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Public Interest Disclosures

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (the Act).enables people to make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector without fear of reprisal. The protection from detrimental action extends not only to the person making the disclosure, it includes witnesses and persons the subject of an investigation. The Act aims to ensure openness and accountability by encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do.

What is a Public Interest Disclosure?

A public interest disclosure is a complaint of corrupt or improper conduct by a public officer or body.

How does Council treat Public Interest Disclosures?

Council does not tolerate corrupt or improper conduct by the organisation, its employees, officers and 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 disclosures and afford natural justice to the person who is the subject of the disclosure

How will Council protect a person making a Public Interest Disclosure?

Council will take all reasonable steps to protect a person who makes a public interest disclosure and will direct all disclosures to the Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator. Where necessary the Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator will arrange for appropriate welfare support for the person making a public interest disclosure.

The Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator will take all necessary steps to keep confidential the identity of the person making a disclosure and the person about whom the disclosure is made.

All information will be securely stored within Council's electronic and information management systems.

Council will ensure that all its staff are familiar with its public interest disclosure procedures and the obligations under the Act.

How do I make a Public Interest Disclosure?

Any person may make a disclosure about improper conduct by public bodies and public officers.

A disclosure may be made orally, in writing, electronically or anonymously.

Public Interest Disclosures may relate to corrupt or improper conduct by the organisation, employees or Councillors.

Council can only address disclosures that relate to the council or its staff. Disclosures regarding Councillors must be made directly to IBAC.

Who do I contact?

Disclosures should be made to:

Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator
Augustine Sheppard
PO Box 85, Castlemaine 3450
Email augustine.sheppard@mountalexander.vic.gov.au
Direct phone: 03 5471 1720
Mobile : 0447 284 895

Disclosures may also be made directly to IBAC:

Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC)
GP Box 24234, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Telephone: 1300 735 135

What happens next?

Once it is determined that the complaint is a public interest disclosure, Council will investigate the matter. The person making the complaint will be kept informed of action taken in relation to the disclosure and timeframes that apply.

Alternatives to making a Public Interest Disclosure?

These procedures are designed to complement normal methods of submitting complaints to 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.

Procedures

Council is legislatively required to establish written Public Interest Disclosures Procedures to facilitate the making, handling and notification of public interest disclosures that relate to itself and its employees and officers.

About IBAC

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is a body established to promote integrity and accountability across the Victorian public sector, the Victorian Inspectorate oversees both the IBAC and the Ombudsman, and the Accountability and Oversight Parliamentary Committee has oversight over the Ombudsman.

For further information and guidance on the legislation visit the IBAC website.

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