Corporate watchdog closes investigation into the RACP

Medical politics

By Geir O'Rourke

10 May 2022

Australia’s corporate regulator has dropped its inquiry into allegations the RACP has been in breach of its legal obligations by failing to provide adequate protections to whistleblowers.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) opened an investigation into the college last year amid claims a senior employee had been dismissed after raising concerns internally about bullying within the organisation.

Media reports also alleged the former HR manager had been “paid off” to keep her silence after she sounded the alarm on a “toxic and heavy blame culture” in which scapegoats were used to take the focus away from poor leadership.

Questions were also raised around its handling of board elections, hiring practices and finances.

But in an update last week, the college said it had been informed by ASIC that it had determined to take the probe no further.

“ASIC advised that they had undertaken a thorough investigation in relation to the RACP,” it said.

“[The regulator] have advised the College that their investigation did not reveal sufficient grounds for them to take further regulatory action based on the matters identified in the investigation at this time.

The college acknowledged the investigation had focussed on its compliance with the whistleblower provisions of the Corporations Act 2001, but declined to say what, if anything, had been found.

“The content of the investigation has been kept confidential given the matter concerns whistleblowers and accordingly the college is unable to provide further details,” it said.

“The college is not aware of any other investigation by ASIC into the RACP.”

The RACP has been dogged by internal infighting and accusations of misconduct for close to a decade.

It was investigated by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in 2019 and warned its tax-free status could be revoked unless it addressed concerns about its governance and management.

College CEO Peter McIntyre said it had become stronger as a result.

“Over the past 12 months the ACNC finalised its work, significantly improving the quality of governance within our organisation,” he wrote in the RACP’s 2021 annual report.

“This involved a substantial body of work for staff and volunteers, as we worked our way through a total of 170 recommendations, many of which have made us a more effective institution.”

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