Ethics fraud and public interest disclosures
The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (Qld) applies to the University as we are a public sector entity (established by an Act of Qld parliament) and all employees are considered Public Officers. The Act outlines four Ethical Principles:
- Integrity and impartiality;
- Promoting the public good;
- A commitment to the system of government; and
- Accountability and Transparency.
The University provides clear guidance on expectations of ethical behaviour in its Code of Conduct, the accompanying Explanatory Statement and in the Statement on Integrity.
What is fraud and corruption?
The Crime and Corruption Commission defines fraud as activity usually involving deliberate deception to help or conceal the misappropriation of assets, whereas corruption involves a breach of trust in the performance of official duties. Both involve an abuse of position. Public officials acting fraudulently or corruptly may be guilty of corrupt conduct under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (Qld).
The conduct must amount to a criminal offence or be serious enough to justify dismissal from employment.
How does JCU prevent fraud and corruption?
Council has oversight responsibility for fraud and corruption prevention. It approves policy and delegations and through the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, receives advice on fraud and corruption prevention, internal control frameworks and risk management issues as required.
JCU has a zero tolerance towards fraud and corruption and is committed to effectively preventing, detecting and dealing with incidents of fraud and corruption through its Statement on Integrity and various other policies and procedures governing financial transactions, procurement, HR and other functions that may present opportunities for pecuniary or material conflict.
These documents should be read in conjunction with the Code of Conduct, Compliance Policy and Framework and the Risk Management Policy and Framework.
Public Interest Disclosure
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) promotes the reporting of suspected wrongdoing in the public sector. The PID Act provides an avenue for public officials to make a disclosure that they reasonably believe is disclosable information. The PID Act also aims to promote integrity and accountability by:
- encouraging the disclosure of information by public officials about suspected wrongdoing;
- ensuring that public officials who make disclosures are supported and protected from reprisal action; and
- ensuring that disclosures are properly managed.
What is disclosable information?
A public sector officer may also disclose information about:
- corrupt conduct by another person
- maladministration that adversely affects someone’s interests in a substantial and specific way
- a substantial misuse of public resources
- a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety
- a substantial and specific danger to the environment.
Who can make a disclosure?
Any person, (ie current or former staff member, student, volunteer, contractor, supplier or member of the public) can disclose information that they believe on reasonable grounds tends to show disclosable conduct in any way, including anonymously.
Protections for the person who makes the disclosure
The identity of a person who makes a disclosure will be kept confidential as far as practicable. It is an offence to provide identifying information about a person who makes a disclosure without their consent unless authorised by the PID Act.
The assessment of a Public Interest Disclosure and the determination of appropriate action, on a case by case basis, rests with the University Secretary, in consultation with appropriate University officers.
If you have any doubts or would like to discuss any Ethics, Fraud or Public Interest Disclosure matter please contact the Chief of Staff, University Secretary or Manager Internal Audit via the contact points below:
- Chief of Staff, Vanessa Cannon – 4781 4078
- University Secretary, Michael Kern – 4781 4115
- Manager, Internal Audit, Maria Mu – 4781 5182
- Statement on Integrity