In February 2013, new legislation was implemented by the State Government to introduce integrity reforms in Victoria. The reforms include 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The former Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 was repealed and replaced with the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (the Act).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.
Indigo Shire Council's Protected Disclosure Policy can be viewed here.
What is a Protected Disclosure?
A Protected Disclosure is a complaint of corrupt or improper conduct by a public officer or body (i.e. Council).
How does Council treat Protected Disclosures?
Council does not tolerate corrupt or improper conduct by the organisation, its agents, 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.
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
Council can only address disclosures that relate to Indigo Shire Council. 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?
Disclosures should be made confidentially addressed to the Protected Disclosures Coordinator:
Ms Dalene Voigt
By post: PO Box 28, BEECHWORTH VIC 3747
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By fax: 03 5728 8000
Direct phone: 03 5728 8011
Mobile: 0408 283 010
In person: 101 Ford Street BEECHWORTH VIC 3747
- Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC)
Address: IBAC, GP Box 24234, Melbourne Victoria 3000
1300 735 135
Note: All disclosures about Councillors should be directed to IBAC.
Level 9, North Tower
459 Collins Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Telephone: 03 9613 6222
Toll free: 1800 806 314
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 supervisors and employees.
For more information
In accordance with Section 58 of the Protected Disclosures Act, Council is currently preparing a framework to support the reporting of disclosures of improper conduct and response to detrimental action taken by Council or its agents, Councillors, officers or members.
The Protected Disclosure Procedures will be completed shortly. In the interim, if you wish to make a Protected Disclosure (as defined within the Act), please contact the Protected Disclosure Coordinator.
For further information and guidance on the new legislation or any other matters, please refer to the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission Guidelines for making and handling protected disclosures at the IBAC website.