The current status of the National Integrity Framework

In 2022, the National Integrity Framework (NIF) was introduced comprising of a suite of integrity-related policies, those being the:

  • National Integrity Framework document;
  • Complaints, Disputes and Discipline Policy (CDDP);
  • Child Safeguarding Policy;
  • Competition Manipulation and Sport Wagering Policy;
  • Improper Use of Drugs and Medicine Policy; and
  • Member Protection Policy.

By the end of 2022, Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) stated on its website that 81 recognised National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) had adopted the NIF.

Most of these NSOs were required to sign up to the NIF as a condition of receiving funding from the Australian Sports Commission.

In any case, the new framework seemingly provided much needed support to many sports short on resources as well as providing consistency in dealing with integrity issues across the sporting landscape. A National Integrity Manager Network was created to train and fund some 20 Integrity Managers to work across over 50 sports.

In early 2023, SIA advised sporting entities that had adopted the NIF that due to the identification of jurisdictional issues regarding its statutory functions, the NIF required immediate change and the sports were, in the first instance, required to formally adopt a revised CDDP. A template board paper and acceptance form were provided by SIA for that purpose.

SIA will no longer be involved in the imposition of provisional action and sanctions in all NIF matters, rather the onus of responsibility for managing the complaint and administering sanctions will be on the sport (except for allegations relating to child safeguarding or discrimination, the management of which will remain under the jurisdiction of SIA).

Certain categories of complaints must still be reported to law enforcement or child protection agencies, as mandated. Examples of these include (but are not limited to) sexual misconduct, supplying alcohol or drugs to a minor, doping, and match fixing.

A further change in the revised CDDP is that a Complainant must now be a person or Organisation directly affected by the alleged Prohibited Conduct.

SIA has provided and published on its website additional resources for matters falling outside SIA’s statutory functions (including guidance for sporting organisations as to appropriate responses and sanctions for different types of complaints).

At this stage, the NIF policies other than the CDDP have been removed from SIA’s website and are in the process of being updated. To our knowledge, no time frame has been given for the renewed policies or the concurrent consultation process referred to by SIA.

For sporting organisations who have adopted the new updated CDDP, their existing NIF policies (such as the Child Safeguarding Policy, Member Protection Policy etc) remain fit for use. This is because these policies refer back to the CDDP, which in turn now sets out whether SIA or the sport will be responsible for managing the complaint and the process to be followed.

Sports who have not adopted the new updated CDDP will currently have a policy suite that is not effective and should either adopt the new CDDP or revert to their previous internal policies existing before the NIF was introduced (which may not be a practical option if their funding remains reliant on adopting the NIF).

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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