Page Heading: Public Interest Disclsoures

A scheme to encourage public officials to report suspected wrongdoing in the Australian public sector was put in place by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act), which came into effect on 15 January 2014.

All Australian Government agencies, Commonwealth companies and public authorities have responsibilities under the Act. These include establishing effective and clearly articulated internal procedures for facilitating and responding to public interest disclosures.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is responsible for promoting awareness and understanding of the PID Act, and monitoring and reporting on its operation to parliament. We provide general information, guidance to agencies about their management of the PID scheme, and advice to people who are thinking about making a disclosure of wrongdoing.


PID posters for use by agencies (NEW)

The Commonwealth Ombudsman's office has developed a set of posters for agencies to use as a part of awareness raising and promotion of the PID scheme and how to make a PID.

There are three posters that are available for agencies to download in A2 and A3 size (with crop marks for professional printing) and A4 (without crop marks for regular printing). Space is provided at the bottom of each poster for agencies to include their own information, for example where to locate their PID procedures and how to contact an authorised officer.

A2 size Poster design 1 Poster design 2 Poster design 3
A3 size Poster design 1 Poster design 2 Poster design 3
A4 size (without crop marks) Poster design 1 Poster design 2 Poster design 3

Legislation


Guides

Aimed at facilitating consistent application of the legislation across the public sector, the guides and information sheets explain the PID system, set out the statutory obligations of agencies and suggest best practice for handling both allocation and investigation of public interest disclosures.


Information sheets


Forms for agencies

PID legislation requires that agencies notify the Ombudsman of an allocation of a disclosure, or of a decision not to investigate a disclosure. Where necessary, agencies are also obliged to request an extension of time to carry out a PID investigation. Forms are provided to facilitate these notifications and requests:


Use of the Ombudsman's PID logo

To expedite access to agencies' PID policies and procedures, a universal, easily identifiable PID scheme logo has been designed for use on internal and external websites. For agencies wishing to download and use the logo, the graphics are available in various formats:


Making a public interest disclosure to the Commonwealth Ombudsman

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is able to receive public interest disclosures (PIDs) about both the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and, under certain conditions, about other Australian Government agencies. For effective handling of PIDs made to the Ombudsman, it is important to identify as early as possible whether the disclosure is about the Ombudsman's office or another agency.

Public officials wishing to make a PID about the Ombudsman's office should follow the process outlined at Public Interest Disclosures About Us.

While suspected wrongdoings should generally be disclosed to authorised officers (or through the discloser's supervisor) within the agency concerned, a PID about another agency may be made directly to the Ombudsman - or to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) where a matter involves an intelligence agency. A public official wanting to make such a disclosure needs to demonstrate, on reasonable grounds, that it would be appropriate for their information to be investigated by the Ombudsman. Disclosures to the Ombudsman may be made by:

  • Writing to the Commonwealth Ombudsman PID Team at GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601. Any envelopes or packaging should be marked 'Confidential'Agency PID'; or
  • Emailing the Ombudsman at PID@ombudsman.gov.au. The subject line should indicate which agency the disclosure is about - this could be as simple as 'PID about Department of XYZ'; or
  • Telephoning the Ombudsman's office on 02 6276 3777 and following the relevant prompts.

Presentations

By arrangement with individual or groups of agencies, this office conducts information sessions about the PID Act. These sessions generally cover the main features of the PID scheme and the responsibilities of agencies under the Act, and can be tailored to the needs of the particular audience.


Upcoming events

General PID information session in Melbourne

Open to all Commonwealth public officials

Date Friday 7 November 2014
Time 9:30am to 10:30am
Convenor Mr George Masri, Acting Deputy Ombudsman
Cost Free
Venue

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,

Level 35, Melbourne Central Tower

360 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC
On arrival Guests should proceed to reception where the security guard will direct them to the meeting room
To register

RSVP by close of business Monday 5 November 2014 to PID@ombudsman.gov.au

Seating is limited to 65 people, so be sure to register early

PID Community of practice meetings

The Ombudsman's office is hosting a series of PID community of practice roundtable events in Australian capital cities. The target audience is people involved in the administration of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 in the Commonwealth public sector.

At the roundtable meetings, the Ombudsman's office will provide information and answer questions about the operation of the Public Interest Disclosure Scheme since it commenced on 15 January 2014. We intend to use the meetings as an opportunity to establish local networks of officers in Commonwealth agencies who can share information and expertise about the PID scheme.

The first roundtables were held in Sydney on 21 August 2014, and in Canberra on 2 and 4 September 2014. Agency representatives in attendance took the opportunity to share their experiences in implementing the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, and learn from each other's successes and challenges in the handling of disclosures.

The next two Public Interest Disclosure Scheme community of practice roundtable meetings will be held in Melbourne and Brisbane.

The details for each event are listed below.


Melbourne Community of Practice Roundtable on 7 November 2014

Date Friday 7 November 2014
Time 11:00am to 1:00pm
Convenor Mr George Masri, Acting Deputy Ombudsman
Cost Free
Venue

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,

Level 35, Melbourne Central Tower

360 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC
On arrival Guests should proceed to reception where the security guard will direct them to the meeting room
To register

RSVP by close of business Monday 5 November 2014 to PID@ombudsman.gov.au

Seating is limited to 35 people, so be sure to register early

Brisbane Community of Practice Roundtable on 1 December 2014

Date Monday 1 December 2014 (Queensland time)
Time 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Convenor Ms Prem Aleema, Acting Senior Assistant Ombudsman
Cost Free
Venue Training Room 3 Level 17, 53 Albert Street, Brisbane QLD
On arrival Guests should proceed directly to Level 17 where they will be directed to the meeting room
To register

RSVP by close of business Monday 24 November 2014 to PID@ombudsman.gov.au

Seating is limited to 30 people, so be sure to register early

Participants are invited to contact us ahead of the roundtable (PID@ombudsman.gov.au) to share any topics or issues of interest that they would like covered during the session.


Further events

The Ombudsman's office will be holding community of practice roundtables in other capital cities. Details will be published on the Ombudsman's website closer to the date.


Contact details

For further information or assistance relating to the PID scheme, or to arrange a PID presentation, please contact the PID Team on 02 6276 3777 or email PID@ombudsman.gov.au.