Care & Concern

Bringing your concerns to IAATO | A guide for current or previous staff on IAATO expeditions


It can be daunting, raising your head above the parapet to highlight concerns or report wrongdoing to your employer, a hundred thoughts run through your mind; "what if I'm wrong?", "am I making a fuss out of nothing?" or "what will happen to me?" – all very valid concerns, but ones we at IAATO hope to allay with this short document.

Put simply, we all have a responsibility to report perceived wrongdoing and, as a membership body dedicated to advocating and promoting the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic, IAATO is committed to supporting those who come forward with concerns regarding suspected violations of law or regulatory breaches by IAATO members.

This simple policy is to support Field staff (whether employed by an IAATO operator or not); who believe they may have witnessed a violation of IAATO policy, or behaviours not in keeping with IAATO's values.

You can raise your concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is still happening, or you reasonably believe is going to occur in the future. You must of course be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation of International Law governing Antarctic operations; or of IAATO policy.

Of course, you can also raise concerns with your employer through your own company's whistleblower policy. This is how most issues would be resolved in the first instance.

Whichever route you choose to take, we have a duty to maintain the highest standards when it comes to responsible tourism, and by reporting your concerns you are supporting that commitment.
Thank you.

The IAATO Secretariat

Please note, this document is not a whistleblower policy, and those directly employed by IAATO who wish to raise concerns should refer The IAATO Whistleblower Policy document.

Who should I tell?

If you are a member of field staff, if appropriate, you should attempt to tell your supervisor, the head of your company or head of HR in the first instance.

However, you don't have to report your concerns to your supervisor, and you may have a reason for not wishing to disclose your concerns "in house." Don't worry, there are other options too, such as taking legal advice from a lawyer or reporting a suspected violation of law to a public body or by emailing careandconcern using the subject heading Care and Concern.

What Should I Expect?

Whoever you are, we will endeavour to promptly investigate your concerns. However, if you choose to bring your concerns to IAATO anonymously, we may not be able to take your concern further if you are unable to provide all the information we need to do so.

You can give your name to us and request confidentiality; we will investigate your concerns in a manner intended to protect your identity. You must say straight away if you do not want anyone else to know it was you who raised the concern.

It is important to note that reports made exclusively to the media are not protected.

What happens next?

If you report a suspected violation we will listen carefully to your concerns before making a decision about whether and what action should be taken. We may also ask you for further information or supporting evidence such as photos or video imagery, if available.IAATO's Executive Director or the Executive Director's designee will manage the investigation into a report of a suspected violation of law or policy, and may request the assistance of legal counsel or other outside parties as he or she deems necessary. You won't have a say in how your concern is dealt with, but we can keep you informed about the action we have taken and, of course, are happy to answer any appropriate questions.

It is important to note that if we also have to keep the confidence of others involved in the allegation, we may not be able to go into detail with you about the investigation. The Executive Director or the Executive Director's designee will prepare a report of the findings of the investigation, and submit such report to the IAATO Executive Committee.

If you believe you have been subjected to any form of retaliation as a result of reporting a suspected violation of law or policy, you should immediately report such incident to your supervisor, the head of the company or head of HR.

If you have any questions before making a report, please do not hesitate to contact IAATO for advice by emailing careandconcern.