Employer responsibilities

What does an organisation need to do?

Organisations must have policies and procedures to prevent reportable conduct. They need to have processes to respond to allegations involving their employees.

This includes:

  • educating employees about the scheme
  • notifying the Ombudsman within 30 days of becoming aware of an allegation
  • investigating allegations of reportable conduct and providing a report to the Ombudsman
  • reporting to appropriate organisations such as ACT Policing.

Use this checklist to ensure your organisation meets its requirements.

For more information see the Reportable Conduct Resource Kit. It includes information on how to develop a code of conduct: ACT Ombudsman practice guide No. 10 - Addressing child protection issues in a code of conduct.

How does an organisation notify the Ombudsman?

Organisations must report allegations or convictions that occurred after 1 July 2017 to the Ombudsman.

An organisation should:

  • notify the Ombudsman within 30 days of becoming aware of the allegation by completing the section 
    17G notification form
  • provide details of the allegation or conviction
  • provide the organisation’s intended response, including an investigation plan and risk assessment
  • report to appropriate organisations. These may include ACT Policing, Child Youth Protection Services and Access Canberra (Working with Vulnerable People).

For more information, see the ACT Ombudsman Practice Guide No. 5: Employer responsibilities.

If you have questions call us on 6276 3773 or email act@ombudsman.gov.au.

What happens after notifying the Ombudsman

Organisations should continue their investigation after notifying the Ombudsman about an allegation.

The Ombudsman can ask for progress updates of the investigation and relevant documents or information. In some cases the Ombudsman may attend interviews conducted by, or on behalf of, the organisation. We may share this information with ACT Policing and other key organisations.

Organisation sends the investigation report to the Ombudsman

After completing the investigation, the organisation emails the investigation report to the Ombudsman including the section 17J investigation report cover sheet. For more information see:

Ombudsman assesses the investigation report

The Ombudsman then assesses the investigation report and may ask for further information. See:

Practice Guide No. 9: How the ACT Ombudsman assesses an organisation’s response investigation

Closure

The Ombudsman provides feedback to the organisation and closes the case.

For more information see: The ACT Ombudsman Practice Guide No. 1: How the ACT Ombudsman Responds to Notifications and Reports.

Also see the Reportable conduct flow chart.

How does the ACT Ombudsman support organisations?

The Ombudsman supports organisations to prevent and report on child abuse and misconduct. It also monitors organisations’ responses. The Ombudsman:

  • provides guidance on best practice, including how to conduct fair investigations
  • monitors organisations’ investigations
  • monitors organisation policies and procedures for preventing and responding to child abuse
  • shares information with police and key organisations to better protect children from abuse
  • receives complaints about the handling of allegations and convictions
  • investigates allegations or an organisation’s response to an allegation.

Other reportable conduct obligations

Do religious organisations need to report information heard during confession?

Yes. From the 1 September 2019, religious organisations are required to report to the Ombudsman information heard during confession. Religious organisations must report allegations of reportable conduct made during a religious confession if they relate to child sexual abuse or non-accidental physical injury to a child.

Religious organisations must also nominate a head of entity and tell the ACT Ombudsman.

Should an organisation notify the Ombudsman if ACT policing is already investigating?

Yes. Organisations should notify the Ombudsman as soon as possible, especially when the police are involved. Organisations must tell the Ombudsman within 30 days of becoming aware of an allegation.

Organisations should wait for instruction from ACT Policing before starting their investigation. This includes telling the employee who is the subject of the allegation about the allegation.

Should I report allegations that relate to events prior to 1 July 2017?

If you received allegations after 1 July 2017 you will need to report them. It does not matter if the events occurred prior to this date.

What is the difference between reportable conduct and mandatory reporting?

Reportable conduct covers a wider range of behaviours other than mandatory reporting. This means organisations may need to report to the Ombudsman, but not Child Youth Protection Services. The Ombudsman oversees the organisation’s response to an allegation about its employee. Child Youth Protection Services will consider whether a child is at risk of harm and may take its own action.

If an allegation does not involve an employee or volunteer it is not necessary to report to the Ombudsman. Organisations may still need to report to the Child Youth Protection Service.

For more information see ACT Ombudsman Practice Guide No2: Identifying Reportable Conduct.