This Policy applies to Whistleblower claims made in relation to any operations or services provided by GRSS, activities and decisions of GRSS employees, or other instances of potential malpractice which affects the integrity of GRSS.
GRSS has introduced these procedures to enable individuals to raise or disclose concerns about malpractice within GRSS at an early stage and in the right way, and they apply in all cases where there are genuine concerns, regardless of where this may be and whether the information involved is confidential or not.
Whistleblowing claims may be made by any individual, including those employees of GRSS, users of GRSS technology and services, customers and suppliers to GRSS.
If an individual raises a genuine concern and is acting in good faith, even if it is later discovered that they are mistaken, under this policy they will not suffer any form of retribution as a result. This assurance will not be extended to an individual who maliciously raises a matter they know to be untrue or who is involved in any way in the malpractice.
Procedure for Raising a Concern
If you believe that the actions of anyone (or a group of people) working for GRSS do or could constitute malpractice you should raise the matter through the GRSS confidential online whistleblowing procedure.
The online whistleblowing allows you to include full details and, if possible, supporting evidence. You must state that you are using the Whistleblowing Policy and specify whether you wish your identity to be kept confidential.
Whistleblowing claims should be submitted if there is sufficient indication that an incident has occurred or may occur.
In exceptional circumstances you may raise the matter directly with the CEO of GRSS via phone or email using the following contact information;
21 Broderick Road, Johnsonville,
Wellington, New Zealand
+64 21 355 365
Every effort will be made to keep your identity confidential, at least until any formal investigation is under way. In order not to jeopardise the investigation into the alleged malpractice, you will also be expected to keep the fact that you have raised a concern, the nature of the concern and the identity of those involved confidential.
There may be circumstances in which, because of the nature of the investigation or disclosure, it will be necessary to disclose your identity. This may occur in connection with associated disciplinary or legal investigations or proceedings. If in our view such circumstances exist, we will make efforts to inform you that your identity is likely to be disclosed. If it is necessary for you to participate in an investigation, the fact that you made the original disclosure will, so far as is reasonably practicable, be kept confidential and all reasonable steps will be taken to protect you from any victimisation or detriment as a result of having made a disclosure. It is possible, however, that your role as the whistleblower could still become apparent to third parties during the course of an investigation.
Equally, should an investigation lead to a criminal prosecution, it may become necessary for you to provide evidence or be interviewed by the Police. In these circumstances, again, the implications for confidentiality will be discussed with you.
Anonymous disclosures are very difficult to act upon as there may be little or no corroborated evidence to substantiate the allegations. Proper investigation may prove impossible if the investigator cannot obtain further information from you, give you feed back or ascertain whether your disclosure was made in good faith. GRSS does not encourage anonymous reporting as it feels it is more appropriate for individuals to come forward with their concerns.
Investigations and Management of Whistleblowing
The Head of Compliance within GRSS holds primary responsibility for monitoring the communication channels by which individuals may submit Whistleblowing claims. The Compliance Manager is responsible for escalating all claims to the Compliance Committee as appropriate.
The Compliance Committee is responsible for reviewing, investigating, and developing resolution reports with regard to these Whistleblowing claims. Following the investigatory phase, depending on the nature of the actual or potential breaches, the Compliance Committee may escalate the issue to the GRSS Board of Directors.
Whistleblowing claims received by GRSS should be investigated and resolved in a timely and fair basis by personnel who are independent of any personnel who may be or may have been involved in the subject of the alleged malpractice. The claim will be collected and processed by a person in GRSS specifically appointed by the Head of Compliance to hear whistleblowing claims. This person (“Whistleblowing Manager”) is bound to professional confidentiality when processing the claim, with regard to relevant parties. The Whistleblowing Manager must be able to work with sufficient autonomy with respect to GRSS, where appropriate, and he or she must act by having a precise responsibility and accordingly may be questioned, for example, in case of a breach in his or her obligation of confidentiality with regard to the whistleblower, the incriminated person, or relevant third parties during the processing of the claim.
If the Whistleblowing Manager himself or herself is party to a Whistleblowing claim made by an internal staff member or an external third party, the Whistleblowing Manager will recuse himself or herself and GRSS will appoint a temporary Whistleblowing Manager.
The Whistleblowing Manager will provide prompt acknowledgement of its receipt of a whistleblowing claim to the individual making the disclosure. The Whistleblowing Manager will aim to advise the individual who filed the claim and other relevant person(s) of the outcome of its investigation within 60 days of the receipt of the claim and will retain all records and documentation concerning the claim.
All documents relating to a Whistleblowing claim, including those submitted by the Whistleblowing individual as well as GRSS’ own record of proceedings, will be retained for a minimum of five years.
Any allegations, initial disclosures made under the whistleblowing policy as well as the stages of the investigation, updates, actions, outcomes as well as any external notifications are stored by GRSS in a confidential Whistleblowing register.
The Head of Compliance, the Compliance Committee and the CEO where applicable determine whether or not the integrity of a client or external party is impacted during the investigation process or at the conclusion of the investigation process. If the external party is deemed to be impacted then the Head of Compliance may, subject to privacy, legal and contractual requirements notify the affected parties by an agreed method of disclosure and where applicable also subsequently keep them informed of GRSS actions in relation to the matter.