Disclosures about the Commonwealth Ombudsman

Page Heading: Public Interest Disclsoures

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) commenced on 15 January 2014.

The legislation creates a public interest disclosure scheme that promotes integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector. It does this by:

  • encouraging and facilitating the disclosure of information by public officials about suspected wrongdoing in the public sector
  • ensuring that public officials who make public interest disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences
  • ensuring that disclosures by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.

The Ombudsman undertakes a specific role defined in the PID Act for the whole of the Australian Government; however the information provided here is only for those wishing to make an Internal Public Interest Disclosure. That is:

  • the disclosure is about this agency (the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman)
  • by a person who is or has been a public official
  • to their supervisor or manager, or an Authorised Officer of the Office and
  • the information tends to show, or the discloser believes on reasonable grounds the information tends to show, one or more instances of disclosable conduct.

S59 of the PID Act requires the Ombudsman (as a Principal Officer under the PID Act) to establish procedures for facilitating and dealing with Public Interest Disclosures relating to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Making an internal public interest disclosure to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman

If you would like to make a PID about the Ombudsman's office you should do one of the following:

  1. Write to the Ombudsman at GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601. You should mark any envelopes or external covers 'Confidential-Ombudsman PID' and address them to the 'PID Team'.
  2. Email the Ombudsman at PID@ombudsman.gov.au. In the subject line you should indicate that your PID is about the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
  3. Phone the Ombudsman's office on 1300 362 072 and follow the relevant prompts.

Authorised Officers

The Office has appointed Authorised Officers for handling PIDs made to the office about the office. The Authorised Officers can be contacted via the process outlined above and their details are included at Attachment B of the Procedures.

Putting PIDs in writing

While you are not required to make a PID in writing, there can be benefits in doing so.

Setting things out in writing gives you the opportunity to carefully and clearly set out the particular issues you have, without the risk of anything relevant being missed or misunderstood. If there is any confusion or uncertainty surrounding a written PID an appropriate Ombudsman officer can, if you provide your contact details, always phone you to clarify matters.

What will happen with your PID?

An authorised officer will be responsible for handling your PID in the first instance. For general information on what will happen with your PID please see the Procedures for facilitating and dealing with public interest disclosures relating to the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

PIDs about other agencies

The Office is also authorised to receive PIDs in relation to other government agencies. If you would like to make a PID about another agency you should do one of the following:

  1. Write to the Ombudsman at GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601. You should mark any envelopes or packaging as 'Confidential-Agency PID' and address them to the 'PID Team'.
  2. Email the Ombudsman at PID@ombudsman.gov.au. In the subject line you should indicate which agency your PID is about; this could be as simple as 'PID about Department of XYZ'.
  3. Phone the Ombudsman's office on 1300 362 072 and follow the relevant prompts.