Contents

Purpose

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) does not tolerate corrupt or other improper conduct and is committed to the aims and objectives of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (PID Act). The PID Act recognises the value and importance of reporting as a means to identify and address wrongdoing. This policy aims to ensure that Department employees are aware of their obligations under the PID Act, and strongly supports disclosures being made by employees about corrupt or other improper conduct. It also strongly supports contractors and members of the community making disclosures about corrupt and improper conduct.

Scope

This policy applies to all DLGSC staff, and those involved in the public interest disclosure process, including the Director General, Public Interest Disclosure Officers (PID Officers), any person making a public interest disclosure, and any subject(s) of a disclosure.

Policy principles

The PID Act aims to ensure openness and accountability in government by encouraging people to report public interest information without fear of reprisal. It provides a system for matters disclosed to be investigated and for appropriate action to be taken. It also provides protections for people

who make disclosures.

The department's obligations under the PID Act include:

  • Designating PID Officers for the department with responsibility for receiving public interest disclosures;

  • Providing protection from detrimental action or the threat of detrimental action for any DLGSC employee who makes an appropriate disclosure of public interest information;

  • Complying with the PID Act and the code of conduct and integrity established by the Public Sector Commissioner;

  • Preparing and publishing internal procedures relating to the departments obligations under the PID Act that are consistent with the guidelines published by the Public Sector Commission;
  • Reporting annually to the Public Sector Commissioner on the number of disclosures received, the results of any investigations conducted as a result of the disclosures, the action taken (if any) as a result of the investigation, and any other matters as prescribed.
  • The department:
    • does not tolerate any of its employees, contractors or subcontractors taking reprisal action against anyone who makes or proposes to make a public interest disclosure.
    • will take all reasonable steps to protect employees from any detrimental action in
    • reprisal for the making of a public interest disclosure.
    • is committed to effectively manage public interest disclosures extends to a proper authority of the department. The persons responsible for receiving disclosures of public interest information designated under s. 23(1)(a) of the PID Act will abide by the PID Code of conduct and integrity in performing their duties.
    • is also committed to responding to the disclosure thoroughly and impartially and will treat all people in the disclosure process fairly, including those who may be the subject of a disclosure.
    • will provide as much information as possible to people considering making a public interest disclosure. These internal procedures are accessible to all employees and contractors. Copies are available from the designated person appointed as the proper authority (PID Officer) and will be available on the department's intranet (department staff only) and website.

General information about public interest disclosures and how the department will manage a disclosure is available for external clients and members of the community on the department's website.

This policy focuses on public interest disclosures, however the department is committed to dealing with all reports of suspected wrongdoing and encourages people to report any such behaviour. The department will consider each matter under the appropriate reporting procedure and will make every attempt to protect staff members making reports from reprisal.

Definitions

Detrimental action
Includes action causing, comprising, or involving:
  • Injury, damage, or loss;
  • Intimidation or harassment;
  • Adverse discrimination, disadvantage, or adverse treatment in relation to a person's career, profession, employment, trade, or business;
  • A reprisal.
Discloser
Anyone who makes a PID. A person may make a disclosure of public interest information anonymously.
Department employees
Includes all department employees by way of appointment, secondment, casual or fixed term contract or traineeship.
PID officer
The department person(s) designated by the principal executive officer who is responsible for receiving and investigating PIDs.
Proper authority
The person within a public authority who has been designated by the Director General to receive PIDs; this person is commonly referred to as the PID officer. Other proper authorities are described in s. 5 (3)(a-i) of the PID Act.
Public function
Functions performed under the provisions of the public authority's regulatory framework.
Public Interest Disclosure (PID)
An appropriate disclosure from a person that relates to a matter of public interest and tends to show wrongdoing by a public authority, officer or contractor when performing a public function. A person may make an appropriate disclosure of public interest information if, and only if, the person who makes the disclosure believes on reasonable grounds that the information is, or maybe true.
Public interest information
Information that tends to show that, in relation to its performance of a public function (either before or after the commencement of the PID Act), a public authority, a public officer, or a public sector contractor is, has been, or proposes to be, involved in:
  1. Improper conduct;
  2. An act or omission that constitutes an offence under a written law;
  3. A substantial unauthorised or irregular use of, or substantial mismanagement of, public resources.
  4. An act done or omission that involves a substantial and specific risk of:
    1. Injury to public health;
    2. Prejudice to public safety;
    3. Harm to the environment; or
  5. A matter of administration that can be investigated under section 14 of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1971.
Public officer
For the purposes of this policy, a public officer is as per this policy's definition for department employees. For a more comprehensive definition of the term please refer to section 3 of the PID Act.
Public sector contractor
For the purposes of this policy, a public sector contractor is a:
  • Person who is not an employee, contracts with the department to supply goods or services to, or on behalf of the department, or as directed in accordance with their contract.
  • Person who is not an employee, contracts with the department to perform a public function.
  • Sub-contractor or employee of the persons defined above and each person who contracts with another person, for the execution of the whole or part of the requirements of a contract referred to above.

Roles and responsibilities

Director General is accountable for ensuring that the department complies with the PID Act, PID Officers Code of Conduct and Integrity, and the Public Interest Disclosure Procedures. They have prescribed duties under the PID Act as the Principal Executive Officer (PEO) of the department.

Executive Directors, Director and Managers are responsible for ensuring that their respective business areas comply with the department's obligations under the PID Act. If they are aware someone is considering making a public interest disclosure, they must encourage that person to speak to a PID Officer.

PID officer is a designated person appointed as the proper authority for receiving disclosures of public interest information relating to the department's sphere of responsibility, and must carry out their PID Officer duties in accordance with (but not limited to) the PID Act, PID Officers Code of Conduct and Integrity, and the Public Interest Disclosure Procedures.

Department employees are not to take any detrimental action against anyone who makes or proposes to make a PID. The behaviour of all employees involved in the public interest disclosure process must accord with the PID Act, Public Interest Disclosure procedures and the department's Code of Conduct at all times.

Public Sector Commissioner establishes a code setting out minimum standards of conduct and integrity (PID Officers Code of Conduct and Integrity), prepares guidelines to help proper authorities to apply the PID Act, monitors compliance and assists public authorities and public officers to comply with the PID Act and the Code, and reports to Parliament on compliance or noncompliance with the PID Act and the Code.

Breach of policy of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Department's Code of Conduct and may also commit an offence under the PID Act.

Record keeping

During an investigation a PID Officer may make comprehensive and contemporaneous records of any discussions and interviews. These records along with any other documentation or files relating to the disclosure, whether paper or electronic, will be stored securely and only accessed by authorised persons.

Legislation and references

Legislation

Page reviewed 12 October 2020