Protection of people who make genuine disclosures about improper conduct in the public sector is critical for an effective integrity and anti-corruption system.
The Public Interest 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.
Protections include keeping the identity of the person reporting improper conduct confidential and protecting them from reprisals including bullying, harassment or legal action.
The West Wimmera Shire Council is committed to the aims and objectives of the Protected Disclosures Act. It does not tolerate improper conduct by its employees, officers or members, nor the taking of reprisals against those who come forward to disclose such conduct.
The West Wimmera Shire Council recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices, and supports the making of disclosures that reveal corrupt conduct, conduct involving a substantial mismanagement of public resources, or conduct involving a substantial risk to public health and safety or the environment.
The West Wimmera Shire Council takes seriously its responsibilities to persons who may make a disclosure in respect to improper conduct. This procedure has been established to ensure the confidentiality of any persons making a disclosure and their welfare, are protected. All reasonable steps will be made to protect such persons from any detrimental action in reprisal for making the disclosure. It will also afford natural justice to the person who is the subject of the disclosure.
The West Wimmera Shire Council will take all reasonable steps to protect the identity of any persons making a Public Interest Disclosure. Maintaining confidentiality is crucial in ensuring there are no reprisals made against persons making a Public Interest Disclosure.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act requires any person who receives information due to the handling or investigation of a Public Interest Disclosure, not to disclose that information except in certain limited circumstances.
A person may make a disclosure:
2. In writing (Disclosures cannot be made by fax)
3. Electronically (email only)
4. Anonymously (Disclosures can be made anonymously)
Contact by post:
Confidential and Private
Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator
49 Elizabeth Street
Edenhope VIC 3318
Contact by phone:
Phone: 13 99 72
Public Interest Disclosures may relate to corrupt or improper conduct by:
- The organisation
- Employees of West Wimmera Shire Council
A disclosure must meet all of the following criteria:
a. A natural person (that is, an individual person rather than a corporation) has to have made the disclosure
b. The disclosure has been made verbally or in writing to either the Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator, Chief Executive or those identified in section 5.1, Contacts
c. The disclosure relates to conduct of the West Wimmera Shire Councillors or Council officer acting in their official capacity
d. The alleged conduct is either improper or corrupt conduct or detrimental action taken against a person in reprisal for making a Public Interest Disclosure
e. The person making the disclosure has reasonable grounds for believing the alleged conduct has occurred
West Wimmera Shire Council can only address disclosures that relate to West Wimmera. Public Interest Disclosures about Councillors must be addressed by IBAC.
IBAC is Victoria’s anti-corruption agency responsible for preventing and exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct. They do this by:
- investigating serious corruption and police misconduct
- informing the public sector, police and the community about the risks and impacts of corruption and police misconduct, and ways in which it can be prevented.
www.ibac.vic.gov.au or call 1300 735 135
Level 1, North Tower 459 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Where the Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator has received a disclosure that has been assessed to be a Public Interest Disclosure, the Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator must notify IBAC within 28 days.
For further information, please refer to Council's Public Interest Disclosure Policy.