Public Interest Disclosure
What is a public interest disclosure?
A disclosure must relate to a matter of public interest and tend to show wrongdoing by a public body when performing a public function.
Who can make a disclosure?
Anyone who believes on reasonable grounds that the information they have is true can make a disclosure, including an employee of a public authority and a member of the public.
What is a public body?
Public bodies include:
- A public authority (includes a State Government organisation, local government, regional local government, or a public university)
- A public officer (includes a State public service officer, an employee of a public authority, a minister, a member of Parliament, a judicial officer, a police officer, a holder of office under the State, or an officer of the Commonwealth exercising a function on behalf of the State)
- A public sector contractor (a person or organisation engaged by a public authority, or a subcontractor of this person, for the supply of goods and services or the performance of a public function)
What is a public function?
The information must relate to the performance of a public function of the public body. For example, the Act would not apply to information that an employee of a public authority had engaged in criminal behaviour unconnected with their employment.
What is wrongdoing according to the Act?
Your disclosure must tend to show the public body’s involvement in one or more of the following:
- An offence under State Law
- Conduct relating to matters of State and local government administration affecting you
- Substantial mismanagement of public resources
- Substantial unauthorised or irregular use of public resources
- Substantial and specific risk of injury to public health, prejudice to public safety or harm to the environment;
- Improper conduct*
*Generally, improper conduct is a breach of the standards of conduct that a reasonable person would expect of a person or body, knowing their duties, powers and authority in the circumstances of the case.
How do I make a public interest disclosure?
What do I do first?
Before making a disclosure, you should contact the public interest disclosure (PID) Officer in the relevant authority to find out more about:
- How to make the disclosure and who you should disclose to
- Your rights and responsibilities
- The protections that will apply
- Whether the information you have is covered by the Act
If your information is not covered by the Act you can still make your disclosure to the public authority concerned using its grievance process (if you are or were an employee at the time the incident occurred) or its complaints management process (if you are a member of the public). Once you have been informed about the Act and your rights and responsibilities, you must make it clear that you have chosen to make your disclosure under the Act. Generally, the PID officer will have a PID lodgement form for you to sign.
If you choose to make your disclosure under the Act you must ensure you do not discuss the matter with anyone other than the PID officer or the person conducting the investigation. You may lose your immunity under the Act and breach the confidentiality provisions which may incur a penalty if you do.
A disclosure is more than a general complaint about dissatisfaction with a product or service or a decision by government, and it is more than a personal grievance that can be resolved by agreement between parties. In order to be covered by the Act, the information needs to relate to a matter of public interest.
Who are the City’s PID Officers?
Telephone: 9278 9268
Telephone: 9267 9240
For further information about public interest disclosures visit http://www.publicsector.wa.gov.au/
For further information on making a disclosure, contact the agency where the conduct occurred and ask for the PID officer. Alternatively, call the PID Advice and Referral Line 1800 355 835