Public interest disclosures are vital to ensure integrity of the Victorian public service, including councils, and fight corruption.
If your complaint shows or tends to show that a councillor or member of council staff has engaged or proposes to engage in improper conduct, this could constitute a public interest disclosure.
The Public Interest Disclosures Act (PID Act) sets out what a public interest disclosure is, how it must be handled and what protections you have if you report improper conduct and corruption.
When you make a complaint with us, you will be asked if your complaint is a public interest disclosure. Sometimes, we receive complaints that look like they may be improper conduct and will ask you if you want your complaint treated as a public interest disclosure.
If you do want your complaint handed as a public interest disclosure, we must notify the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and refer the complaint to IBAC for assessment. After it is assessed, the complaint could be referred back to us for investigation because the Chief Municipal Inspector is an investigating entity under the PID Act.
What legal protections do disclosers receive?
If your complaint is assessed as a public interest disclosure:
- your name will not be publicised
- you and your family, friends and colleagues will be protected from being fired or bullied for making a complaint
- you will receive protection from defamation and detrimental action in reprisal for making a public interest disclosure
- you will receive immunity from:
- civil or criminal liability as well as administrative action (including disciplinary action) for making the disclosure
- committing an offence under the Constitution Act 1975 (Vic) or any other Act that imposes obligations of confidentiality or otherwise restricts the disclosure of information
- breaching any other obligation (made by oath or rule of law or practice) requiring the maintenance of confidentiality or otherwise restricting the disclosure of information
You can choose to have us assess the complaint if you tell us that your complaint is not a public interest disclosure (see section 19(1) of the PID ).
Any complaint made to the Inspectorate is dealt with in strict confidence. We will also respond to your complaint as soon as practicable.
If you'd like us to consider your complaint, you must fill in the relevant section on the complaint form to agree that your complaint is not a public interest disclosure.
We have published a fact sheet which provides more information about public interest disclosures and how we handle them.
Read the online fact sheet
Print the fact sheet
Reviewed 15 March 2023