A public interest disclosure (PID) enables any person, as well as public officers, to make protected disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (PID Act).
The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) is committed to fostering an ethical, transparent culture. In pursuit of this, the OIR values the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing in the public sector so that it can be properly assessed and, if necessary, appropriately investigated.
The Public Interest Disclosure Procedure (PDF, 397KB) of the OIR demonstrate the commitment of the agency to support an employee, or others, who make disclosures about matters in the public interest and ensures that practical and effective procedures are implemented.
This document is to be read in conjunction with the relevant pieces of legislation, and the Queensland Ombudsman's Public Interest Disclosure Standards.
Ethical Standards of the OIR has been delegated the authority to deal with public interest disclosures (PIDs).
What is a Public Interest Disclosure?
Under the PID Act, any person can make a disclosure about a:
- substantial and specific danger to the health or safety of a person with a disability;
- the commission of an offence, or contravention of a condition imposed under a provision of legislation mentioned in Schedule 2 of the PID Act, if the offence or contravention would be a substantial and specific danger to the environment; or
- reprisal because of a belief that a person has made, or intends to make, a disclosure.
In addition to the above, public sector officers can make a disclosure about the following public interest matters:
- 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; or
- substantial and specific danger to the environment.
A disclosure can have either a 'reasonable belief' that wrongdoing has occurred or provide evidence which tends to show the wrongdoing has occurred.
How to make a PID
A discloser can make a PID in any way, including anonymously, either verbally or in writing. However, if a disclosure is being made to a proper authority, and if that proper authority has a reasonable procedure, the disclosers should use that procedure to ensure it is assessed and appropriately dealt with. To assist in the assessment, and any subsequent investigation of a PID, disclosers are requested to:
- provide contact details (This could be an email address that is created for the purpose of making the disclosure or a telephone number);
- provide as much information as possible about the suspected wrongdoing, including;
- who was involved;
- what happened;
- when it happened;
- whether there were any witnesses, and if so, who they are;
- any evidence that supports the PID, and where the evidence is located;
- any further information that could help investigate the PID; and
- provide this information in writing.
It is an offence under the PID Act to intentionally give false or misleading information intending it be acted on as a PID. Employees may be subject to disciplinary action for intentionally giving false or misleading information in a PID, or during an investigation into a PID.
For more information regarding the process of a PID, please refer to the procedure (PDF, 397KB).
Support and protection
The OIR and Ethical Standards will take all concerns seriously and ensure privacy and confidentiality throughout the process.
The principles of natural justice and procedural fairness apply to all PID investigations, including providing support to all affected parties.
Disclosers should not suffer any form of detriment as a result of making a PID. The OIR and Ethical Standards are committed to protecting disclosers from reprisal. Upon receiving a PID, a risk assessment is conducted to assess the likelihood of the discloser (or witnesses or affected third parties) suffering reprisal action because of having made the disclosure. Public officers and clients of OIR can be confident of protection against reprisal and bullying. Support is also provided to those who are subject of a PID.
Need more information?
To lodge a PID in relation to the OIR, or for further information regarding PIDs, contact information is as follows:
(07) 3406 9811
Director (Ethical Standards)
The oversight agency for PIDs in relation to the OIR is the Queensland Ombudsman and further information and explanation with regards to the processes and procedures may be found on their website also.
You may also find the following documents of assistance:
Related Policies and Procedures
- Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service
- Office of Industrial Relations Public Interest Disclosure Procedure (PDF, 397KB)
- Public Interest Disclosure Standard No. 1/2019 - Public Interest Disclosure Management Program
- Public Interest Disclosure Standard No. 2/2019 - Assessing, Investigating and Dealing with Public Interest Disclosures
- Public Interest Disclosure Standard No. 3/2019 - Public Interest Disclosure Data Recording and Reporting
- Disclosure Fact Sheet 1: What is a disclosure (Queensland Ombudsman)
- Disclosure Fact sheet 2: Checklist for making a disclosure (Queensland Ombudsman)
- Disclosure Fact sheet 3: Discloser information and support (Queensland Ombudsman)