Relations

Public Interest Disclosures

For more information about how HBA Consulting can assist you with Workplace Investigations related issues, please contact:

Gary Champion
Principal HBA Consulting

Tel : (02) 62474490
Mobile : 0419401250

gary.champion@hbaconsulting.com.au

Public Interest Disclosures Assisting organisations to meet their obligations under the Act.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) encourages and enables public officials (disclosers) to raise suspected wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector.

All Australian government agencies, Commonwealth companies and public authorities have responsibilities under the PID Act to investigate suspected wrongdoing and take appropriate action. Disclosers are also afforded protections from reprisal action and certain immunities from liability.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) requires agency heads (principal officers) to investigate PIDs. The investigation function may be delegated to a public official within the principal officer's agency.

Officers charged with the responsibility for investigating PIDs should:

  • Promptly inform the discloser that their PID is being investigated and the estimated length of the investigation, and explain the investigation powers and discretions to not investigate in the PID Act
  • identify and address any possible conflict of interests
  • investigate and make inquiries as they see fit in relation to the disclosable conduct
  • Ensure their investigation complies with the PID Act (Part 3) and the PID Standards (Part 3)
  • Ocomply with procedures under s 15(3) of the Public Service Act 1999 or s 15(3) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 if investigating alleged breaches of the relevant code of conduct
  • ocomply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy and Australian Government Investigation Standards if investigating allegations of fraud in non-corporate Commonwealth entities:
  • ensure procedural fairness is observed
  • adhere to the PID Act confidentiality and secrecy requirements
  • alert the responsible officers if they become aware of any reprisal risks
  • communicate with the discloser about the investigation process and keep them informed of progress, particularly if there are delays
  • comply with the time frame of 90 days to complete a PID investigation (or seek an extension of time if required from the Commonwealth Ombudsman or IGIS)
  • produce a written report on outcome of the investigation
  • prepare a copy of the report for the discloser - consider whether deletions are appropriate (s 51(5) of the PID Act)
  • provide a copy of the report to the discloser - within a reasonable period after the investigation was finalised
  • ensure appropriate records are made throughout the investigation process
  • ensure records are appropriately classified and stored so that only officers that are authorised either by the PID Act or another law of the Commonwealth can access the PID information.Commonwealth Ombudsman's web site - www.ombudsman.gov.au/PID
  • The team at HBA Consulting has extensive experience in undertaking PID investigations on behalf of Agencies. We have been assisting ACT Public Service Agencies for many years, following the introduction of its legislation in the mid 1990's. This legislation is very similar to the 2013 Act implemented by the Commonwealth.

    In the past 6 months we have assisted with PID investigations for:

    • a very large Federal Government department.
    • a smaller specialist Agency in the Commonwealth