Anti-corruption and fraud prevention guidelines


1. Summary

Introduction

These guidelines are to be read in conjunction with and provide guidance on Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy.

Overarching approach

Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy and these guidelines, establish the University’s organisation-wide approach to anti-corruption and fraud prevention, consistent with the Australian Standard on Fraud and Corruption Control and the requirements of the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.

This overarching approach:

  • describes governance arrangements
  • points to relevant individual position-holders and their responsibilities
  • describes training and communication for staff
  • provides for prevention, detection and response mechanisms.

Definitions

Definitions of “fraud” and “corrupt conduct” are contained in Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy.

Potential examples in the University context include:

  • theft
  • obtaining property, a financial advantage or any other benefit by deception
  • providing false or misleading information about the University
  • bribery, corruption or abuse of office
  • unlawful use of University property including computers, vehicles, telephones
  • dishonestly falsifying invoices for goods and services
  • receiving or giving kickbacks or secret commissions to or from third parties
  • staff making false claims for compensation such as overtime or fictitious travel claims
  • credit card fraud involving unauthorised or inappropriate use of credit card
  • fabrication, falsification of research or scholarly work
  • dishonestly using grant or research funds or sponsorships
  • knowingly making or using forged falsified documents
  • dishonest use of intellectual property.

Accountabilities and responsibilities

Council oversees, monitors and receives reports in respect of anti-corruption and fraud matters through its Audit and Risk Committee, the responsibilities and procedures of which are set out in ARC’s Terms of Reference.

The Vice-Chancellor is accountable for the University’s organisation-wide approach to anti-corruption and fraud prevention, as described above, and the implementation of Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy and the internal control structures that support it.

Management is responsible for:

  • demonstrating a high level commitment to the prevention of fraud and corruption
  • assessing the risk of fraud and corruption in accordance with Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy and these guidelines and consistent with the University’s risk management framework
  • ensuring there are internal controls in place within their areas of responsibility for prevention and detection of any fraudulent activities in accordance with these guidelines
  • promoting staff awareness
  • encouraging prompt reporting of matters in accordance with these guidelines.

All staff: The Anti-Corruption and Fraud Prevention Guidelines apply University-wide to all staff. All staff are required to report any suspected instances of fraud, corrupt conduct or maladministration to the appropriate University authority or if the staff member wishes to remain anonymous and make a protected disclosure, under the Protected Disclosure Act, to IBAC.

2. Planning and Resourcing

Program for control planning and review

The control planning and review program for anti-corruption and fraud prevention will be co-ordinated by the Governance and Assurance Unit, in accordance with Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy.

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

The University Secretary is the Fraud Prevention Coordinator.

External assistance to the Fraud Prevention Coordinator

The Fraud Prevention Coordinator has the ability to engage such legal, accounting or other advisers, consultants or experts as considered necessary from time-to-time in the performance and of the Fraud Prevention Coordinator’s duties.

Responsibilities of the Fraud Prevention Coordinator

The key responsibilities of the Fraud Prevention Coordinator include:

  • Receive all disclosures made under these guidelines as referred by complainants or through the Swinburne Disclosure Hotline service.
  • Maintain, review and coordinate the implementation of Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy and these guidelines.
  • Under the procedure set out in these guidelines, conduct or commission preliminary assessments of suspected fraud or corruption to determine how the matter is to be handled, taking into account the factors considered by the Fraud Prevention Coordinator to be relevant, including:
    • is the matter really a dispute, grievance, interpersonal or some other kind of matter
    • is the matter really about procedures or workplace practices with which the complainant does not agree
    • is the matter frivolous or trivial
    • is the complaint vexatious
    • how old is the matter and is it still relevant and related to current staff
    • is it a matter that has already been dealt with in an appropriate way
    • is it a matter for Swinburne or is it about conduct away from the University
    • overall, is it a matter appropriate for and worthy of attention under Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of People, Culture and Integrity Policy?
  • Provide advice regarding reporting improper conduct to IBAC
  • When it is evident that a further investigation under these guidelines is warranted, take into account whether it is advisable to move immediately to that investigation if, for example:
    • a preliminary assessment may compromise the full investigation
    • forensic experts are required
    • promptness of the investigation is important.
  • Decide whether the investigation is to be undertaken internally or externally taking into account such things as:
    • the nature and seriousness of the allegations
    • the person whom the allegation is against
    • availability and level of expertise internally to deal with the matter
    • impartiality
    • objectivity
    • potential for conflict of interest.
  • Appoint investigator(s) if warranted
  • Appoint a Welfare Manager where required to support the discloser and to protect him or her from any reprisals, including when a matter is alerted to the University by the IBAC
  • Report to the Vice–Chancellor and Vice–President (Corporate Services) and produce an annual fraud incident report for the Vice–Chancellor.

Welfare Manager

  • Examine the immediate welfare and protection needs of a discloser who has made a disclosure and seek to foster a supportive work environment
  • Advise the discloser of the legislative and administrative protections available to him or her
  • Listen and respond to any concerns of harassment, intimidation or victimisation in reprisal for making disclosure
  • Keep a contemporaneous record of all aspects of the case management of the discloser, including all contact and follow-up action
  • Endeavour to ensure the expectations of the discloser are realistic.
  • Report any concerns or issues to the Fraud Prevention Coordinator.
  • When required, comply with the IBAC Guidelines for Protected Disclosure Welfare Management.

Internal Audit activity in fraud and corruption control

The functions and responsibilities of Internal Audit are documented in the Internal Audit Charter.

3. Fraud and Corruption Prevention

Implementing and maintaining integrity framework

Sections 1.4 and 2.4 set out the accountability and responsibility for implementing and maintain Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy and these guidelines

Maintain a strong internal control system and culture

The internal control structure in relation to corruption and fraud control includes: 

  • Leadership support from the Council, its Audit and Risk Committee, the Vice-Chancellor and senior management
  • Policies and procedures in key areas of finance, human resources, facilities, information technology, teaching and learning and research
  • An organisational structure comprising the Audit and Risk Committee, Senior Management, Fraud Prevention Coordinator, Manager, Risk Management and Human Research and Animal Ethics Committees
  • A work culture that does not tolerate corrupt conduct, fraudulent activities and maladministration – as articulated in the Code of Conduct
  • The alignment of Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy and these guidelines to the University’s risk management framework
  • Awareness program via induction and compliance training
  • Investigation procedures to deal with suspected fraudulent or corrupt activity
  • The Governance and Assurance Unit that promotes risk management throughout the University
  • Internal Audit providing assurance activities by conducting internal audits that consider governance, risk management and fraud control processes
  • External audits conducted by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

Employment Screening

Successful applicants for employment at the University undergo checks in accordance with the University’s appointments policy and procedure.

Awareness

Awareness can be created through:

  • Staff induction programs
  • Implementation of the University’s conflict of interest policy
  • Provision of data on fraud trends from reports and the media
  • Promotion of key internal controls used to manage the risk of fraudulent activities
  • Bulletins highlighting known cases of fraud and corruption from other institutions
  • Seminars and presentations on relevant topics
  • Staff compliance training programs
  • The University’s compliance program
  • Associated, relevant policies such as Code of Conduct and Occupational Health and Safety

Supplier and customer vetting

Organisational units entering into contractual arrangements with suppliers assess the level of due diligence and process to be followed having regard to the value and nature of the contract, in accordance with the University’s Guidelines for Legal Documents and other relevant policies and guidelines.

Other specific initiatives

Material procurement and contractual documentation should include provisions covering the key principles of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy:

  • Our Culture
  • Unacceptable Behaviour
  • Integrity

4. External Audit

The external audit process provides assurances to Parliament on the stewardship of the University.

The Victoria Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO), as Parliament’s external auditor, discharges these responsibilities principally through the certification of the University’s financial statements. 

The Audit and Risk Committee hold annual discussions with VAGO in relation to the likelihood of fraud or error arising from fraudulent reporting or of misappropriation of assets. 

The annual discussion is held during VAGO’s presentation of the closing report on the University’s financial statements to the Audit and Risk Committee or as requested by the Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

5. Responding to Detected Fraud and Corruption Incidents

1. Reporting, assessment and investigation procedures

Section 5.6: Corruption and Fraud of the People, Culture and Integrity Policy and these guidelines set out the required reporting, assessment and investigation procedures for suspected incidents of fraud and corruption.

The Fraud Prevention Coordinator may consult with the Vice-Chancellor, or in the case of conduct concerning the Vice-Chancellor, with the Chancellor, in relation to preliminary assessments to decide how to handle a matter including, if relevant, how to proceed with investigations and the appointment of investigators.

Assessments and investigations can be conducted by an individual or by a team with expertise in HR, legal and risk management matters, as determined to be appropriate by the Fraud Prevention Coordinator. The Chief Financial Officer or the Registrar may also be involved if matters involve financial fraud or students.

The Fraud Prevention Coordinator must report substantiated cases to the Vice-Chancellor and provide to the Vice-Chancellor an annual report summarising all incidents. The Vice-Chancellor must report to Audit and Risk Committee regularly, and as appropriate in respect of any material incidents.

2. Disciplinary procedures

Disciplinary procedures include:

In relation to students, the University’s regulations, policies and procedures for student misconduct
In relation to staff, include the University’s policies and procedures for staff misconduct
In relation to research, applicable University and national research codes of conduct and University policies.
3. External reporting
The Standing Ministerial Directions (the Directions) given pursuant to section 8 of the Financial Management Act 1994 set out the requirements for notifying the Minister for Finance and the Auditor-General of cases of suspected or actual theft, arson, irregularity or fraud in connection with the receipt or disposal of money, stores or other property of any kind whatsoever under the control of a Public Sector Agency.

4. Recovery

The University will seek to recover any money or assets lost and seek criminal or civil restitution when it is in the best interests of the University to do so.
If recovery does not occur, the amount of money or assets lost will be borne by the operating unit where the incident occurred.

5. Fidelity Guarantee Insurance

The University will, as part of the regular review of its insurance cover, review the appropriate level of Fidelity Insurance Cover.

6. Learning from Experience

Management and the Manager, Risk Management should review fraud controls for any areas affected by fraud and consider whether improvements are required.

Where improvements are required those improvements should be implemented as soon as practicable and communicated to other parts of the University if applicable.

7. Procedure for Reporting and Responding to Suspected Fraud or Corruption

ProcedureResponsibility

1

Identifying and reporting corrupt and/or fraudulent behaviour

 

1.1

 

Assess whether the disclosure has been made in accordance with the Protected Disclosure Act and is therefore a protected disclosure.

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

1.2

 

If the matter is assessed to be a protected disclosure, the person making the disclosure should be advised of the provisions of the Protected Disclosure Act and referred to IBAC. If the person chooses to report the matter to IBAC, then IBAC will handle the matter. 
If the elements for a protected disclosure are not satisfied, then the matter should be dealt with under this procedure.

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

1.3

 

If the matter is not a protected disclosure, report the suspected fraudulent and or corrupt behaviour to:

  • Line manager, unit manager, University senior executive, Vice-Chancellor as appropriate, or in the case of conduct concerning the Vice-Chancellor, the Chancellor
  • In accordance with this procedure, to the Swinburne Disclosure Hotline or the Fraud Prevention Coordinator

Person alleging fraudulent or corrupt behaviour

2

When suspected fraudulent and/or corrupt behaviour is reported to line manager

 

2.1 

Inform the Fraud Prevention Coordinator of allegation.

Line manager or recipient of allegation

3

Response to reported incidents

 

3.1

Record allegation on Fraud and Corruption Incident Register.

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

3.2

Conduct or commission a preliminary assessment to determine how the matter is to be handled

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

3.3

Where the preliminary assessment determines that a further investigation under these guidelines is warranted, decide whether that investigation is to be conducted internally or by an external consultant, and then appoint the investigator(s).

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

3.4

Ensure that the principles of natural justice are followed in any investigation. The principles of natural justice concern procedural fairness and ensure a fair decision is reached by an objective decision maker. Maintaining procedural fairness protects the rights of individuals and enhances public confidence in the process.
The University will have regard to the following issues in ensuring procedural fairness:

  • The person who is the subject of the report is entitled to know the allegations made against him or her and must be given the right to respond. (This does not mean the person must be advised of the allegation as soon the disclosure is received or the investigation is commenced)
  • All relevant parties to a matter should be heard and all submissions should be considered
  • A decision should not be made until reasonable inquiries have been made
  • The investigator or any decision maker should not have a personal or direct interest in the matter being investigated
  • All proceedings must be carried out fairly and without bias. Care should be taken to exclude perceived bias from the process
  • The investigator must remain impartial in assessing the credibility of the disclosers and any witnesses. Where appropriate, conclusions as to credibility should be included in the investigation report.

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

3.5

Ensure the person who has made a disclosure is protected, has his or her needs monitored and is provided with appropriate advice and support.

Welfare Manager

3.6

In cases where the allegation of fraud or corruption is substantiated, seek to recover any money/assets lost and seek criminal or civil restitution when it is in the best interests of the University to do so.

Vice-Chancellor

4

Recording and follow-up of instances of fraud and corruption

 

4.1

Record instances of suspected fraud and corruption on Fraud and Corruption Incident Register and include details of investigation and outcomes.

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

4.2

In cases where the allegation of fraud or corruption is substantiated, review fraud controls and consider whether improvements are required.

Manager Risk Management and Head of organisational unit

4.3

Report to Vice-Chancellor.

Fraud Prevention Coordinator

4.4

Report to Audit and Risk Committee.

Vice-Chancellor

4.5

Report externally as appropriate as per the Financial Management Act (Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance 4.3 (d)).

Vice-Chancellor / Chief Financial Officer


Contacts

STOPline

Telephone: 1300 30 45 50 (for Australia)
Mail:  Swinburne University of Technology
c/o The STOPline, 
LOCKED BAG 8
HAWTHORN  VIC  AUSTRALIA 3122
Email:  Swinburne@stopline.com.au
Website: www.Swinburne.stoplinereport.com
Facsimile: Attention Swinburne University of Technology 
c/o The STOPline
61 3 9882 4480

 

IBAC

Telephone: 1300 735 135 (for Australia)
Mail:  GPO Box 24234
MELBOURNE  VIC  AUSTRALIA 3122
Email:  http://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/contact-us
Website: http://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/
Facsimile: 61 3 8635 6444

Complaints to Ombudsman

Complaints about administrative actions and decisions of the University can be made to the Victorian Ombudsman.