Public Interest Disclosures
The Victorian Public Interest Disclosure scheme operates under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (Act) (previously the Protected 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.
What is a Public Interest Disclosure?
A Public Interest Disclosure is a complaint of improper conduct by a public officer or body, which includes Councillors and Council staff.
Improper conduct includes corrupt conduct and other conduct that may be considered dishonest or a substantial departure from what would be expected of a public officer or body.
How Council treats Public Interest Disclosures
Council does not tolerate improper conduct by its Councillors or employees, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.
Employees and members of the public are encouraged to report known or suspected incidences of improper conduct.
Council will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make a Public Interest Disclosure. Council will also afford natural justice to any person who is the subject of a disclosure.
Protection of persons making a Public Interest Disclosure
All correspondence, phone calls and emails from persons making Public Interest Disclosures are referred to the Public Interest Disclosure Co-ordinator.
The Public Interest Disclosure Co-ordinator will take all necessary steps to ensure that the identity of the person making a Public Interest Disclosure and the person who is subject of the disclosure are kept confidential. Where necessary, the Public Interest Disclosure Co-ordinator will arrange for appropriate welfare support for the person making a Public Interest Disclosure.
Making 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:
- orally or in writing (including electronically); and
- anonymously, if the person does not wish to identify themselves.
Public Interest Disclosures may relate to improper conduct by:
- the organisation;
- employees of Council; or
- Councillors while acting in their official capacity.
Council is authorised under the Act to address disclosures related to Glen Eira City Council and its employees. Public Interest Disclosures about Councillors should be addressed by IBAC.
Who to contact
Disclosures should be made to:
Disclosures may also be made directly to IBAC:
Independent Broad-Based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)
Level 1, North Tower
459 Collins Street Melbourne
All disclosures about Councillors should be directed to IBAC.
What happens next?
Once it is determined that the complaint is a Public Interest Disclosure within the meaning of the Act, Council will assess the matter and, in accordance with the legislation, refer it to the appropriate integrity agency. The person making the disclosure will be kept informed of action taken in relation to their disclosure, and the time frames that apply.
Alternatives to making a Public Interest Disclosure
These procedures are designed to complement normal methods of submitting complaints to Council via existing communication channels between supervisors and employees, or, in the case of external complaints, via the Customer Service Centre.
Employees are encouraged to raise matters at any time with their supervisor.