15-22 – Public Interest Disclosure Obligations
What’s new or changing
- 1 March 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (PID Act), an important milestone for integrity and accountability of the NSW public sector.
- This milestone presents a timely opportunity for General Managers to increase staff awareness by promoting their Councils’ internal reporting policy and procedures.
What this will mean for your council
- Under the PID Act, General Managers are responsible for ensuring that:
- their council has an internal reporting policy that provides for its procedures for receiving, assessing and dealing with public interest disclosures (PIDs)
- staff are aware of the policy and the protections under the PID Act
- the council complies with the policy and its obligations under the PID Act
- at least one officer is responsible for receiving PIDs within the council.
- The PID Act provides a legislative framework for public officials to report wrongdoing and be protected from reprisal action.
- An effective internal reporting system requires staff to be aware of and have confidence in that system.
- Staff are more likely to report wrongdoing if they know who they should report to, trust that appropriate action will be taken in response and are confident that they will be supported for having raised their concerns.
- Staff awareness is therefore a vital element of an authority’s commitment to reporting wrongdoing and assists with creating a positive reporting environment. It may also deter staff from engaging in wrongdoing in the first place.
- General Managers can also demonstrate their commitment to ethical and accountable conduct by encouraging the reporting of wrongdoing and the support of staff that make reports.
Where to go for further information
- For more information about the PID Act or to arrange training by the NSW Ombudsman, contact the Public Interest Disclosures Unit at the NSW Ombudsman via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.