What is a public interest disclosure
A public interest disclosure is a disclosure about wrongdoing in the public sector that serves the public interest. For an allegation to be considered a public interest disclosure under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (PID Act) it must be:
- public interest information about serious wrongdoing or danger
- an appropriate disclosure
- made to a proper authority.
We manage public interest disclosures in line with the Management of Public Interest Disclosures - Darling Downs Health procedure [PDF 196 kB].
What is an appropriate disclosure
An appropriate disclosure is where:
- the discloser has an honest and reasonable belief that 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 or bald allegations.
Sufficient information should be provided so that the agency assessing the disclosure understands what happened. This information might include:
- What happened?
- Where did the events take place?
- When (time and date) did the events take place? If there are multiple events, providing a timeline of events outlining how they are connected can be helpful.
- Who was involved?
- Why what happened is wrong - i.e. what laws/ policies/ procedures haven’t been followed?
- Were there any witnesses to these events? What are their details?
- Any supporting information/ documents that might be relevant to help understand the disclosure
- Any action that has been taken to resolve the disclosure.
The discloser is not required to undertake any investigative action before making a disclosure, and does not need to provide any evidence.
Information may still be a disclosure under the PID Act even if the information turns out to be incorrect or unable to be substantiated provided the discloser had a genuine and reasonable belief that it did occur. This allows for genuine misinterpretations of information to fall within the scope of the PID Act.
Who can make a public interest disclosure
Any person, including a public sector officer, can make a public interest disclosure about:
- substantial and specific danger to the health or safety of a person with a disability
- substantial and specific danger to the environment caused by commission of an offence or contravention of a condition in certain environmental legislation
- reprisal that occurs after he making of a public interest disclosure.
If you work for Darling Downs Health or another public sector agency, you can also make a public interest disclosure about:
- corrupt conduct
- maladministration that adversely affects a person's interests in a substantial and specific way
- a substantial misuse of public resources
- a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety
- a substantial and specific danger to the environment.
How to make a disclosure
If you are a staff member, you are encouraged to make any disclosure to your manager or supervisor in the first instance.
Employees can also make a disclosure to a member of the Human Resources team, a member of the Executive Management Team or a member of the Darling Downs Health Board.
Members of the public are encouraged to make disclosures through the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Coordinator. You can contact the PID Coordinator by:
- phoning 07 4699 8062
- emailing email@example.com
- writing to PO Box 405, Toowoomba Qld 4350.
Disclosures can also be made directly to:
- the Crime and Corruption Commission
- the Queensland Ombudsman
- a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly.
We encourage anyone who believes they’ve witnessed wrongdoing to come forward and make a disclosure.
Disclosures can also be made anonymously.
We have an obligation to deal with wrongdoing and want members of the public and staff to feel confident and comfortable making a disclosure. Darling Downs Health is committed to fostering an ethical, transparent culture by creating an environment that encourages the disclosure of wrongdoing.
Our employees have an ethical responsibility to disclose wrongdoing. Section 9 of Queensland's Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 places an obligation on all employees to disclose fraud, corruption and maladministration.
The obligation to report wrongdoing is also reflected in Principle 1 of the Queensland Public Service Code of Conduct.
We believe staff who come forward with disclosures of wrongdoing are acting as exemplary organisational citizens by assisting us in promoting openness, accountability and good management.