Whistleblowing - Protected Disclosure
Victorian Legislation Changes
On the 10th February 2012, the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 replaced the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001.
The objectives of the Protected Disclosure Act are to:
- facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by public officers/bodies;
- prevent detrimental action being taken in reprisal for a person making a disclosure;
- provide protection for persons who make disclosures or are the subject of a disclosure; and
- confidentially manage the content of disclosures and the identity of persons who make disclosures.
In addition to the legislation change, Victoria's first ever anti-corruption body, IBAC, became fully operational in early 2013. The primary purpose of the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission is to strengthen the integrity of the Victorian public sector and enhance community confidence in public sector accountability. IBAC is responsible for identifying and preventing improper conduct across the whole Victorian public sector, including members of Parliament, the judiciary, state and local government.
What is a Protected Disclosure?
A Protected Disclosure is a complaint of corrupt or improper conduct made against a public officer or public body.
How does Yarra Ranges Council treat Protected Disclosures?
Yarra Ranges Council is committed to the principles of the Protected Disclosure regime and the objectives of IBAC. Council does not tolerate improper conduct by any public officer, nor the taking of detrimental action against those who come forward to expose such conduct.
Council will take all reasonable steps to receive and appraise disclosures with full confidentiality. It will protect people who make such disclosures from any detrimental action in reprisal for making a disclosure. Council will also afford natural justice to any person who is the subject of a disclosure.
How Does Yarra Ranges Council protect persons making a 'Protected Disclosure'?
Yarra Ranges Council nominates the following individuals within Council as being able to receive disclosures:
- Protected Disclosure Coordinator
The CEO and Protected Disclosure Coordinator will take all necessary steps to ensure that the identity of the person making a disclosure, the nature of the disclosure and the person who is the subject of the disclosure are kept confidential. Where necessary, the Protected Disclosure Coordinator will arrange for appropriate welfare support for people involved with a disclosure.
How do I make a 'Protected Disclosure' to Yarra Ranges Council?
Disclosures about Council or Council staff can be made directly to IBAC or to Yarra Ranges Council for assessment. Disclosures about Councillors must be made directly to IBAC or the Victorian Ombudsman.
Protected Disclosures may be made by employees or by members of the public.
Part 2 of the Protected Disclosure Act provides that a person may make a disclosure:
- Orally – in person or via phone
- In writing – letter or email
Who Do I Contact?
Disclosures should be made to the Protected Disclosures Coordinator:
Marissa Gardiner - Protected Disclosure Coordinator
Yarra Ranges Council
PO Box 105
Lilydale VIC 3140
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - (03) 9294 6261
Disclosures may also be made directly to IBAC:
Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC)
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 disclosure is a Protected Disclosure, Yarra Ranges 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 Yarra Ranges 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.
In accordance with Section 58 of the Act, Yarra Ranges Council has developed a Protected Disclosure Act 2012 Procedure. The procedure document provides a full explanation of how Yarra Ranges Council will respond to 'Protected Disclosures'. The procedure also provides definitions of what constitutes corrupt or improper conduct, detrimental action and outlines the different roles of the various people involved in dealing with Protected Disclosures.
For further information and guidance on the new legislation or any other matters, please refer to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission website.