Provides a process for the management of TAFE Queensland public interest disclosures.
TAFE Queensland is dedicated to promoting the public interest by facilitating disclosures of wrongdoing. TAFE Queensland will ensure that public interest disclosures (PIDs) are correctly assessed and, when appropriate, thoroughly investigated and dealt with in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld).
TAFE Queensland will also ensure that suitable protections are provided to employees who make disclosures about suspected wrongdoing to a proper authority within TAFE Queensland, in accordance with the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service and the Working with TAFE: Conduct, Ethics and Performance Policy, and that appropriate consideration is given to the interests of employees who are subject to a PID.
The Chief Human Resources Officer is accountable for ensuring the management and maintenance of this procedure, including ensuring its continued appropriateness to the business, compliance with legislation and external requirements, and periodic review.
TAFE Queensland Executives are responsible for administering PID's under the terms of this procedure.
3.1 This policy applies to TAFE Queensland's;
Making a Public Interest Disclosure:
4.1 A PID can be made verbally or in writing to a proper authority, and may also be provided anonymously.
4.2 An anonymous disclosure will be treated in the same way as disclosures made by individuals who identify themselves when making the disclosure. It should be noted, however, that anonymous disclosures are often more difficult to investigate.
4.3 Where an employee receives a public PID it should be forwarded to the Chief Human Resource Officer (this may occur through a regional Human Resources/People and Culture team or Executive as appropriate).
4.4 TAFE Queensland's preferred avenues for receiving PID's are:
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By post: Chief Human Resources Officer
PO Box 15033, City East Qld 4002
Phone: (07) 3514 3648
4.5 Any person can disclose information if they honestly believe the information they have is about:
4.6 A public officer (employee) may also make a disclosure about the conduct of another person that, if proven, could be considered:
4.7 A person must not intentionally make false and misleading disclosures. Discloser protections are not extended to those who intentionally make a PID that they know is false. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) imposes sentences of up to two years imprisonment for such offences and, in addition, an employee who makes a false, misleading or vexatious disclosure may be subject to disciplinary action.
4.8 Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) a discloser may make a PID to a journalist if they have already made essentially the same disclosure to a public sector entity that is a 'proper authority' and:
Assessment and Management of Public Interest Disclosures:
4.9 Upon receipt of a disclosure of information by a proper authority that potentially could be a PID, the proper authority is to notify the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) as soon as practicable. All relevant material or evidence relating to the disclosure should be forwarded along with the disclosure.
4.10 The existence of a PID does not preclude a manager from taking reasonable management action.
4.11 The CHRO will assess whether the complaint constitutes a PID and determine the most appropriate action to deal with the disclosure:
4.12 The CHRO will provide written outcome advice, including any action taken and reasons for the decision, to the PID discloser. This includes a decision not to take further action.
Risk Assessment, Support and Protection from Reprisals:
4.13 Upon receipt of a PID, the CHRO and the WSO will conduct a risk assessment to determine the level of protection and support required in relation to the risk of reprisal against the discloser and others associated with the discloser.
4.14 An individual may make a PID if they believe that a person has caused, attempted to cause or conspired to cause detriment to another person in the belief that the person or someone else has made, or intends to make, a PID.
4.15 The WSO will contact the discloser and provide written advice of:
4.16 The CHRO will implement appropriate protective measures including, but not limited to, suspension or temporary relocation.
4.17 The WSO will provide regular follow-up contact by agreement with the discloser and, where safe to do so, maintain records of the details of all PIDs.
4.18 The discloser must advise the nominated internal WSO or manager if they believe that reprisal action is being or has been taken against them.
4.19 If notified that reprisal action may be or has been taken, the CHRO will refer the matter to the CCC for assessment and advise as to the action to be taken. The WSO will then make contact with the discloser to review the risk of reprisal and implement any necessary protective measures.
4.20 An allegation of reprisal action will be managed as a PID and/or disciplinary matter in its own right.
4.21 Any person who acquires confidential information as a result of their involvement with a PID must not make a record of or disclose the information to anyone other than:
Chief Executive Officer:
5.1 Model ethical behaviour and foster an environment that supports employees to make PID's.
5.2 Ensure appropriate training, and awareness strategies and control systems are implemented to effectively prevent and efficiently respond to suspected wrongdoing, including matters of suspected corrupt conduct.
5.3 Ensure the legislative requirements of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) are met.
Chief Human Resources Officer:
5.4 Ensure that all legislative obligations in relation to reporting and investigation are met.
5.5 Report on PID data to the Queensland Ombudsman, as the oversight agency, when required.
5.6 Oversee the collection and recording of pertinent information into the relevant database.
5.7 Provide recommendations arising from PID investigations to the relevant parties.
5.8 Assess disclosures to determine if the information meets the PID criteria.
5.9 Determine appropriate action to be taken in relation to the disclosure.
5.10 Appoint an Investigator and/or Witness Support Officer as required.
5.11 Ensure the PID is managed in a timely manner and in accordance with the legislative requirements.
5.12 Ensure any relevant policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and that PID outcomes inform improvements.
Witness Support Officer:
5.13 Provide the discloser with appropriate communication.
5.14 Act as a first point of contact for the discloser.
5.15 Provide appropriate support and protection to the discloser.
5.16 Maintain and demonstrate a workplace culture that values positive ethical standards, professionalism, integrity and diligence, and creates a supportive reporting environment that encourages employees to report concerns about wrongdoing.
5.17 Provide appropriate confidential support to employees who report suspected wrongdoing.
5.18 Implement appropriate controls to prevent harm to TAFE Queenslandâs assets and resources.
5.19 Take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of reprisal and monitor the workplace for any signs of detrimental action towards the discloser.
Employee (Public Officer):
5.20 Immediately report a matter to a proper authority, if they honestly believe that some wrongdoing has occurred.
5.21 Be prepared to assist in an investigation of the PID if requested by the investigator to provide information.
5.22 Understand that making a vexatious report may result in disciplinary action being taken.
5.23 Advise the Witness Support Officer if they believe that reprisal action is being taken or is likely to be taken against a discloser.
Under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 conduct assessed against all four of the following criteria:
An action that was:
A public sector entity (as defined in section 6 of the PID Act) through a chief executive, a member of a HR unit, a General Manager or other person in a management position within TAFE Queensland; an entity with authority to investigate or remedy (e.g. CCC or Queensland Ombudsman); or a member of the Legislative Assembly.
Public Interest Disclosure (PID):
A report of a suspected wrongdoing or danger. For a report to be considered a PID and attract the protections outlined in the Act, it must be an appropriate disclosure about public interest information. A disclosure of information can be made by any person whether an employee or a member of the public. The disclosure must be made to a proper authority.
Causing, attempting or conspiring to cause detriment to another person because or in the belief that:
Witness Support Officer:
A member of the HR team designated by the CHRO to act as a liaison with witnesses.