The Whistleblower Policy:
The Anova Health institute aims to comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements relating to work performance, asset management, accounting, internal controls and auditing matters and to require its staff and Board members to do likewise.
A whistleblower policy encourages staff and volunteers to come forward with credible information on illegal practices or violations of adopted policies of the organisation, specifies that the organisation will protect the individual from retaliation, and identifies those staff or board members or outside parties to whom such information can be reported. The South African Protected Disclosures Act, Act 26 of 2000 (“the Act”), makes provision for employees to report unlawful or irregular conduct by employers and fellow employees, while providing for their protection.
To whom does this policy apply?
The policy applies to everyone who carries out work for the organization, including:
- All employees (full time or otherwise);
- Board Members or Advisors;
- Contractors and sub-contractors;
- Consultants; and
Who is a whistleblower?
Any staff member who knows or has a reasonable belief that persons associated with Anova, including but not limited to staff members, members of the Board of Directors or its committees and consultants, have engaged in or plan to engage in illegal or unethical conduct in connection with the organisation’s resources or financial operations is expected to file a complaint with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and/or the Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee. If uncomfortable about raising the matter through the Organization’s normal reporting channels, they may want to seek assistance from this whistleblower policy.
A whistleblower as defined by this policy is person who reports an activity that she/he considers to be illegal or dishonest to one or more of the parties specified in this Policy. The whistleblower is not responsible for investigating the activity or for determining fault or corrective measures; appropriate management officials are charged with these responsibilities
What does this policy apply to?
This policy covers situations where an individual (the whistleblower) raises a concern about misconduct or wrongdoing or the risk of either that affects others such as clients, other employees, the organization or the public
interest. This policy is intended to assist individuals who believe they have discovered misconduct or impropriety. It is not designed to question financial or business decisions taken by the organization nor should it be used to reconsider any matters that have been investigated under the harassment, grievance or disciplinary policies and procedures.
What does this policy cover?
Whistleblowing is the confidential disclosure by an individual of any concern encountered in the workplace relating to a perceived wrongdoing. The organization considers wrongdoing to include (per example and not to be
considered as a Comprehensive listing):
- Criminal offences such as billing for services not performed or for goods not delivered; failure to comply with certain legal obligations;
- Endangering of the health or safety of individuals;
- Damage to the environment;
- Unfair discrimination;
- Potential breaches of Anova’s policies;
- Potential violations of audit (or other applicable) regulations; and
- Potential infringements of Anova’s codes of conduct.
If an employee has knowledge of or a concern about illegal or dishonest fraudulent activity, the employee is to contact either:
- her/his immediate supervisor
- the Executive Manager, Human Resources, or
- an Executive Board Member
Concerns can also be communicated by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, to which email only the CEO has access.
How are concerns raised by whistleblowers investigated?
All reports of illegal and dishonest activities will be promptly submitted to the COO and CEO who are responsible for investigating and coordinating corrective action. If a disclosure potentially implicates the CEO or COO, a non-executive Board member will be included in or mandated to conduct this process.
The employee must exercise sound judgment to avoid baseless allegations. An employee who intentionally files a false report of wrongdoing will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including possible termination of services.
Is the whistleblower protected?
Whistleblower protections are provided in two important areas – confidentiality and against retaliation. Insofar as possible, the confidentiality of the whistleblower will be maintained. However, identity may have to be disclosed to conduct a thorough investigation, to comply with the law and to provide accused individuals their legal rights of defence. The organisation will not retaliate against a whistleblower. This includes, but is not limited to, protection from retaliation in the form of an adverse employment action such as termination, compensation decreases, or poor work assignments and threats of physical harm. Any whistleblower who believes she/he is being retaliated against must contact the Executive Manager: Human Resources immediately. The right of a whistleblower for protection against retaliation does not include immunity for any personal wrongdoing that is alleged and investigated.
Questions about this policy?
Employees with any questions regarding this policy should contact the Executive Manager, Human Resources.