Organisations under the Reportable Conduct Scheme must have systems in place for preventing, detecting and dealing with reportable conduct and reportable convictions.
Responsibilities of the Head of Relevant Entity
The head of the organisation, known as the Head of Relevant Entity, is ultimately responsible for making sure these systems are in place. These systems aim to keep children safe and ensure that employees are treated fairly when an allegation is investigated.
Read about the responsibilities of the Head of Relevant Entity.
There is a difference between ‘reportable conduct’ and a ‘reportable allegation’. This difference is important because the Scheme is an allegations-based scheme. Relevant entities must notify us when a reportable allegation has been received or observed.
A reportable allegation is an allegation that the employee has engaged in conduct that may be reportable conduct.
At the allegation stage, there does not need to be any proof that the alleged conduct occurred, or that it is likely to have occurred.
Relevant entities must also notify us when their employee has a reportable conviction. These are convictions of an offence involving reportable conduct.
The head of relevant entity must notify us of the reportable allegation or reportable conviction within 7 business days of becoming aware of it.
Responding to reportable allegations
Relevant entities must respond to reportable allegations and convictions. This means that employees in the relevant entity:
- may need to take steps to clarify the information they have received to assess if there is a reportable allegation or conviction
- must report criminal offences to Police
- must report risk of significant harm concerns for a child (or group of children) to the Child Protection Helpline
- must assess and manage risk to the child, their employee and others. They may also need to consult with Police and the Department of Communities and Justice before doing anything that might compromise an investigation
- notify the Children’s Guardian of any reportable allegations or reportable convictions within 7 business days.
Investigating reportable allegations
The Scheme requires relevant entities to investigate the reportable allegations or make a determination about the reportable conviction. This investigation or determination must:
- be arranged as soon as practicable after the Head of Relevant Entity has become aware of the reportable allegation or reportable conviction
- have regard to the principles of procedural fairness
- give the employee the opportunity to give a written submission to the Head of Relevant Entity if they would like to
- be completed within a reasonable timeframe
If the allegation is being assessed or investigated by Police or the Department of Communities and Justice, the relevant entity’s obligations to investigate the reportable allegations are suspended. The relevant entity’s obligations are also suspended if the allegations are before the Courts.
The reason it is important that entities observe these suspensions is so they don’t do anything that compromises a criminal investigation or prosecution, or a statutory child protection investigation.
Sometimes we exempt a relevant entity from starting or continuing a reportable conduct investigation. We may also require a deferral of the investigation. The exemption or deferral may be temporary or ongoing. We assess this on a case-by-case basis.
Some of the reasons we might give a relevant entity a notice of exemption or deferral include:
- the reportable allegation or reportable conviction was previously investigated by another relevant entity
- there is more than one employer with obligations under the Scheme regarding the reportable allegation or reportable conviction
- to progress a reportable conduct investigation may compromise a future criminal investigation or prosecution
- to start or progress an investigation poses an unacceptable risk to someone’s safety
- there are no identifiable lines of inquiry available to the investigation.
Submitting reports and documentation
Relevant entities submit their notification and reports using our notification forms. The forms are available at Reportable conduct notification forms.
Role of our office throughout a reportable conduct matter
When we receive a reportable allegation, we assess it to determine if the information is a reportable allegation or reportable conviction. We can also provide advice to relevant entities when they are unsure if they need to notify a matter.
In some cases, we decide to take a more active role in monitoring a relevant entity’s investigation. To inform this decision we consider:
- if Police or the Department of Communities and Justice are involved and whether the relevant entity has fulfilled its reporting obligations to these agencies
- the risk to children or individuals and the adequacy of the risk management
- the experience of the relevant entity in handling reportable conduct investigations
- if any other relevant entities are involved in the matter
- if there are systemic issues of concern.
We regularly request further information from relevant entities. We might ask how a relevant entity is managing risk, proceeding with its investigation or fulfilling its obligations. We might do this by speaking with the relevant entity’s contact person on the phone and confirming by email, or in some circumstances we might write to the head of relevant entity.
When we request information, we are clear about what we need and provide a rationale or legislative basis for why we are requesting it. If ever a relevant entity is uncertain about a request, you are encouraged to contact us to discuss.
If you have any questions about the scheme, please contact us on 8219 3800 or email us at email@example.com