As of 11 February 2013, new legislation implementing recent integrity reforms in Victoria came into effect. In particular, the replacement of the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 with the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.
The reform includes the creation of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), a body established to promote integrity and accountability across the Victorian public sector, the Victorian Inspectorate, whose role is to oversee both the IBAC and the Ombudsman, and the new Accountability and Oversight Parliamentary Committee which has oversight over the Ombudsman.
What is a Protected Disclosure?
A Protected Disclosure is a complaint of corrupt or improper conduct by a public officer or body.
What is the Protected Disclosure Act?
The Whistleblower Act 2001 has been replaced by the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.
The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 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.
How does Pyrenees Shire Council Treat Protected Disclosures?
Pyrenees Shire 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.
Pyrenees Shire Council will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make disclosures without the fear of reprisal.
Pyrenees Shire Council will also afford natural justice to the person who is the subject of the disclosure.
How Does Pyrenees Shire Council Protect Persons Making a 'Protected 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 'Protected Disclosure'?
Protected 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
Protected Disclosures may relate to corrupt or improper conduct by:
- The organisation
- Employees of Pyrenees Shire Council
Pyrenees Shire Council can only address disclosures that relate to Pyrenees Shire Council. Protected Disclosures about Councillors must be addressed by IBAC.
Who Do I Contact?
Disclosures should be made to the Protected Disclosures Coordinator:
Protected Disclosure Coordinator
Pyrenees Shire Council
5 Lawrence Street
Beaufort, VIC, 3373
(03) 5349 1100
Disclosures may also be made directly to IBAC:
Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC)
Address: IBAC, GP Box 24234, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone:1300 735 135
All disclosures about Councillors should be directed to IBAC.
What Happens Next?
Once it is determined that the complaint is a Protected Disclosure, Pyrenees Shire 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.
Alternatives to Making a 'Protected Disclosure'
These procedures are designed to complement normal methods of submitting complaints to Pyrenees Shire Council and existing communication channels between supervisors and employees.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact Council with any complaints or concerns about Council or Council employees.
Employees are encouraged to raise matters at any time with their supervisors.
For further information and guidance on the new legislation or any other matters, please refer to the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission Interim Guidelines.