Making a disclosure

Who can lodge a disclosure?

An allegation made under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 is known as a disclosure.

Anyone person can make a disclosure. This includes individuals who are either internal or external to a public body. Disclosures about public bodies can and are made by a variety of people including independent contractors, ratepayers, students, recipients of services and hospital patients. You can also make a disclosure anonymously.

What can the disclosure be about?

The Protected Disclosure Act provides that a person may disclose information that shows or tends to show, or the person believes on reasonable grounds shows, or tends to show:

  • A person, public officer or public body has engaged, is engaging or proposes to engage in improper conduct; or
  • A public officer or public body has taken, is taking or proposes to take detrimental action against a person.

Improper conduct is defined at section 4 of the Protected Disclosure Act as:

  • corrupt conduct; or
  • specified conduct that is not corrupt conduct but that if proved, would constitute a criminal offence or reasonable grounds for dismissal.

Corrupt conduct and specified conduct both cover similar types of conduct, though they deal with different consequences. Both cover conduct:

  • of any person that adversely affects the honest performance by a public officer or public body of his or her or its functions as a public officer or public body
  • of a public officer or public body that constitutes or involves the dishonest performance of his or her function as a public officer or public body
  • of a public officer or public body that constitutes or involves knowingly or recklessly breaching public trust
  • of a public officer or public body that involves misuse of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of his or her functions as a public officer or public body, whether or not for the benefit of the public officer or public body or any other person
  • that could constitute a conspiracy or an attempt to engage in any conduct referred to above

In addition, specified conduct includes conduct:

  • of a public officer or public body in his or her capacity as a public officer or its capacity as a public body that involves substantial mismanagement of public resources, involves substantial risk to public health or safety, or involves substantial risk to the environment.

Some examples of conduct that may be improper conduct are:

  • misuse of a corporate credit card
  • accepting gifts and hospitality in return for preferential treatment
  • favouring a friend or relative during a procurement or recruitment process
  • theft or inappropriate use of public resources such as: money,  equipment, facilities or food.

With which agency do I lodge the disclosure?

In most instances a discloser can make a disclosure to the public body that is the subject of the allegation, or to IBAC. The Ombudsman and the Victorian Inspectorate can also receive some disclosures. However, some disclosures must be made to specific bodies.

With which agency do I lodge the disclosure?
Subject of the allegation/disclosure Body to whom the disclosure must be made
Member of Parliament (Legislative Assembly) Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
Member of Parliament (Legislative Council) President of the Legislative Council

The Chief Commissioner of Police

The Director of Public Prosecutions

The Solicitor General

The Governor

The Lieutenant Governor or Administrator

The Electoral Commissioner

Persons issued or appointed to Boards of Inquiry or Commissions of Inquiry

Judicial officers

Members of VCAT who are not judicial officers

Judicial employees

Ministerial officers

Parliamentary advisers

Parliamentary officers

Electorate officers

Minister of the Crown who is not a member of Parliament.

IBAC
Employee of a jurisdictional public body IBAC or Victorian Ombudsman or public body

A Councillor

The Freedom of Information Commissioner

Commissioner of Privacy & Data Protection

The Health Services Commissioner

The Commissioner for Law Enforcement and Data Security

IBAC or Victorian Ombudsman

An officer of the Victorian Ombudsman

An officer of the Victorian Auditor-General

The Chief Examiner, or s.21 Major Crimes Act Examiner

IBAC or Victorian Inspectorate

IBAC

An IBAC officer

Victorian Inspectorate

 

How do I lodge the disclosure?

A person can lodge a disclosure either in writing (including via email or the internet), in person, or by telephone.

When making a disclosure it is important for the person to state that it is their intention to lodge a protected disclosure.

Disclosers should also provide the following information when making the disclosure:

  • what is the alleged improper conduct?
  • what are the grounds for believing that the conduct occurred?
  • copies of any supporting documentation.