Whistleblower Policy

WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY

  1. INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE

George Clinical, together with its subsidiaries and associated companies worldwide, is committed to  the highest standards of conduct and ethical behaviour, integrity, good corporate governance and to  operate: 

  • legally and in accordance with applicable legislation and regulations;  
  • properly, in accordance with organisational policy and procedures; and  
  • ethically, in accordance with recognised ethical principles.  

Including: 

  • supporting Whistleblowers to make reports based on reasonable grounds of Reportable Conduct  involving George Clinical’s activities, including its support of clinical research; 
  • ensuring that any Whistleblower who makes a report based on reasonable grounds to assist in  maintaining the legal, proper and ethical operations of the George Clinical, can do so:
    • anonymously if they wish;
    • without fear of intimidation, disadvantage or reprisal; and
    • without being penalised in any way.

Directors, Officers, Employees and other associates of George Clinical are required to cooperate with this commitment by maintaining legal, proper and ethical operations, and if necessary, by reporting non-compliant actions by others. 

The purpose of this Policy is to:

  • ensure George Clinical maintains the highest standards of ethical behaviour and integrity; define who can make a protected disclosure (Whistleblowers); 
  • define matters about which a protected disclosure can be made (Reportable Conduct); identify who can receive a protected disclosure (Eligible Recipients); 
  • encourage the reporting of matters that may cause harm to individuals, or financial or non financial loss to George Clinical, or damage to George Clinical’s reputation;  
  • establish a process for George Clinical to deal with reports from Whistleblowers; 
  • ensure George Clinical protects the identity (including the disclosure of information that could  lead to the identity) of a Whistleblower;  
  • provide for the secure storage of the information provided by Whistleblowers under George  Clinical’s processes; and
  • protect Whistleblowers against detrimental conduct. 
    1. WHISTLE-BLOWER AND PROTECTIONS

    WHAT IS A WHISTLE-BLOWER?

    A Whistleblower is a person who wishes to make, attempts to make, or makes a report of Reportable  Conduct in accordance with this Policy; and 

    • is, or has been, an associate of George Clinical, including a George Clinical Board Member,  Director, officer, employee, intern, contractor, supplier, tenderer or other person, paid or  unpaid, who has business dealings with the George Clinical; or 
    • is a relative, spouse or dependent of a person listed above. 

    WHAT PROTECTIONS ARE AFFORDED TO WHISTLE-BLOWERS BY GEORGE CLINICAL?

    • A Whistleblower is not required to disclose their identity to receive Whistleblower protections under this Policy, but must make a report of Reportable Conduct in accordance  with this Policy. 
    • Subject to certain legal requirements, the identity of a Whistleblower, including information  that is likely to lead to identification of the Whistleblower, must not occur without the  consent of the Whistleblower. 
    • Where anonymity has been requested, the Whistleblower is also required to maintain  confidentiality regarding the issue on their own account and to refrain from discussing the  matter with any unauthorised persons.  
    • George Clinical will ensure that if a Whistleblower makes concerns about Reportable  Conduct known, the Whistleblower will not suffer any Detriment on account of those  actions, providing that those actions:
      • are based on reasonable grounds; conform to the designated procedures outlined in  this Policy; and
      • not involving any misconduct of the part of the Whistleblower.
        • Detriment includes civil, criminal and administrative liability (e.g., dismissal, demotion,  harassment, discrimination, disciplinary action, bias, threats or other unfavourable  treatment) connected with making a report. 
        • A Whistleblower may seek compensation and other remedies through the courts if: 
      • a loss, damage or injury is suffered by the Whistleblower because of a disclosure; and o George Clinical failed to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to  prevent the detrimental conduct. 
      • A Whistleblower is encouraged to seek independent legal advice of their rights and  remedies.
    1. REPORTABLE MATTERS

    Reportable Conduct is: 

    • conduct which is dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt, including financial fraud or bribery; 
    • illegal activity including but not limited to theft, drug sale or use, violence, harassment or  intimidation, criminal damage to property or other breaches of state or federal law; 
    • official misconduct or maladministration; 
    • research misconduct or intentional data mismanagement; 
    • unethical conduct or conduct in breach of George Clinical’s policies, including but not limited  to dishonestly altering company records or data, adopting questionable accounting practices  or wilfully breaching George Clinical’s Code of Conduct or other policies or procedures; 
    • conduct that could be damaging to George Clinical, a George Clinical employee or a third  party, including but not limited to unsafe work practices, environmental damage, health risks  or abuse of George Clinical property or resources; 
    • conduct which amounts to an abuse of authority; 
    • conduct which may cause financial loss to George Clinical, damage its reputation or be  otherwise detrimental to George Clinical’s interests; 
    • conduct which involves harassment, discrimination, bullying or victimisation; or 
    • conduct which involves any other kind of serious impropriety, including but not limited to  serious and substantial waste of public resources, practices endangering the health or safety  of employees, stakeholders or the general public, practices endangering the environment  and research misconduct.  

    Reportable Conduct does not include personal work-related grievances. Personal work-related  grievances may include, but are not limited to, interpersonal conflicts between employees, or a  decision relating to the engagement, transfer or promotion of the an individual. For personal work-related grievances or other issues employees should refer to George Clinical’s Grievance Policy. 

    1. MAKING A REPORT

    TO WHOM CAN A WHISTLE-BLOWER REPORT?

    • If you become aware, on reasonable grounds, of any issue or behaviour that you believe  amounts to Reportable Conduct and you wish to report your concerns, then you must report  that concern to an Eligible Recipient.  
    • An Eligible Recipient is:
      • George Clinical’s external whistleblower service (Your Call);
      • George Clinical’s Whistle-blower Protection Office;
      • a member of an audit team conducting an audit of George Clinical; or
      • the authorities responsible for the enforcement of the law in the relevant jurisdiction.
    • A Whistleblower Protection Officer (WPO) is a senior manager of George Clinical, designated,  authorised and trained to receive Whistleblower disclosures. The WPO for George Clinical is Jacqueline Thorn (Commercial Director), whose contact details are  [email protected] +612 8052 4419. 

    WILL GEORGE CLINICAL PROTECT ME IF I DISCLOSE REPORTABLE CONDUCT TO A MEMBER OF  PARLIAMENT OR A JOURNALIST?

    Protection will only be offered by George Clinical to any Whistleblower who informs a Member of  Parliament or journalist of concerns about Reportable Conduct if: 

    • The Whistleblower has previously made a report regarding the matter to an Eligible  Recipient and either:
      • At least 90 days have passed since the report was made; and
      • The Whistleblower does not have reasonable grounds to believe that action is being, or  has been taken to address the report; and
      • The Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to believe that making a further report  would be in the public interest; or
      • The Whistleblower has reasonable grounds to believe that the information concerns a  substantial and imminent danger to the health and safety of a person, persons, or the  environment; and
        • The Whistleblower provides written notification to George Clinical that: o Includes sufficient information to identify the previously made report;
      • Clearly states that the Whistleblower intends to make a public interest disclosure or an  emergency disclosure as defined above; and
      • The information disclosed is no greater than necessary to inform the MP or journalist  of the misconduct or the otherwise improper state of affairs.

    WILL GEORGE CLINICAL PROTECT ME IF I DISCLOSE REPORTABLE CONDUCT ON SOCIAL MEDIA OR  TO SOMEONE OTHER THAN AN ELIGIBLE PERSON?

    • No, to be protected by George Clinical, a Whistleblower must make any reports of  Reportable Conduct to an Eligible Person in accordance with this Policy. 

    HOW CAN A REPORT BE MADE?

    • A report of Reportable Conduct can be made to the George Clinical’s external  whistleblower service’s Your Call: https://www.whistleblowing.com.au/ using the code  GEORGEINST or Australian telephone number 1-300-790-228. 
    • Alternatively, a report of Reportable Conduct can be made in writing or in person to the  WPO and should contain, as appropriate, details of:
      • the nature of the alleged breach;
      • the person or persons responsible for the breach;
      • the facts on which the Whistleblower’s belief that a breach has occurred are based; and
      • the nature and whereabouts of any further evidence that would substantiate the  Whistleblower’s allegations, if known.

    WHAT OTHER INFORMATION SHOULD A WHISTLE-BLOWER RECEIVE?

    • Any Whistleblower who makes a report of Reportable Conduct in accordance with this  Policy must be informed that:
      • George Clinical will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the Whistleblower will not  be disadvantaged for the act of making such a report;
      • the Whistleblower can remain anonymous and still receive protection; and
      • the Whistleblower will not necessarily be absolved from the consequences of their  involvement in any misconduct complained of.
    1. INVESTIGATION

    • George Clinical must investigate all matters reported under this Policy. 
    • The WPO may only dismiss the Whistleblower’s complaint, if on reasonable grounds, the  WPO has a high degree of confidence there is no substance to the complaint. Otherwise, the  WPO must, with the Whistleblower’s consent, on receiving a report of a breach:
      • notify the CEO;
      • if the CEO is implicated in the disclosure, notify the Chair of the Board; or
      • if the Chair of the Board is implicated in the disclosure, then the WPO has the authority  to move directly to appoint an independent, external expert to investigate the reported  breach;
      • appoint any person, both internal and external, as he/she deems fit to carry out  investigation (the Investigator); and
      • ensure the Terms of Reference provided to the Investigator include:
        • all relevant questions;
        • hat the scale of the investigation is in proportion to the seriousness of the  allegation(s);
        • allocation of sufficient resources;
        • a requirement that confidentiality of all parties, including witnesses, is maintained; a requirement that procedural fairness be applied to all parties;
        • a requirement that strict security is maintained during the investigative process;
        • a requirement that information obtained is properly secured to prevent  unauthorised access;
        • a requirement that all relevant witnesses are interviewed and documents examined;
        • a requirement that contemporaneous notes of all discussions, phone calls and  interviews must be made; and
        • a requirement that the Findings comply with clause 7 of this Policy;
      • where appropriate, provide feedback to the Whistleblower regarding the investigation’s  progress and/or outcome (subject to considerations of the privacy of those against whom  allegations are made).
      • The investigation must be conducted in an objective and fair manner, and otherwise as is  reasonable and appropriate having regard to the nature of the Reportable Conduct and the circumstances, including fair treatment of employees who are mentioned in a disclosure and those who are the subject of a disclosure. 
      • Where anonymity has been requested, the Whistleblower is required to maintain  confidentiality regarding the issue on their own account and to refrain from discussing the  matter with any unauthorised persons.  
      • The Whistleblower will be kept informed of the progress and outcomes of the investigation,  if the Whistleblower can be contacted, subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations. 
    1. FINDINGS

    • A report of findings must be prepared by the Investigator and provided to the WPO when an  investigation is complete. This report must include: 
      • the allegations;
      • a statement of all relevant findings of fact and the evidence relied upon to reach  conclusions on each allegation;
      • the basis for each conclusion reached (including the damage caused, if any, and the  impact on the organisation and other affected parties) and their basis; and
      • recommendations based on those conclusions to address any wrongdoing identified and any other matters arising during the investigation.
    • The WPO will review the report to ensure the rules of natural justice are observed in the investigation. The WPO will report to the CEO of the findings and depending on the nature of  the matter, may:
      • accept the recommendations;
      • refer for further investigation; or
      • revise and substitute with appropriate actions.
    1. COMPLIANCE WITH THE POLICY

    All George Clinical staff must read, understand and comply with this Policy. Any George Clinical staff member who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for misconduct or gross misconduct. 

    This Policy reflects the rights and responsibilities of individuals as outlined in the Australian Treasury  Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019. 

    A copy of this Policy will be distributed to all officers and employees of George Clinical and made available via GC Wiz and published on George Clinical’s external website. 

    1. RELATED POLICIES

    GC Code of Conduct 

    GC Grievance Policy 

    1. OTHER INFORMATION

    This Policy is effective from 30 June 2022 and will be reviewed after 2 years. 

     

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