Culture Officer.
      If the disclosable matter involves information about an individual occupying one of the positions listed above, the eligible recipient is not to inform that individual of the disclosable matter. The eligible recipient may inform an alternative individual if necessary.
  4. The individual informed under paragraph 4.6(b) above will take all necessary steps to facilitate an investigation into:
    1. whether the eligible whistleblower disclosed a disclosable matter to an eligible recipient; and then
    2. whether the protected disclosure is substantiated, partly substantiated, or unsubstantiated.
  5. Where it is found under an investigation that the eligible whistleblower disclosed a disclosable matter to an eligible recipient, then a protected disclosure is made out and the eligible whistleblower will be afforded the protections in paragraph 5 on an ongoing basis.
  6. An investigation under this policy:
    1. may be undertaken internally or through the engagement of an external investigator. Where appropriate, the investigation may be undertaken under client legal privilege;
    2. will be undertaken with the purpose of gathering all relevant evidence and in accordance with the rules of natural justice; and
    3. will be undertaken in a confidential manner, including compliance with the confidentiality requirements under this policy. Information about the disclosable matter will only be disclosed where necessary in order for an investigation to proceed effectively or to provide procedural fairness.
  7. If a protected disclosure is made and it relates to or mentions an employee or officer of Planit (respondent), Planit will ensure the fair treatment of the respondent by:
    1. to the extent possible given the confidentiality requirements under the policy, making the respondent aware of the nature of the allegations relating to or mentioning them and updating the respondent on the progress of the investigation;
    2. giving the respondent an opportunity to respond to the allegations relating to or mentioning them; and
    3. making the employee or officer aware of EAP services available to them.

5. Protection for eligible whistleblowers

5.1 Protection from detriment

The company will support eligible whistleblowers and protect them from detriment in the following ways.

  1. An eligible whistleblower must not suffer detriment or be otherwise disadvantaged in reprisal for making a protected disclosure.
  2. Specifically, no one may cause or threaten to cause detriment to another person because they believe or suspect that any person may have made, proposes to make, or could make a protected disclosure.
  3. Detriment includes (but is not limited to):
    1. dismissal of an employee;
    2. injury of an employee in their employment;
    3. alteration of an employee’s position or duties to their disadvantage;
    4. discrimination between an employee and other employees;
    5. harassment or intimidation of a person;
    6. harm or injury to a person, including psychological harm;
    7. damage to a person’s property;
    8. damage to a person’s reputation;
    9. damage to a person’s business or financial position; and
    10. any other damage to a person.
  4. Planit will take all reasonable steps to protect eligible whistleblowers who make protected disclosures from suffering detriment including by:
    1. ensuring senior managers of Planit, officers of Planit and persons authorised by Planit to receive protected disclosures under this policy, are trained to identify and report behaviour that causes detriment;
    2. ensuring that all employees and officers of Planit are made aware of this policy and the right to make a protected disclosure without suffering detriment; and
    3. enabling eligible whistleblowers to make a complaint in accordance with this policy if they believe they have suffered detriment as a result of their protected disclosure.

5.2 Protection of identity

Except in the circumstances specified below, the Company will not disclose the information, the identity of the eligible whistleblower and any information that is likely to lead to the identification of the eligible whistleblower, unless they agree.

  1. An eligible whistleblower who makes a protected disclosure is not required to identify themselves to Planit or anyone else in order to qualify for or be protected under this policy or the law.
  2. If a person obtains information as a result of a protected disclosure that identifies or is likely to identify the eligible whistleblower, that person must not disclose that information to any person except:
    1. with the eligible whistleblower’s consent; or
    2. to ASIC, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Australian Federal Police or to a Commonwealth authority, or a state or territory authority, for the purpose of assisting the authority in the performance of its functions or duties as long as it has also been disclosed to ASIC, APRA or the AFP (or, if the protected disclosure relates to tax affairs, the Commissioner of Taxation);
    3. to a lawyer to obtain legal advice or legal representation in relation to the operation of the whistleblowing provisions; and/or
    4. if the protected disclosure relates to tax affairs – to the Commissioner of Taxation.

5.3 Protection from certain liability

  1. An eligible whistleblower will not be subject to any civil, criminal or administrative liability for making a protected disclosure.
  2. However, this does not prevent an eligible whistleblower from being subject to any civil, criminal or administrative liability for conduct of the eligible whistleblower that is revealed by the protected disclosure.
  3. Planit will not exercise any contractual right, or seek any contractual remedy, against an eligible whistleblower on the basis that the eligible whistleblower made the protected disclosure, including termination of contract.
  4. If the protected disclosure is made to the Commissioner of Taxation, or is a public interest disclosure or an emergency disclosure, the information contained in the protected disclosure is not admissible in evidence against the person in criminal proceedings or in proceedings for the imposition of a penalty.

5.4 Compliance with protections for eligible whistleblowers

An employee or officer of Planit who fails to comply with clause 5.1(b), 5.3(a) or 5.3(b) may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Such a person may also be in breach of the law, which may result in:

  1. civil liability to pay compensation, damages and/or a penalty; and/or
  2. criminal liability to pay penalties and/or a maximum of two years’ imprisonment.

5.5 Protection of files and records

All files and records created from an investigation will be securely retained.

5.6 Additional support

Planit recognises that making a disclosure as a whistleblower can be stressful. Planit will look at ways to provide support to the extent reasonably possible.

6. Training

Planit will carry out separate training for eligible recipients within Planit on how to respond to protected disclosures.

7. Document version

This policy will be periodically reviewed (and, if necessary, amended) by Planit to ensure it is operating efficiently and complies with applicable legislation.

Version
Last Update / Purpose
Prepared /
Updated by:
Reviewed by
Approved by
1.0
24/11/2021 – Latest Update
CPCO
CPCO & External Legal Team
The board of directors
on 24 November 2021
 

8. Appendix A

Protective Officer
Name: Emma Pilcher
Title: Chief People & Culture Officer
Email: epilcher@planittesting.com

Legal and Compliance Officer
Name: Devika Singh
Title: Legal & Compliance Officer
Email: dsingh@planittesting.com