On 13 November 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released its updated regulatory guidelines on whistleblower policies and what it expects a policy to contain.
ASIC requires that a whistleblower policy include:
- detail on who can make a disclosure both internally and externally;
- the types of wrongdoing that can be disclosed;
- details on how disclosures can be made and to whom;
- a statement on the legal protections available to whistleblowers including:
- how the organisation will protect a whistleblower’s identity;
- the protection of a whistleblower from detriment;
- civil, criminal and administrative liability protections available;
- compensation and remedies;
- details on how disclosures made by whistleblower will be investigated;
- details on how an organisation will support and ensure fair treatment of employees who are mentioned in disclosures; and
- how the policy will be accessible within and outside the organisation.
In addition to ensuring a policy is in place, we also recommend that organisations:
- train their staff on how to deal with whistleblower complaints; and
- consider what changes should be made to existing policies and procedures to bring them in line with the whistleblower provisions. This is a great opportunity to review codes of conduct and complaints policies.
ASIC have enforcement powers and will conduct surveillance periodically post January 2020 to ensure compliance with obligations. Now is the time to get your policy in place. We can help you by contacting us here.