Public Interest Disclosure

Background and context

These procedures have been prepared to comply with section 28 of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (the PID Act) and the Standard No.1 issued by the Public Service Commission, and amended by the Queensland Ombudsman, under section 60 of the Act.

Scope

For the purposes of these procedures, an officer of QTC will include all employees, whether they are permanent, temporary or casual.

Definition

Term Description
PID Public Interest Disclosure
Discloser The person who makes a PID
Subject Officer The person about whom a PID is made

Key principles

  • Every employee of QTC has an ethical responsibility to report suspected corrupt conduct, maladministration, wasting of public funds, substantial and specific danger to public health and safety, the environment or a person with a disability, and reprisal action.
  • The principle of natural justice (procedural fairness) will apply to all investigations of matters the subject of PIDs. QTC is committed to treating the PID appropriately and making the process fair for both the discloser and the person who is subject to the disclosure.
  • The rights of any person who is subject to or is in some way associated with a disclosure will be safeguarded.

Responsibilities and accountabilities

All employees should:

  • make themselves familiar with these procedures, and
  • be able to identify potential situations where behaviour may be unethical or fraudulent, and know how to report it.

All managers should:

  • ensure staff are provided with information about making a disclosure and are familiar with the process of making a public interest disclosure, and
  • ensure employees are aware of their responsibilities in making a PID and are able to advise other persons of the appropriate reporting process.

The Compliance Officer should:

  • provide clear guidance to staff on how to handle the complex issues and how to deal with an ethical dilemma when faced with potential wrongdoing, and
  • prepare, review and maintain these procedures.

An officer of QTC may make a PID if they have information about:

  1. The conduct of another person, which could, if proved, be:
  • corrupt conduct
  • maladministration that adversely affects a person’s interests in a substantial and specific way
  • a substantial misuse of public resources (other than an alleged misuse based on mere disagreement over policy that may properly be adopted about amounts, purposes or priorities of expenditure)
  • a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or
  • a substantial and specific danger to the environment.

 

  1. Any person, whether an officer of QTC or not, may make a PID if they have information about:
  • a substantial and specific danger to the health and safety of a person with a disability
  • the commission of an offence against a provision mentioned in schedule 2 of the PID Act, if the commission of the offence is or would be a substantial and specific danger to the environment, or
  • the conduct of another person that could, if proved, be a reprisal.

A disclosure can be made in writing or orally and anonymously, if desired.

Where an employee receives an oral PID they should request the discloser to put the details in writing. If they are unable or unwilling to do so the employee receiving the PID should document it and ask the discloser to confirm the contents before signing it.

If circumstances prevent this occurring (for example, a telephone caller who remains anonymous), the employee receiving the PID should record the date, time and circumstances of the PID. It should then be forwarded to the Compliance Officer.

For advice in relation to lodging a PID or the general management of a PID, please contact the Compliance Officer.

Lodging a disclosure within QTC:

In person: Level 6, 123 Albert Street, Brisbane
By phone: 07 3842 4600
By email: compliance@qtc.com.au
By letter: Compliance Officer, Queensland Treasury Corporation, GPO Box 1096, Brisbane Qld 4001

If lodging a disclosure in relation to corruption, disclosures can be made directly to the Crime and Corruption Commission:

In person: Level 2, North Tower Green Square, 515 St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
By phone: (07) 3360 6060 or 1800 061 611 (toll free outside Brisbane)
By email: mailbox@ccc.qld.gov.au
By letter: Crime and Corruption Commission, GPO Box 3123, Brisbane, Qld 4001
Online: www.ccc.qld.gov.au

QTC will treat all PIDs appropriately. The Compliance Officer will take your concerns seriously and ensure your privacy and confidentiality (as far as possible) throughout the appropriate process. You can also be confident of protection against reprisal and bullying and that you will be provided with assistance in contacting the Employee Assistance Program for advice and counselling. This service provides confidential counselling and support to employees through stressful times.

The Crime and Corruption Commission operates a support program for people who are considering making, or have made a PID about corrupt conduct or for people experiencing difficulties as a result of making a PID about corrupt conduct.

For those making a PID, Section 36 of the PID Act states that a person is not liable civilly, criminally or under an administrative process for making a PID.

Employees are reminded that if making a disclosure, the matters surrounding the investigation will be confidential and employees are requested to maintain the integrity of the process by not discussing it with work colleagues or others unconnected with the matter. All statements and correspondence in regard to the matter should be regarded as strictly confidential. Please note that the confidentiality provision will not preclude an employee from sharing this information with their support person.

Where required, interpreters or other assistance will be provided to employees or other persons wanting to report corrupt conduct or make a PID.

QTC is determined to treat disclosures appropriately. The rights of any person who is the subject of, or is in some way associated with a disclosure are important, and as a person against whom a PID is made, they are entitled to confidentiality and the presumption of innocence.

Employees who are the subject of an allegation may seek assistance from their legal representative and may use the services of the Employee Assistance Program for advice and counselling.

Protection exists for those against whom an intentionally false PID is made. It is an offence under Section 66 of the PID Act, punishable by up to two years imprisonment, to intentionally make a false or misleading statement intending it to be acted upon as a PID.

However, employees who are the subject of a disclosure should not be treated adversely because of their involvement in this process. Any substantiated allegations of adverse treatment on these grounds may result in disciplinary action being taken against the subject officer.

The PID is made to the Compliance Officer who will make an assessment as to whether it is to be referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission or another agency for review or investigation or whether QTC is able to investigate the matter or deal with it in some other manner.

If the matter is required to be investigated by QTC, the Compliance Officer will be responsible for the investigation which may be completed by an independent investigator.

Once the investigation is completed and relevant agencies consulted, corrective or disciplinary action will be taken by QTC where necessary.

The person making the PID will be informed of progress and the outcome by the Compliance Officer.

Section 65 of the PID Act makes it an offence for a person to make a record of, or intentionally or recklessly disclose confidential information received in the administration of the PID Act to anyone, except where authorised to do so by the PID Act.

Strict confidentiality is to be maintained at all times in relation to reporting and investigation of PIDs. QTC will maintain a proper and secure record about PIDs received by QTC.

If a person making a PID has concerns about reprisal being taken against them because of the disclosure, under the PID Act, the person can be given special protection to prevent this occurring.

If you feel as though you have been disadvantaged or subjected to a reprisal for making a disclosure, you should raise the issue with the Chief Executive.

Section 40 of the PID Act makes it an offence for an employee to take a reprisal because of a belief that another person has made, or intends to make a PID.

Internal

If it is decided not to investigate or deal with a PID, the discloser must be given written reasons for that decision. The discloser may then apply for a review of the decision by the Chief Executive within 28 days after receiving the decision.

External

A right of review to the Supreme Court under the Judicial Review Act 1991 may lie in respect of a question of law arising out of a decision made under an enactment.

The public officer may, under an Act, appeal against or apply for a review of:

  • disciplinary action taken against the officer
  • the appointment or transfer of the officer or another public officer to a position as a public officer, or
  • unfair treatment of the officer.The public officer may also appeal the action or have the action set aside (whether or not the Act specifies grounds for the appeal or review) because it was the taking of a reprisal against the public officer.

 

There may also be a right to apply to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission or the Supreme Court for an injunction about a reprisal in certain circumstances.

Related document
QTC Complaints Policy

Contact information
For further information please contact the QTC Compliance Officer on (07) 3842 4600.

Submit your Public Interest Disclosure online

  • Please provide details of your public interest disclosure
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Schedule 1

Management of Public Interest Disclosures made under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010

Purpose

This Management Plan has been prepared to comply with section 28 of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (the PID Act) and Standard No.1 issued by the Public Service Commission under section 60 of the PID Act.

Section 6.1.1 of the Standard requires QTC to develop, implement and maintain a management plan for PIDs which addresses the following issues:

  1. Organisational commitment to encouraging the internal reporting of wrongdoing

QTC:

  • recognises the important role disclosers play in identifying wrongdoing and thus improving the integrity and performance of QTC and deterring wrongdoing
  • is committed to ensuring that PIDs are properly assessed, investigated and dealt with
  • recognises the value and importance of providing protection to employees who report wrongdoing using appropriate internal or external channels, and
  • is committed to ensuring that appropriate consideration is given to the interests of persons who are the subject of a PID.
  • QTC will take all reasonable steps to protect an employee from any detrimental action by way of a reprisal taken because they have made a PID.

 

  1. Senior management endorsement of the value of PIDs and the proper management of PIDs and disclosers

QTC recognises that, in order for QTC to have a successful disclosure program, it is critical that managers fully understand and support the employee’s attitude, Management Plan, policies and procedures in relation to disclosures.

QTC encourages an employee who considers that he or she has witnessed wrongdoing to come forward and make a disclosure. QTC believes that disclosing wrongdoing is in accordance with QTC’s ethical culture, in particular, acting with integrity. It recognises the benefit to QTC of encouraging employees to report wrongdoing.

When employees come forward with information about wrongdoing, managers commit to:

  • protecting the dignity, wellbeing, career interests and good name of all persons involved
  • protecting the discloser from any adverse action taken as a result of making the disclosure
  • dealing with any bullying, harassment, unfair treatment, victimisation or discrimination that results from a disclosure as a breach of QTC’s disciplinary procedures
  • responding to the disclosure thoroughly and impartially
  • taking appropriate action to deal with wrongdoing, and
  • keeping the discloser informed of progress and the outcome.

 

  1. A communication strategy for raising employee awareness about PIDs and QTC’s PID policy and procedures

QTC recognises that critical to the success of its PID Management Plan is employee awareness of the Plan and associated procedures. QTC’s communication strategy involves the following:

  • periodically preparing an intranet article that reconfirms QTC’s commitment to the PID Act, as well as other information and reminders about QTC’s PID reporting system
  • publishing a copy of the PID Manual on QTC’s intranet, and
  • conducting annual training for employees on the PID policy and procedure.

 

  1. A training strategy for employees

QTC recognises the importance of providing training to employees on PID issues and ensuring that ongoing training is provided.

All employees will be required to attend training that will cover:

  • how to identify wrongdoing
  • how to make a PID
  • the support and protection to be afforded to disclosers, and
  • how PIDs will be managed by QTC.

 

  1. The appointment of a nominated officer to be responsible for issues related to the management of PIDs

The Compliance Officer is the nominated officer responsible for issues related to the management of PIDs.

The Compliance Officer has:

  • direct access to the Chief Executive in relation to PID matters
  • delegated authority to appropriately manage PIDs, and
  • access to resources to allow for the proper management of PIDs.

 

  1. Effective systems and procedures for issues arising from PIDs to inform improvements to service delivery, business processes and internal controls

At the conclusion of a PID investigation, the Compliance Officer is responsible for assessing whether any change is needed to QTC’s policies and procedures or internal controls. The Compliance Officer will report to the Chief Executive with any recommendation for appropriate change.

  1. A mechanism for regular evaluation and monitoring of the effectiveness of PID policies and procedures

The Compliance Officer, as the nominated officer responsible for issues related to the management of PIDs, will conduct a regular review of the effectiveness of QTC’s PID Management Plan and Policy.