Public interest disclosures

In some circumstances, a complaint may be considered as a public interest disclosure (previously known as a protected disclosure or 'whistleblower' complaint).

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.

Changes to the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (PID Act) mean that we must notify the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) of the complaint and refer it to IBAC for assessment. After assessment, it can be referred back to us for investigation because the Chief Municipal Inspector is an investigating entity under the PID Act.

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 the disclosure (your complaint) is not a public interest disclosure (see section 19(1) of the PID Act).

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.

Submit an online complaint

Public interest disclosure coordinators: download our fact sheet 

Reviewed 24 August 2020

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