Protected Disclosures Act 2012
In February 2013, new legislation was implemented by the State Government to introduce integrity reforms in Victoria.
The former Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 was repealed and replaced with the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (the Act). 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.
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.
The purpose of the Protected Disclosures Act 2012 is -
(a) to encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies.
(b) to provide protection for-
(i) persons who make those disclosures; and
(ii) persons who may suffer reprisals in relation to those disclosures.
(c) to provide for the matters disclosed to be properly investigated and dealt with.
What is a 'Protected Disclosure'?
The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 enables people to make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector without fear of reprisal.
A Protected Disclosure is a complaint of corrupt or improper conduct by a public officer or body made in accordance with Part 2 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2012.
How does the Ararat Rural City Council treat 'Protected Disclosures'?
The Ararat Rural City Council is committed to the aims and objectives of the Protected Disclosure Act 2012. Council does not tolerate corrupt or improper conduct by the organisation, its employees, officers, members, Councillors 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 corrupt or improper conduct.
Council will take all reasonable steps to protect people who make such disclosures from any detrimental action in reprisal for making the disclosure. It will also afford natural justice to the person or body who is the subject of the disclosure.
The Ararat Rural City Council recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices, and supports the making of disclosures that reveal improper conduct.
How do I 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 or
Council can only address disclosures that relate to our organisation and our employees. Protected Disclosures about Councillors must be addressed by IBAC.
How will Council protect a person making a 'Protected Disclosure'?
Council will take all reasonable steps to protect a person who makes a protected disclosure.
All correspondence, phone calls and emails from persons making a protected disclosure 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.
Who do I contact?
The Ararat Rural City Council has appointed a Protected Disclosure Coordinator to receive disclosures and be a contact point for general advice about the operation of the Act for any person wishing to make a disclosure.
To find out more about the Protected Disclosure, contact:
Protect Discloser Coordinator
Jenny Woolcock - Governance and Administration Coordinator
Municipal Office – Corner Vincent & High Streets Ararat
PO Box 246
Ararat VIC 3377
Telephone: (03) 53 550 200
Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC)
Address: IBAC, GP Box 24234, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone: 1300 735 135
Note: All disclosures about Councillors should be directed to IBAC.
What happens next?
Once it is determined that the complaint is a Protected Disclosure, Council will investigate the matter. The person making the complaint will be kept informed of action taken in relation to their 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 Council and existing communication channels between managers and employees. Members of the public are encouraged to contact Council with any complaints or concerns about Council or Council employees.
For further information and guidance on the new legislation or any other matters, please refer to the IBAC Protected Disclosure Interim Guidelines and the IBAC website www.ibac.vic.gov.au