The Head of Relevant Entity (HRE) is the title under the reportable conduct scheme that describes the most senior person in the organisation.
The Head of Relevant Entity is the primary person responsible for the executive decision-making in the organisation. For instance, a chief executive officer, principal officer or someone in a similar position may be your head of relevant entity.
Because of the structure of some organisations, the head of relevant entity might not be clear or obvious. In these circumstances, you can contact us for advice.
As the Head of a Relevant Entity, you have specific responsibilities and obligations under the scheme. These are separate from any other duties or obligations under any other legislation, including any duty you may have to report to NSW Police or Department of Communities and Justice.
As a Head of Relevant Entity, you can delegate some or all these duties to another suitable employee within your organisation, but you are still ultimately accountable for the obligations being met.
We’ve set out your key responsibilities below.
Responsibility to maintain proper systems
You must have systems in place for preventing, detecting and responding to reportable allegations or convictions. This means in practice that you will ensure your organisation:
- has a code of conduct that provides clear guidance to employees about acceptable and unacceptable conduct in their interactions with children
- has policies and practices which embed the child safe standards and build a culture of reporting
- has information about reportable conduct available to your employees and those who attend your organisation, with clear information about how to report any child protection concerns or reportable allegations
- informs employees of their reporting obligations as part of their induction and deals with any failure to report as part of its misconduct processes
- has a process to ensure prompt reports are made to Police and the Department of Communities and Justice
- has a process for investigating reportable allegations while upholding the principles of procedural fairness
This is not an exhaustive list of what you might include in your systems to prevent, detect and respond to reportable allegations or convictions. It is a starting point to prompt your thinking.
Responsibility to notify us
You have a legal obligation to notify us of any reportable allegation or conviction against an employee of your entity. This notification must be made within seven working days of you becoming aware of the reportable allegation or conviction.
There are penalties if you don’t comply.
Responsibility to investigate
As soon as you can after having received the reportable allegation or conviction, you must arrange for it to be investigated.
When planning and conducting an investigation you should always be guided by the principles of procedural fairness. You should also consider other factors, such as:
● any Police or Department of Communities and Justice requirement to suspend the investigation until they give you clearance to proceed
● the safety, welfare and wellbeing of any child impacted by the investigation
● the rights of other parties involved in the investigation.
You must complete this investigation within a reasonable timeframe.
If we issue you with a written notice of exemption or deferral, that notice exempts you from commencing or continuing your investigation. The notice will include any relevant conditions.
Responsibility to report
You have 30 calendar days to provide us with either an interim or final report, known as an entity report. You must reach a finding for every reportable allegation.
When making a finding, you must assess the evidence on the balance of probabilities and provide us with the analysis of the evidence and rationale for the findings. You must also demonstrate how you have made the section 40(3) mandatory considerations when making the findings.
You also need to tell us what action you will be taking including:
- any remedial or disciplinary action you will take in relation to the employee
- if you’ve referred information about the matter to another entity
- if you’ve made any changes to your systems or policies
- if you are not taking any action.
You have 30 calendar days to provide us with either an interim or entity report. You must make a determination for each reportable conviction.
Responsibility to assess risks
You must assess and manage any risks to children and other employees, as well as the worker who is the subject of the allegations.
Responsibility to provide information
You must provide us with certain information when we request it under the Act. This may include information about a reportable allegation, your response to it, and your systems for preventing and responding to reportable allegations.
You must also provide information about the allegation, the progress of the investigation and the finding and action taken to the alleged victim and their parent or carer. Only where you consider it is not in the public interest to do so can you be exempted from this requirement. You must provide us with any reasons why you have not released information.
Responsibility to ensure confidentiality
You must make sure you maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality about information relating to a reportable allegation. You can only disclose information about an allegation in situations allowed under the Act and other legislation.