A Public Interest Disclosure (PID) is a disclosure about wrongdoing in the public sector that serves the public interest. For an allegation to be considered a PID under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (the Act) it must be:
- a disclosure of information specified in the Act
- public interest information about serious wrongdoing or danger
- made to the proper authority
Once considered a PID it will attract the protections under the Act.
Council is committed to protecting those who report wrongdoing. To ensure the appropriate handling of PIDs, council has approved PID Management Program and Procedure[345KB] This document is current and consistent with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.
Identifying the proper authority to make a disclosure to
To identify whether council is the proper authority to make a disclosure to, consideration should be given to who and what the disclosure is about.
Council would be authorised to receive a PID where:
- the disclosure is about the conduct of council or its employees
- council is responsible for investigating the particular issue.
Public interest disclosures can be made verbally or in writing and should be addressed to the Public Interest Disclosure Coordinator.
Making a PID
Members of the public can make a PID regarding any of the following:
- a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety, or to a person with a disability
- a breach of environmental law (the breach needs to be substantial and a specific danger to the environment)
- a reprisal action in relation to a PID
Reprisal action against a discloser is an offence. A reprisal occurs if a person causes or attempts to cause damage or harm to the discloser because they believe the disclosure has:
- made or intends to make a PID
- taken part in, or intend to take part in procedures under the PID Act.
If on initial assessment it is unclear whether a disclosure is a public interest disclosure under the Act, it will be assumed that the disclosure is a public interest disclosure and therefore the Act will apply.
An appropriate disclosure is where:
- the discloser honestly and reasonably believes the information provided tends to show the conduct or danger
- the information tends to show the conduct or danger regardless of the discloser’s belief.
Information that ‘tends to show’ wrongdoing or danger must be more than a mere suspicion. There must be information that indicates or supports a view that the wrongdoing or danger has or will occur. The discloser is not required to undertake any investigative action before making a PID.
Submitting your PID
There is no specific format required for use in making a public interest disclosure. However to enable the best assessment and investigation outcome, public interest disclosures should be made in writing (whenever possible) and contain all available information. A disclosure can be made verbally.
Use the Public Interest Disclosures form to lodge your PID.
A Discloser must be prepared to provide supporting evidence to assist the investigation of the disclosure.
Anonymous disclosures can be made, however council prefers that disclosers identify themselves. This enables the best assessment and investigation of the PID. It also ensures appropriate support is provided to the discloser.
If a disclosure chooses to remain anonymous it is important that as much information as possible is provided to allow for proper assessment and investigation of the PID. Anonymous disclosers can't be informed of the investigation outcome. As a result, some of the protections in the Act may not apply.
Responsibilities of someone making a PID
When making a PID, you have a responsibility to:
- provide honest and accurate information. Deliberately providing false or misleading information is an offence
- provide all information currently in your possession. You must not seek to investigate the matter yourself
- make the disclosure to someone you reasonably believe is the proper authority to receive it.
For more information please contact council's PID Coordinator:
The Queensland Ombudsman:
- online at www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au
- telephone 1800 068 908
Ethics Queensland website provides the following information:
- fact sheets
- information guidelines regarding PIDs
- details of rights and obligations under the Act.