Fraud & Corrupt Conduct Control

Fraud & Corrupt Conduct Control Policy

Policy Code: FN911

Policy Statement

The University is actively committed to preventing fraud and corrupt conduct throughout the organisation.

Purpose

Fraud and corruption prevention is in the University’s long-term interest. One of the University’s core values is to foster the values of openness, honesty, tolerance, fairness, trust and responsibility in social, moral and academic matters as detailed in the University’s Code of Conduct. The University recognises its prominent role in the wider community and the need for accountability in decision making, particularly in the use of public funds, endowments and bequests.

The purpose of this policy defines fraud and corrupt conduct, lists the responsibilities of staff, and sets out the processes for controlling and reporting fraud and corrupt conduct. It is to protect the University’s assets, interests and reputation through a coordinated approach in dealing with suspected fraud and corruption.

The policy is to be read in conjunction with the Fraud & Corrupt Conduct Control Procedure. This procedure enables staff to identify areas of risk and actual instances of fraud and corruption as well as setting out the processes to be followed when suspected acts of fraud and corruption are identified.

Scope

This policy applies to all staff and Council members of the University and to all activities under the control of the University.

Definitions

Term Definition
Corrupt Conduct: Includes improper use of influence or position and/or improper use of information or other improper omissions of a similar nature.
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer: Is the University officer nominated as such under the Financial Management Act, 1994
Empowered Officer: Is the University officer responsible for coordinating the investigation of allegations of fraud and corrupt conduct. The Empowered Officer will be the Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer of the University. If an allegation of fraud or corrupt conduct is against Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer the Empowered Officer will be the Vice-Chancellor
Theft: Is the dishonest appropriation of the University’s property or funds with intent to deprive the University of it

Federation University Values in Response to Fraud

Responsiveness – Federation University employees should demonstrate responsiveness by: (i) providing frank, impartial and timely advice to the board and senior team; and (ii) providing high quality services; and (iii) identifying and promoting best practice.

Integrity – Federation University employees should demonstrate integrity by: (i) being honest, open and transparent in their dealings; and (ii) using powers responsibly; and (iii) reporting corrupt conduct; and (iv) avoiding any real or apparent conflicts of interest; and (v) striving to earn and sustain public trust of a high level

Impartiality – Federation University employees should demonstrate impartiality by: (i) making decisions and providing advice on merit and without bias, caprice, favouritism or self-interest; and (iii) implementing Federation University policies.

Accountability – Federation University employees should demonstrate accountability by: (i) working to clear objectives in a transparent manner; and (ii) accepting responsibility for their decisions and actions; and (iii) seeking to achieve best use of resources; and (iv) submitting themselves to appropriate scrutiny.

Respect – Federation University employees should demonstrate respect for colleagues, students and the local, national and international communities by: (i) treating them fairly and objectively; and (ii) ensuring freedom from discrimination, harassment and bullying; and (iii) using their views to improve outcomes on an ongoing basis.

Leadership – Federation University employees should demonstrate leadership by actively implementing, promoting and supporting these values.

Code of Conduct

Staff Code of Conduct Policy - The Staff Code of Conduct Policy prescribes the behaviour expected of Federation University employees. Federation University employees are required to familiarise themselves and act in accordance with the Staff Code of Conduct Policy.

Contractors and Consultants – Federation University employees are to require contractors or consultants engaged in or by Federation University (including contractors or consultants engaged through an employment agency) to comply with the Staff Code of Conduct Policy and relevant policies and procedures, where the contractors or consultants:

  • Supervise Federation University employees;
  • Undertake work that is of a similar nature to the work undertaken by Federation University employees at a premise or location generally regarded as a Federation University workplace; or
  • Use or have access to Federation University resources or information that is not normally accessible or available to the public.

Other Available Guidance – In addition to conduct prescribed in this Policy, there may be specific issues which are covered by other legislation, an industrial agreement or award, or a policy or procedure set down by the Federation University employer, or by some other relevant authority. Federation University employees who are unsure of the appropriate action to take in a particular situation should seek advice from their manager or the Empowered Officer.

Professional Codes of Conduct – Certain professions have codes of conduct that establish specific behaviours relevant to that profession. The Staff Code of Conduct Policy specifies the behaviour expected of individuals as Federation University employees and should be read in conjunction with any professional code of conduct. Relevant employees need to be aware of their professional code of conduct as well as the provisions of this Policy.

Professional codes set out a range of matters relating to the profession including dealing with breaches of the professional code. A breach of a professional code may affect the capacity of a relevant employee to continue to act in that profession and may also affect the ability of that employee to undertake their duties as a Federation University employee. However a breach of a Federation University Policy and any sanctions arising will be determined in accordance with policies and procedures established for Federation University.

Demonstrating Responsiveness

  1. Services to the Community - Federation University employees provide services to the community in an equitable, prompt and professional manner. They act within the level of their authority and in accordance with the relevant policies.
  2. Contributing to Improvements – Federation University employees are committed to continuous improvement and adopt a best practice approach to the performance of their work. They identify and actively promote appropriate strategies, methods and processes that lead to improved performance.

Demonstrating Integrity

  1. Honesty at Work - Federation University employees act honestly in the performance of their duties. They are open and transparent when making decisions. They give honest advice based on available facts and data. They ensure their advice is up to date.
  2. Using Powers at Work – Federation University Employees use their power in a responsible way. They do not use their power to provide a private benefit to themselves, their family, friends or associates. They exercise power in a way that is fair and reasonable, and family or other personal relationships do not improperly influence their decisions. They respect the rights and dignity of those affected by their decisions and actions.
  3. Financial Probity - Federation University employees observe the highest standards of integrity in financial matters and comply with the requirements of relevant financial management, policies and procedures. They maintain a strict separation between work-related and personal financial matters and only use or authorise the use of public financial resources or facilities for work-related purposes.
  4. Official Information - Federation University employees with access to official information ensure it is only used for official purposes and in an approved manner. Official and personal information is handled according to relevant policies and procedures. Federation University employees only disclose official information or documents acquired in the course of their employment when required to do so by law, in the legitimate course of duty, when called to give evidence in court, or when proper authority has been given. In such cases comments are confined to factual information only.
  5. Public Comment - Federation University employees only make public comment in their capacity as employees when specifically authorised to do so in relation to their duties. Public comment includes speaking engagements and providing information or comment through any media, including social media.
  6. Reporting Unethical Behaviour - Federation University employees comply with legislation, policies and lawful instructions in the performance of their work. Federation University employees report to an appropriate authority workplace behaviour that violates any law, rule or regulation, or represents corrupt conduct, mismanagement of public resources, or is a danger to public health or safety, or to the environment. Federation University informs its employees of their rights and responsibilities regarding the making of such reports.
  7. Conflict of Interest - A conflict of interest occurs where there is conflict between the public duty and private interests of a Federation University Employee. A conflict can be actual, potential or perceived. It may relate to circumstances where the employee is or could be directly influenced, or where it is perceived the employee might be influenced. Federation University employees avoid conflicts of interest (actual, potential or perceived) wherever possible. They ensure their personal or financial interests (including the interests of family members, friends, or associates) do not influence and could not be perceived to influence the performance of their role. Federation University employees declare any conflicts of interest. They manage any conflicts of interest that cannot be avoided in accordance with relevant policies and procedures. If unsure about a possible conflict of interest, Federation University employees seek advice from their manager.
  8. Other Employment - Federation University employees can only engage in other employment where the activity does not conflict with their role as a Federation University employee. Employment includes a second job, conducting a business, trade or profession, or active involvement with other organisations. Managers or supervisors can assist Federation University employees to determine if such activities will cause an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Federation University employees are required to seek approval to engage in any other paid employment.
  9. Public Trust - Federation University employees seek to build and maintain a high level of trust with the Government, community and other Federation University employees. In the performance of their duties and in their private life, Federation University employees avoid conduct that may adversely affect Federation University.
  10. Criminal Offences - Federation University employees advise their manager if they are charged with a criminal offence, which is punishable by imprisonment or, if found guilty, could reasonably be seen to affect their ability to meet the inherent requirements of the work they are engaged to perform.
  11. Drugs and Alcohol - Federation University employees carry out their work safely and avoid conduct that puts themselves or others at risk. This includes the misuse of alcohol, drugs or other substances when at work or when engaged in work related activities. The misuse of alcohol, prescribed drugs, illegal drugs and other substances is an issue for both employers and employees as it impacts on both work and personal life and in some cases the reputation of the University. Consistent with any relevant occupational health and safety requirements, Federation University employees who are on medication that could affect their work performance or the safety of themselves or others inform their manager or supervisor to ensure any necessary precautions or adjustments to work can be put in place.

Demonstrating Impartiality

  1. Decisions and Advice - Federation University employees make decisions and provide advice that is free of prejudice or favouritism and is based on sound judgement. Before making a decision or providing advice, Federation University employees consider relevant information and the impact on the University, community and other Federation University employees. Their decisions are not affected by personal influences.
  2. Gifts and Benefits – Federation University employees do not – for themselves or others – seek gifts and benefits (including hospitality). They refuse all offers of gifts and benefits that could reasonably be perceived as influencing them or undermining the integrity of the University or themselves. Federation University employees comply with policies and procedures in relation to accepting, declaring and recording the receipt of gifts or benefits. If unsure about responding to an offer of a gift or benefit, Federation University employees seek advice from their manager.
  3. Acting Fairly – Federation University employees deal with issues consistently, fairly and in a timely manner. Federation University employees use fair criteria, and consider all relevant information in dealing with issues. Being fair means being just and working within commonly accepted rules.
  4. Implementing Policies and Programs - Federation University employees implement policies and programs fairly and without bias. Their decisions and actions are consistent with relevant policies and are based on merit and careful consideration of the relevant facts. Federation University employees seek to achieve equitable outcomes within the extent of their authority.

Demonstrating Accountability

  1. Working to Clear Objectives - Federation University employees understand the objectives of their role. Federation University managers and supervisors provide encouragement, support and a clear sense of direction and purpose. Employees who are unclear about their goals discuss this with their manager or supervisor.
  2. Being Responsible for Decisions and Actions - Federation University employees make decisions and take actions within the scope of their authority that are lawful and consistent with relevant policies and procedures. They consider any impact of their decisions or actions on the University, community and other Federation University employees.
  3. Work Resources - Federation University employees use work resources and equipment efficiently and only for appropriate purposes as authorised by the employer. Federation University employees seek to achieve value for money and use resources in the most effective way possible. They identify opportunities for improvement to achieve best possible efficiency and responsiveness. Work resources include physical, financial, technological and intellectual property. Intellectual property includes copyright, trademarks, registered designs, patents (including patented business systems), semiconductors, circuit layout rights, and trade, business or company names, and all other proprietary rights, and any rights to the registration of such rights, including proprietary rights developed or created by employees in the course of their employment. The employer retains ownership of all these work resources.
  4. Open to Scrutiny - Federation University employees implement policy in an open and transparent manner. They maintain accurate and reliable records as required by relevant policies and procedures. Records are kept in such a way as to ensure their security and reliability and are made available to appropriate scrutiny when required.
  5. Ability to Meet Essential Requirements - Federation University employees notify their employer of any loss, suspension of, or change to, a registration, accreditation, licence or other qualification that affects their ability to meet relevant essential requirements or to perform their duties.
  6. Compliance with Legislation - Federation University employees ensure they are aware of and comply with all legislation relevant to the performance of their duties.

Demonstrating Respect

  1. Fair and Objective Treatment - Federation University employees promote an environment that encourages respect. Federation University employees are fair, objective and courteous in their dealings with the Government, community and other Federation University employees.
  2. Privacy and Confidentiality – Federation University employees understand the importance of privacy and confidentiality. Confidential information requires special treatment and protection. Those people who provide confidential information to Federation University employees have the right to expect this information will be treated as confidential. Federation University employees with access to confidential information ensure it remains confidential, and at all times act in accordance with legislation and policies relating to dealing with private information.
  3. Maintaining Confidentiality – Federation University employees receive and manage information in such a manner that its confidentiality will be maintained and that it will not be used to advantage a prospective employer or business, or disadvantage the University.
  4. Equity and Diversity – Federation University employees follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law relating to discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation. Federation University employees create an environment that is free of discrimination, harassment and bullying. Valuing and promoting diversity is an important element of demonstrating respect.
  5. Improving Outcomes – Federation University employees are conscientious and efficient in their work. They use their knowledge and expertise to deliver a high quality service, as well as identifying opportunities to improve service outcomes. Federation University employees contribute both individually and as part of a team and engage constructively with their colleagues on work related matters. They share information with team members to support delivery of the best and most appropriate service outcomes.

Demonstrating Leadership

  1. Leading by Example - Federation University employee’s model the behaviours based on Federation University values and at all times act in an ethical manner. Leadership is about positive influence, inspiring and empowering others. Providing sound advice, delivering high quality services and encouraging best practice demonstrates responsiveness. Being honest, using powers correctly, identifying and dealing with inappropriate conduct, avoiding conflicts of interest and developing and maintaining public trust demonstrates integrity. Making decisions that are free of bias, considering all relevant facts and ensuring policies and procedures are implemented fairly demonstrates impartiality. Being transparent, responsible, using resources efficiently and inviting scrutiny demonstrates accountability. Treating others fairly, eliminating discrimination, harassment and bullying, and focusing on improving outcomes demonstrates respect.
  2. Managing Staff – Federation University managers and supervisors apply the Federation University employment principles. They provide a safe, encouraging and supportive work environment that recognises and values diversity, abilities and contributions. They give their employees a clear sense of direction and purpose. They set realistic goals, timelines and workloads, and provide adequate resources and appropriate information to complete work. They trust their employees to manage their work autonomously but also provide them with support when needed. They address any performance issues promptly, directly and confidentially with the employee concerned. They treat their employees fairly and consistently when making selection decisions and allocating work. They assess performance and provide constructive feedback and development opportunities. They consult genuinely with their employees, and adhere to industrial and legal obligations. They understand and respond to legitimate concerns of their employees, and encourage work arrangements that enable their employees to achieve a work-life balance.
  3. Supporting Others - Federation University employees work co-operatively with their colleagues and other Federation University body employees. They support and learn from them and accept differences in personal style. They respect, and seek when necessary, the professional opinions of colleagues in their area of competence, and acknowledge their contribution. Federation University employees, managers and supervisors provide other Federation University employees with support and guidance.

Examples of some Activities That Constitute Fraud/Corrupt Conduct in Relation to the Above Include:

Leading by Example

  • Taking inducements, including donations or sponsorships, to mark a student’s assessment more favourably or award a contract for the provision of goods or services;
  • Misuse of one’s position to gain an unfair or unjust advantage;
  • Operation of a private business using University facilities and time;
  • Misuse or abuse of telephone, fax, computers, and other equipment to run a private business, whether for profit or not-for-profit;
  • Misuse of petty cash;
  • Misuse of a University Issued purchasing card;
  • Inappropriate disposal of University assets in contravention of the University’s Asset, Attractive Items & Inventory Management policy;
  • Theft of University revenue in the form of cash, cheques, money order or other negotiable instrument;
  • Unauthorised removal of equipment, parts, software, and office supplies from University premises;
  • Submission of sham taxation arrangements for an employee or contractor to circumvent the University’s procedures for engaging employees and contractors;
  • Submission of fraudulent purchase orders;
  • Submission of fraudulent applications for reimbursement;
  • Submission of exaggerated or wholly fictitious accident, harassment or injury claims;
  • Payment of fictitious employees or suppliers through the University’s payroll or finance systems;
  • Misuse of personal or carer's leave;
  • Using University paid travel, ostensibly for business, but, in fact, where the principal purpose is private;
  • Falsification of time records; and
  • Deliberate damage, destruction or falsification of documents.

Responsibility

All Employees

All employees must be committed to preventing and deterring, fraud and corrupt conduct throughout the University.

Reports of incidents of fraud and corrupt conduct can arise from within the University and also external to the University. Disclosures under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 must be dealt with according to the the University’s Protected Disclosures Procedure.

Public Complaints and External Organisations or Persons

An Independent Party or person that suspects an Officer/staff member of the University has engaged in fraud or corruption in the process of conducting business should write to the Empowered Officer outlining their concerns.

Senior Management

Senior Management have a leading role in creating an honest, ethical and professional workplace and are expected to display appropriate attitudes towards compliance with the University's legislation and policies. A key component of this is to ensure staff receive training about the University's policies and procedures relevant to their work. Senior Management need to ensure that they are aware of indicators/symptoms of fraud and corruption, and other wrongful acts and respond appropriately. Matters or concerns raised at this level need to be discussed with the Empowered Officer who would take advice from HR or elsewhere as needed before any form of action is taken.

University Executive

The University executive has a responsibility for ensuring the University maintains its standing within the broader community by providing a management framework which aims to prevent the occurrence of fraud and corruption. Where acts or situations are detected, the Executive needs to ensure investigations are conducted in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness.

Investigations

When confronted with an allegation a member of staff must act quickly. Failure to do so could invalidate the result, waste time and increase the expense of the investigation. The longer it takes to investigate an allegation, the more likely it is that memories fade, and evidence is lost.

All members of staff who are involved in or become aware of a fraud, theft or corrupt conduct investigation must keep the details and results of the investigation confidential. However, the Empowered Officer and the police may request information and discuss the investigation with any person if such discussion would further the investigation.

In particular, no suspicion of or proven case of fraud, theft or corrupt conduct is to be discussed with or reported to the media except with the approval of the Vice Chancellor.

Legislative Context

Under the Federation University Australia Act 2010 (Vic), the Council of the University must do all things necessary to do each of the following:

  • Ensure that all money payable to the University is properly collected;
  • Ensure that all money expended by the University is properly expended and properly authorised;
  • Ensure that adequate control is maintained over assets secured by, or in the custody of the University.
  • Ensure that all liabilities incurred by the University are properly authorized;
  • Ensure efficiency and economy of operations and avoidance of waste and extravagance;
  • Develop and maintain an adequate budgeting and accounting system;
  • Develop and maintain an adequate internal audit system.

Under Part 10.1.1 of the Financial Management Act 1994:

In circumstances where shortages and surpluses of money, stores and property may occur, an appropriate level of control is necessary to ensure probity, safeguard money, stores and property and maintain accurate and consistent accounting records. This requires the establishment of relevant reporting, investigation and accounting procedures.

Responsibilities

  • The Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer has responsibility for the maintenance of this policy.

Promulgation

This Policy will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  • An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the Policy Central Portal to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure
  • Notification to Council

Implementation

This Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

  • An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the Policy Central Portal to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure
  • Policy/Procedure Training Sessions
  • Staff Induction Sessions