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Policy statement

The department takes reports of wrongdoing seriously. We are committed to building a ‘speak up’ culture where individuals are encouraged to report any conduct that they believe on reasonable grounds tends to show serious wrongdoing.

What is whistleblowing?

A whistleblower, also known as a reporter, is a person who provides information and exposes serious wrongdoing within an organisation in the hope of stopping it.

Whistleblowing plays a crucial role in managing risk and cultivating an ethical culture, and is an effective way of uncovering potential serious wrongdoing including misconduct, fraud and corruption.

Our obligations

There are two key legislative requirements the department must comply with in relation to whistleblowers.

  1. The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022 protects public officials who report public sector wrongdoing under certain circumstances.
  2. The Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 protects individuals who provide the Commission with information about suspected corrupt conduct or assist it in other ways.

The department is committed to protecting the confidentiality of persons reporting serious wrongdoing, including misconduct, fraud and corruption if there is a genuine fear of reprisal or detriment.

Your obligations

As an organisation contracted by us, you’ve agreed to maintain policies that are consistent with the intent of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022 (PID Act) and Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

The PID Act 2022 considers service providers and their staff in the definition of a ‘public official‘. This includes subcontractors, consultants and volunteers who are contracted to deliver services on behalf of the department.

Provisions in contracts require you to report allegations, and known incidents and serious wrongdoing to your contract manager regardless of whether a contract was entered into before or after 1 October 2023.

You must ensure your staff, volunteers, subcontractors, and consultants engaged to deliver services or exercise functions on behalf of the department, are aware of your policies and procedures and that under the expanded definition of the PID Act they are considered ‘public officials’.

The PID Act entitles and encourages these persons to make protected public interest disclosures (PID) of ‘serious wrongdoing’ to your DCJ contract manager,  DCJ PID officer or appropriate integrity agency, without going through their own supervisor or manager.

Your policies and procedures for a whistleblowing program should align to best practice and would generally include:

  • a clear statement of commitment to enable the reporting of wrongdoing and to encourage whistleblowing
  • multiple reporting options, including senior and non-senior staff, a direct line to the governing body, and/or an accessible and independent external contact
  • provisions to protect whistleblowers, including confidentiality of information provided, maintaining their anonymity, and protecting them against litigation, reprisals and victimisation
  • a process for investigating allegations and referrals from external parties, including notifying the department of a voluntary public interest disclosure, as well as any serious wrongdoing committed, or alleged to be committed, by an individual providing services for or on behalf of DCJ.

Resources to assist you

These resources will assist your organisation to develop a fit-for-purpose whistleblowing policy and procedure that accords with best practice.

Whistleblowing policy, Justice Connect, Not-for-profit Law

Whistleblowing policy and article, Institute of Community Directors Australia

Whistleblowing program checklist, Your Call Whistleblowing Solutions

Whistleblowing management systems – Guidelines (AS ISO 37002:2023), SAI Global Australia

Whistleblowing, Australian Securities and Investment Commission

Guidelines for public interest disclosures, NSW Ombudsman

Public Interest Disclosures policy, Department of Communities and Justice

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Last updated: 21 Dec 2023