Whistleblowing Policy exemption for small NFPs and charities announced

From 1 January 2020, some entities including companies limited by guarantee will be required to have a whistleblower policy that complies with the new section 1317AI of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced that public companies that are small not-for-profits (NFP) or registered charities with annual revenue of less than $1 million will be exempt from the new requirement.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said the exemption will provide relief to small NFPs or charitable companies who may face a compliance burden that outweighs the benefits a policy might otherwise offer.
Even if organisations are exempt from the Corporations Act requirement to adopt a whistleblower policy:

  • all companies limited by guarantee must still comply with the whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act from 1 July 2019. ASIC Regulatory Guide 270 includes guidance on managing whistleblowing that may be helpful even for entities that are not required to have a policy.
  • it may still be appropriate to adopt a whistleblower policy:
  • for registered charities – as part of their implementation of the ACNC External Conduct Standards in respect of their overseas operations; and
  • for all registered charities and not-for-profit organisations – as part of steps taken to protect vulnerable persons and ensure accountability in their general operations.

How we can help

If your organisation would like advice on how to comply with the new whistleblowing regime, please do not hesitate to contact us.