The National Integrity Framework (NIF) provides a streamlined approach to mitigating threats to sport integrity and is designed to ease the administrative burden on sports.
When a sport adopts the NIF in its entirety, Sport Integrity Australia will manage the independent assessment and referral of complaints, as outlined in the Complaints, Disputes & Discipline Policy. This will reduce the burden on administrators and volunteers and provide athletes and participants with a consistent, fair, and independent dispute resolution process.
One of the key objectives of the NIF and the Complaints, Disputes & Discipline Policy is to have a single framework for all levels of sport. It is expected that National Sporting Organisations will work with their State/Territory bodies to ensure the policy flows down to community level.
A group was established to seek advice from cross-jurisdictional and sport industry stakeholders, including representatives from Sport Australia, the Committee of Australian Sport and Recreation Officials (CASRO), Community Sport Australia, National Sporting Organisations and State Sporting Organisations, and the National Sports Tribunal.
In addition, a survey of key stakeholders (National Sporting Organisations, State Sporting Organisations, and government stakeholders – State and Territory Departments of Sport & Recreation and State sport federations) was conducted to provide input into the Complaints, Disputes & Discipline Policy.
The Member Protection Policy (as provided by Sport Australia) will need to be updated in line with the Sport Integrity Australia NIF policy. Significant changes have been made to address contemporary integrity issues, and align with the introduction of the Sport Integrity Australia and National Sport Tribunal legislation. It will now cover discrimination, harassment, bullying, and abuse only.
Child protection (safeguarding) and complaints, disputes and discipline processes have been removed and stand-alone policies developed. The Child Safeguarding policy aligns with the 10 National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
The Member Protection Information Officer is not referred to in the Complaints, Disputes and Discipline Policy because the Policy only takes effect upon receipt of a formal report, and the Member Protection Information Officer is not responsible for managing complaints.
The Member Protection Information Officer will have no official role in the management of a report and the processes associated with it, as these responsibilities will now be undertaken by Sport Integrity Australia.
It is important to note that, while the role of the Member Protection Information Officer has not been included in the Policy, this does not diminish the significance of the role within a sporting organisation which promotes a safe, welcoming, and inclusive sporting environment and which supports people who have experienced poor behaviour. Play by the Rules, in conjunction with State and Territory Departments of Sport & Recreation, are responsible for Member Protection Information Officer education and training and will be looking at how Member Protection Information Officers can work with the new Complaints, Disputes and Disciplinary Policy.
The Whistleblower Policy is not included in the National Integrity Framework because the policy is only required under the Corporations Act for sporting organisations which are regulated entities, i.e. public companies or public companies limited by guarantee with annual consolidated revenue of $1 million or more. Organisations which are incorporated associations are not subject to the requirement in the Corporations Act to have a Whistleblower Policy.
National Sporting Organisations wanting to adopt the National Integrity Framework and have access to the independent assessment and referral process will be required to follow the relevant adoption procedures outlined in their constitutions.
Eligible complaints under the Complaints, Disputes and Discipline Policy are those that relate to prohibited conduct specified under the National Integrity Framework policies (i.e. Child Safeguarding, Member protection, Competition Manipulation and Sport Wagering Policy, Improper Use of Drugs and Medicine Policy). A complaint can only be actioned under the policy if the alleged conduct took place after the National Sporting Organisation has adopted the National Integrity Framework.
Sporting organisations have a number of options to manage personal grievance matters. These can include via their constitutions, a stand-alone policy dealing with personal grievances between two parties or another relevant policy (such as a selection policy or competition related rules).
The codes of behaviour are a tool for sports to establish a culture that encourages and reinforces good behaviour and encourage all involved in sport to take personal responsibility their behaviour. The template code of behaviours which were included in the 2016 Sport Australia Member Protection Policy included broad value-based statements such as respect the rights, dignity and worth of others and be fair, considerate and honest in all dealing with other.
Codes of behaviour are a valuable tools to create and promote a positive, welcoming and safe environment, however the National Integrity Framework and associated policies have been designed to establish what is prohibited conduct in relation to the integrity related functions of Sport Integrity Australia and provide a mechanism for that behaviour to be addressed.
Note: Sport Integrity Australia is aware that some sports have a stand alone Code of Conduct for employees (including contracted athletes and support personnel). As this is directly related to employment, this sits outside the scope of the National Integrity Framework.
The Sports Engagement team is available to assist you with any queries you may have about the National Integrity Framework and the policies included in it.
Resources and education are being developed to support sporting organisations in implementing the National Integrity Framework, including guidance notes, fact sheets, videos, online learning modules, and webinars.