Public Interest Disclosures
What is a Public Interest Disclosure?
A Public Interest Disclosure is a complaint of corrupt or improper conduct by a public officer or body.
What is the Public Interest Disclosures Act?
The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (the Act) enables people to make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector without fear of reprisal. The Act aims to ensure openness and accountability by encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do.
The key objectives of the Act are to:
- Encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies
- Provide protection for persons who make those disclosures
- Provide protection for persons who may suffer reprisals in relation to this disclosures
- Provide for the matters disclosed to be properly investigated and dealt with.
How does Council treat Public Interest Disclosures?
Council does not tolerate corrupt or improper conduct by its employees, officers or members, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclosure such conduct.
Employees and members of the public are encouraged to report known or suspected incidences of corrupt or improper conduct.
Council will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make disclosures without the fear of reprisal. Council will also afford natural justice to the person who is the subject of the disclosure.
How does Council protect persons making a Public Interest Disclosure?
All correspondence, phone calls and emails from persons making disclosures are referred to the Protected Disclosure Coordinator.
The Protected Disclosure Coordinator will take all necessary steps to ensure that the identity of the person making a protected disclosure and the person who is subject of the disclosure are kept confidential. Where necessary, the Protected Disclosure Coordinator will arrange for appropriate welfare support for the person making a protected disclosure.
What if I want to make a Public Interest Disclosure?
Public Interest Disclosures may be made by employees or by members of the public.
Part 2 of the Act provides that a person may make a disclosure:
- In writing
- Electronically or
Public Interest Disclosures may relate to corrupt or improper conduct by:
- The organisation
- Employees of Council
Council can only address disclosures that relate to Bass Coast Shire Council. Public Interest Disclosures about Councillors must be addressed by IBAC.
What should I include in a disclosure?
When making a disclosure it is important for the person to state that it is their intention to lodge a Public Interest Disclosure.
Disclosers should also provide the following information:
- What is the alleged improper conduct?
- What are the grounds for believing that the conduct occurred?
- Copies of any supporting documentation
Who do I contact?
Disclosures should be made to the Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator, marked Confidential:
Robyn Borley, Manager Governance and Property
Bass Coast Shire Council
PO Box 118
WONTHAGGI VIC 3995
Phone: (03) 5671 2211
or alternatively (in Robyn's absence) to the Deputy Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator (marked 'Confidential')
All disclosures about Councillors should be directed to IBAC.
Disclosures may also be made to:
Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC)
GPO Box 24234
Melbourne Victoria 3000
1300 735 135
Level 1, North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9613 6222
PO Box 617 Collins Street West
MELBOURNE VIC 8007
(03) 8614 3225
Chief Commissioner of Police
Victoria Police Centre
GPO Box 913
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
(03) 9247 6666
What happens next?
Once it is determined that the complaint is a Public Interest Disclosure, Council will investigate the matter. The person making the complaint will be kept informed of action taken in relation to his or her disclosure, and the time frames that apply.
For further information and guidance on the new legislation or any other matters, please refer to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission Interim Guidelines.