Public interest disclosure

Sometimes matters of wrongdoing within the government are so serious they sit outside the normal complaint or feedback system. In the ACT, a disclosure or complaint to an official becomes a public interest disclosure (PID) when it is about conduct or activities that could:

  • amount to a criminal offence or a serious malfeasance of public office
  • give grounds for disciplinary action
  • endanger public health, safety or the environment

The Public Sector Standards Commissioner has an oversight role in relation to the management of PIDs in the ACT public sector. The Public Sector Standards Commissioner Public Interest Disclosure Fact Sheet 2017 provides further guidance in relation to the ACT PID scheme, including the following information:

  • What is a PID
  • What is not a PID
  • Who can make a PID
  • Who can receive a PID
  • Protection for disclosers
  • Process for assessing a PID
  • Public Sector Standards Commissioner functions

The PID scheme in the ACT is conducted under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (PID Act) and the Public Interest Disclosure Guidelines 2017.

Ombudsman role under the PID Act

Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 the Ombudsman:

  • can receive PIDs
  • may investigate complaints about 'disclosable conduct' of the Head of Service of the ACT Public Service
  • may investigate complaints about the administrative arrangements in place within a Directorate for managing PIDs, and about how a PID has been investigated or handled by an agency.