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Fraud and Corruption Control Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy specifies the University’s commitment, approach, and standards of behaviour relating to the prevention, detection, and response to fraud and corruption. This Policy supports the University’s culture of integrity and ethical decision-making.

Background

(2) The University provides a broad range of services to stakeholders and consequently is potentially exposed to fraud and corruption risks.  

(3) The University requires all staff and affiliates to act with integrity and to safeguard the public resources for which they are responsible.

(4) The University has an obligation to report suspected corruption, whether or not it involves University staff or affiliates, to the Police or to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).  

(5) Allegations of fraud or corruption committed against the University will be investigated and treated with the utmost seriousness and may involve disciplinary procedures.

Scope

(6) This Policy applies to the University and its controlled entities (the MQ Group), including:

  1. employees of the University including students when employed by the MQ Group;
  2. individuals conducting research under the auspices of the University including but not limited to staff and affiliates, students, visiting academics, and conjoint appointees;
  3. members of University Governing Bodies and Committees;
  4. Emeritus, Honorary, Visiting, Adjunct, Conjoint, and Clinical title holders; and
  5. individuals otherwise engaged in the service of the University. This includes but is not limited to:
    1. consultants;
    2. individual contractors working for the University;
    3. employees of contractors providing services to the University; and
    4. other people who perform public official functions as representatives of the University whose conduct and activities could be investigated by an investigating authority, including volunteers.

(7) All individuals listed in clause 6 are collectively referred to within this Policy and any accompanying documents as staff and affiliates.

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Section 2 - Policy

University Commitment to Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Control

(8) The University will adopt a University-wide fraud and corruption control framework that is consistent with the Australian Standard on Fraud and Corruption Control AS8001 to:

  1. implement internal controls that prevent, detect, and respond to fraud and corruption;
  2. assess its fraud and corruption risks at least every two years;
  3. ensure all staff and affiliates, including contractors, are aware of relevant fraud and corruption risks and are trained to understand the University’s values, codes, policies, and expectations of behaviour;
  4. report annually to the Audit and Risk Committee on the status of the fraud and corruption control framework;
  5. treat all complaints about, and instances of, fraud and corruption seriously; 
  6. cooperate with all relevant investigative and regulatory bodies and take fair, proportionate disciplinary action against any employee or third party found to have engaged in fraud or corruption; and
  7. wherever practical, align with better practice advice issued by organisations such as the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, the NSW Ombudsman and Audit Office of NSW.

(9) Fraud and corruption prevention and control is the responsibility of all staff and affiliates, who are expected to report any suspected corrupt conduct, including fraud.

(10) All staff and affiliates are expected to perform their duties with efficiency, fairness, impartiality, honesty, and integrity, and adhere to University regulations, rules, policies and procedures including the Staff Code of Conduct, and  the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

(11) The University will not tolerate:  

  1. corrupt conduct by any staff and affiliates;   
  2. use of research grants and philanthropic funds in contravention of their intended purpose, terms and conditions or contrary to expected behaviours as set out in the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research; or,
  3. corrupt or fraudulent conduct on the part of other parties or stakeholders that staff and affiliates engage with, including students, research partners, suppliers, contractors, and donors.

Possible Areas of Potential Fraud and Corruption

(12) Fraud and corruption can potentially occur in different areas of the University. Some examples of conduct which could constitute fraud, corrupt conduct, maladministration, or serious and substantial waste of public money are included below. This is not an exhaustive list and examples are not mutually exclusive to a particular area.

Area
Example
Misuse of University assets
Use of University funds or resources for personal use
Unauthorised sale of University assets for personal gain
Travel
Luxurious, indulgent, or excessive expenditure
Inflated and/or faked expense claims
IT assets and security
Misappropriation, or the unauthorised or unlawful destruction of data
Unauthorised or unlawful alteration of data
Sharing of usernames and passwords
Accepting bribes for admission of students or creating fraudulent transcripts for students
Regulatory compliance
Providing false or misleading information
Failing to provide information where there is a legal obligation to do so
Personnel records / confidential information / privacy
Use or disclosure of personal information for an improper purpose
Unauthorised or unlawful alteration of personal information
Salaries, wages, allowances
Payments to phantom employees
Payment to an employee for tasks not performed
Payment to an employee for skills they do not have
Contract management
Accepting bribes and/or kickbacks from suppliers
Negligent or deliberate mis-management of contracts that may include non-compliance with contract schedules or rates, misrepresentation of dates, description of services or identifies of contract providers
Incorrect charging for labour and material, misuse of assets or product substitution (substituting a product for one of lesser quality)
Non-compliance with the Contract Management Policy
Tendering
Failure to comply with tender procedures
Manipulating a tender process to achieve a desired outcome
Unauthorised or improper release of pricing or other tendering information
Accepting or conferring gifts and benefits contrary to the University’s Gifts and Benefits Policy and Gifts and Benefits Reporting Procedure
Non-compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy
Cheques, credit cards, EFTPOS
Making or using forged or falsified documents or signatures
Non-compliance with the Credit Card Policy
Purchases and accounts payable
Failure to comply with tender procedures
Entering into a commercial transaction where there is a conflict of interest (without complying with the Conflict of Interest Policy)
Invoice and purchase order splitting to circumvent procedures or delegation levels
False documentation in support of invoices
Creation and payments made to ghost suppliers
Non-compliance with the Procurement Policy
Conflicts of interest
Failing to disclose an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest contrary to the Conflict of Interest Policy
Failing to actively manage a disclosed conflict of interest
Allowing a conflict of interest to undermine your independence
Receiving a personal benefit for assisting a person or entity to gain work or business at the University
Appointing a person to a position due to personal relationships or motives other than merit
Failure to comply with the Outside Work Policy 
Academic / research
Plagiarism or breach of intellectual property
Misapplying government grant monies
Accepting bribes for admission of students or creating fraudulent transcripts for students

Prevention

(13) All staff and affiliates have a responsibility to proactively understand their responsibilities concerning fraud and corruption control. This includes complying with the provisions of this Policy, raising concerns where corrupt or fraudulent conduct is suspected, and reporting areas for improvement where identified.

(14) The University undertakes fraud and corruption prevention strategies to identify and remove or minimise contributing factors and covers areas including leadership, codes of behaviour conduct, responsibility structures, training and awareness, governance, and preventative internal controls.

Detection

(15) The University undertakes fraud and corruption detection activities that recognise in a timely manner, whether fraud and corruption has occurred or is occurring. The activities include monitoring and reviews, routine checks, system detection, approval processes, third party management systems, and audits.

Response

(16) The University undertakes activities when fraud and corruption is detected or reported. These activities include notification and reporting systems, investigation systems, and changes to processes and systems.

(17) If staff or affiliates become aware of or reasonably suspect fraudulent or corrupt behaviour, they should immediately report such activity. Initial concerns should be raised with their manager/supervisor. Any such concerns will be treated in confidence (subject to the requirements of procedural fairness) and investigated as appropriate.

(18) If you do not consider it appropriate to disclose an allegation of suspected corrupt conduct to your manager / supervisor, you should make disclosure to one of the following:

  1. Executive Dean;
  2. Head of Office;
  3. Protected Disclosures Coordinator;
  4. Deputy Vice-Chancellor;
  5. Chief Risk Officer;
  6. Vice-President, Finance and Resources; or
  7. Vice-Chancellor.

(19) The Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 offers protection for public officials who make disclosures concerning corrupt conduct, maladministration, or serious or substantial waste of public money. For additional information on reporting and protections, refer to the Reporting Wrongdoing - Public Interest Disclosures Policy.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(20) Refer to the various University procedures for identifying and reporting potential or actual fraudulent or corrupt conduct by any staff and affiliates as described in the policies and procedures that are included in the section on Associated Information and Documents.   

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(21) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(22) Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purposes of this Policy.

  1. Corruption means
    1. dishonest activity in which a director, executive, manager, employee or contractor of an entity acts contrary to the interests of the entity and abuses his / her position of trust in order to achieve some personal gain or advantage for him or herself or for another person or entity. The concept of 'corruption' can also involve corrupt conduct by the entity, or a person purporting to act on behalf of and in the interests of the entity, in order to secure some form of improper advantage for the entity either directly or indirectly. (Australian Standard on Fraud and Corruption Control AS8001-2008); and
    2. the dishonest or partial exercise of official functions by staff and affiliates. For example, this could include: the improper use of knowledge, power or position for personal gain or the advantage of others, or acting dishonestly or unfairly, or breaching public trust. (Reporting Wrongdoing - Public Interest Disclosures Policy)
  2. Fraud is a subset of corruption and means
    1. dishonest activity causing actual or potential financial loss to any person or entity including theft of moneys or other property by employees or persons external to the entity and whether or not deception is used at the time, immediately before or immediately following the activity. This also includes the deliberate falsification, concealment, destruction or use of falsified documentation used or intended for use for a normal business purpose or the improper use of information or position for personal financial benefit. (Australian Standard on Fraud and Corruption Control AS8001-2008)