What is a complaints and whistleblowing service?

A complaints and whistleblowing service provides an independent avenue for organisational stakeholders to formally lodge any concerns or grievances they have relating to your business.  EWC is designed to take just whistleblower complaints, and / or other complaints normally received and dealt with by Human Resources and / or management (such as inappropriate conduct).  You can choose one or both services.

Having an independent partner to receive and process complaints, means that your;

  • human resource team can get back to business; attracting and retaining staff, coaching, performance improvement strategies, implementing training and hiring and retiring staff, and
  • you and your employees can have the confidence that expert (independent and external) conflict management consultants will be working with your team, and
  • will give you the best opportunity to know about any serious misconduct and rogue behaviour as close to the incident as possible, as staff will have confidence in the process, and
  • we will equip you and your team with the best opportunity to de-escalate complaints.

Issues such as sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, fraud or other misconduct can occur in any type of organisation. A complaints and / or whistleblowing service provides a safe and secure reporting channel to ensure your business is equipped to receive and respond to complaints about rogue behaviour promptly and appropriately.

Where complaints are captured early, in most cases the issue can be managed effectively and early intervention measures can be implemented to effect positive organisational change and reforms. This approach can reduce the likelihood of similar events occurring in the future, while also fostering a more positive workplace environment.  Often complaints escalate as a result of dissatisfaction with the process used to address the concern.  This significantly reduces if not eliminates that risk.

How does a workplace complaints and whistleblowing service work?

Workplace complaints and whistleblowing services work as an independent partner to your business to receive, capture and monitor any complaints made by concerned stakeholders.

Complaints could be lodged by anyone in Australia including employees, volunteers, contractors, customers or anyone who has access to the organisation. They could relate to a wide range of issues including:

  • sexual harassment
  • bullying
  • conflict of interest
  • discrimination
  • fraud
  • inappropriate conduct
  • theft
  • organisational policy or procedure
  • workplace safety and environment
  • corruption
  • other misconduct.

A complaints and whistleblowing service allows the organisation to identify and manage issues promptly and appropriately by following a tried-and-tested process which ensures all relevant information is captured.

The complainant (person complaining) will be asked to provide a detailed account of the incident including times, dates, what happened and who was present, along with any other relevant information or materials. They will also need to provide consent to disclose the complaint / and or their identity to the company.  Anonymous complaints can be received as long as the content of the complaint does not disclose the identity of the complainant.  The company is then notified, allowing them to respond in line with their internal complaint management processes and whistleblower policy.

I’ve received a notification of a complaint received by EWC and I’m not a member – why? And what should I do?

From time to time, EWC receives complaints from the public about companies who haven’t formally engaged EWC to receive their complaints. In these circumstances, out of courtesy we will report this complaint to you, where we have the consent of the complainant (and / or the content of the complaint doesn’t identify the complainant).  We also work with the complainant about what their options are, including; raising it directly with the Company, and / or contacting the Fairwork Ombudsman or the Fairwork Commission, and / or and industrial advocate or lawyer.  If it is serious enough we may refer them to the Police or their local government regulator.  If you receive a complaint from us, you can contact us to discuss how best to progress the matter.  Or, discuss how we can support you moving forward to receive and process future complaints.

Why should my business provide a complaints and whistleblowing service?

When misconduct occurs in the workplace, it is paramount that it is identified, recorded and managed efficiently, effectively and professionally. The mismanagement of misconduct in the workplace can not only be detrimental to the parties involved, but it can also have serious ramifications for your organisation.

In fact, whistleblower legislation includes significant civil and criminal penalties for breaches of whistleblower protections including possible fines of up to $1 million for individuals or $210 million for companies.

Having appropriate complaint handling mechanisms in place will ensure your business provides adequate protection for individuals who disclose sensitive information about cases of serious misconduct, while also providing a platform to identify workplace issues early and implement necessary organisational reform.

A workplace complaints and whistleblower service will provide confidence that any serious issues relating to employees, contractors, clients or families can be caught quickly and managed appropriately.

Operating as a trusted external partner, our service is designed to support your team to manage complaints directly, discreetly and in line with your business values.

Offering a combination of complaints, whistleblower and training services, we can also help your business by:

  • Supporting your HR team to focus on their core functions by removing the pressure of receiving and responding to a range of workplace complaints.
  • Helping you to effectively manage workplace complaints for a fraction of what it would cost if the matter escalates.
  • Preparing reports (where required / on demand) outlining the number and nature of the complaints received and how we supported them to raise the issue with the organisation.
  • Providing information and resources to employees to encourage them to manage complaints directly with your business using the correct channels, de-escalating issues before they develop into something more detrimental to your business.

What are the benefits for my employees or stakeholders?

Being faced with a situation which involves sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination or other form of serious misconduct can be extremely confronting and difficult to deal with both personally and professionally, especially where there may be pre-existing workplace relationships.  Often when a person has worked with an employee they may feel compromised administering a company policy or process.  Even if you aren’t compromised, it may be perceived this way and have an impact on whether the outcome was fair.

By offering an external complaints or whistleblowing service, your employees and stakeholders will feel supported by having confidence that their issue will be taken seriously and handled promptly, fairly and discreetly.

With the assistance of a caring and professional team member, employees or stakeholders will receive appropriate support and guidance to explore their options.

They will be provided any relevant information or brochures and directed to the most appropriate contact point to make the process as smooth and straightforward as possible. They will also have the option to submit their complaint anonymously, however in some cases the circumstances may be such that anonymity is difficult to maintain.

What to look for in a good complaints and whistleblowing service?

Not all workplace complaints and whistleblower services are the same. If you want to ensure your complaints program is worth the investment, make sure it includes the following features:

  • Best-practice complaint handling processes.
  • Skilled and experienced complaint and enquiry-handlers.
  • Services tailored to your internal complaint handling processes.
  • Cost-effective service package options which can be tailored to suit your individual business requirements.
  • Regular service usage reporting.
  • Ability to access services at any time, day or night with multiple service channel options.
  • Secure, locally-hosted database.
  • Experienced and reputable industry-leading brand.

Here’s how we stack up against the criteria:

Best-practice processes

Our carefully refined processes ensure every enquiry and complaint we receive is handled promptly, courteously, professionally and meticulously. We work with you directly, discreetly and aligned with your business values.

At all times you are in control of what is done with the information that is received, what information we provide your employees and how to manage the complaint.

Skilled & experienced enquiry-handlers

Our staff are located in Australia and are trained in complaint handling and workplace conflict management. They are experienced and qualified conflict experts with backgrounds in psychology, law and counselling. Our operations are also overseen by our Principal.

Tailored services including access to training (online and via webinars)

We offer complaints, whistleblower and training services — it’s up to you to decide if you would like to use one or all of our services.

Our complaint handling and escalation processes are also tailored to suit your business. As part of our new client on-boarding process we will review your processes, allowing us to establish a service that will act as an independent extension of your business.

Cost-effective service package options

We charge a one-off account set-up fee and a monthly subscription for services used. In most cases, outsourcing your complaint handling services is a more affordable option than managing it internally.

Depending on the services you need, we can tailor your service package to suit your individual business requirements and budget.

Regular reporting

We provide reports (as agreed or on demand) outlining the number and nature of the complaints received and how we supported the complainant to raise the issue with the organisation.

Service accessibility

Our services can be accessed 24/7 through our website or by email, or by phone during specified hours. This allows stakeholders to make an enquiry or lodge a complaint via their preferred service channel at a time that suits them.

Secure, locally-hosted database

Our Complaint Management System (CMS) database is stored locally in Australia on a secure encrypted server, with data backed up daily and weekly, including off-site backups.

Industry-leading brand

Founded by Emverio Workplace Solutions, we are Australia’s most experienced conflict management business having been dealing with conflicts for over 25 years. We service multiple businesses and industries and our processes are robust, compliant and secure.