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Purpose

To provide information about how to make an appropriate disclosure of public interest information in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018 (SA) (the PID Act).

Scope

This procedure applies to members of the public and public officers as defined in Schedule 1 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (SA).

Detail

Step 1: Determining if your disclosure is appropriate

In order to make an appropriate disclosure of public interest information you need to:

  •  determine whether the information you have is public interest information
  • what type of public interest information it is
  • determine who you should disclose the information to (i.e. who the relevant authorities are)
  • understand if you will be protected under the PID Act.

Section 5 of the PID Act sets out what an appropriate disclosure of public interest information is and specifies the relevant authorities that can receive disclosures of public interest information. Also see 'Appendix 1: Public interest information and disclosures'.

Step 2: Making a disclosure

If you want to make an appropriate disclosure of public interest information related to the Education Standards Board or an Education Standards Board public officer you have a number of options including:

1. You can contact the Office for Public Integrity (OPI)

OPI is a relevant authority to receive disclosures of public administration information or environmental and health information regarding the Education Standards Board, Education Standards Board public officers or public sector employees.

You should make a complaint or report to OPI if you think a South Australian public officer has broken the law or acted in a way that is seriously inappropriate or negligent. A short quiz has been developed which can guide you in determining if something should be reported to OPI or ICAC.

2. You can contact the Education Standards Board (ESB) responsible officer

The ESB responsible officer can provide you with advice and assistance. The ESB responsible officer is a relevant authority to receive disclosures of public administration information regarding the Education Standards Board, Education Standards Board public officers or public sector employees.

You can make an appropriate disclosure of public interest information by:

Email: esb.pid [at] sa.gov.au   

OR

Post: ESB Responsible Officer: Public Interest Disclosure

Education Standards Board
GPO Box 1811
Adelaide SA 5001

Mark the envelope private and confidential.

Upon receiving the disclosure, the ESB responsible officer, will ensure:

  • that the information is securely received and not divulged to other parties
  • only responsible officers will be able to access the information (with appropriate ICT security measures).

The Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring compliance with these steps.

3. Contact the person’s manager or supervisor

If your disclosure of public administration information relates to an Education Standards Board public officer or public sector employee, the person responsible for the management or supervision of that Education Standards Board public officer or public sector employee is also a relevant authority and you can disclose to them. The manager or supervisor will then contact the ESB responsible officer without disclosing your identity. 

4. Contact the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment

The Commissioner for Public Sector Employment is a relevant authority to receive disclosures of public administration information regarding the Education Standards Board and Education Standards Board public sector employees.

When making the disclosure of information, if you are revealing your identity, you have rights set out below about being kept informed. Please speak to the relevant authority about how you wish to be contacted by them. It is important that keeping you informed is done in a way that maintains strict confidentiality. Decide together how they will keep you informed.

It is better to be kept informed in writing, although this is not a requirement.

Step 3: Assessment of disclosure

Once you make an appropriate disclosure of public interest information in accordance with Section 5 of the PID Act, the person to whom you made the appropriate disclosure must take certain steps as set out in Section 7 of the PID Act.

This includes (amongst other things) taking reasonable steps to notify you (as the informant, provided your identity is known) that an assessment of the information has been made and to advise you (as the informant) of either:

  • the action being taken in relation to the information (Section 7(1)(b)(i)); or
  •  if no action is being taken in relation to the information, of the reasons why no action is being taken in relation to the information (Section 7(1)(b)(ii)).

The action being taken in relation to the information can include referring it to another person. If the action being taken is referring it to another person, then your identity may be disclosed as part of that referral, provided revealing your identity is necessary for the purpose of investigating the disclosure.

If any action is being taken in relation to the information, then the person you disclosed the information to (or the person it has been referred to) must take reasonable steps to notify you (as the informant, if your identity is known) of the outcome of that action (Section 7(3)(a)).

However, if you make an appropriate disclosure of public interest information to a Minister of the Crown, the requirements set out above from Section 7 do not apply.

The following provisions apply instead:

  • the Minister must, as soon as practicable, refer the disclosure to a relevant authority; and
  • the relevant authority must:

- deal with the information in accordance with Section 7 (as if the disclosure had been made to the relevant authority in the first place); and

-  ensure that the Minister is notified of the action taken under Section 7 in relation to the information and the outcome of such action.

Step 4: Action to be taken

Section 7 of the PID Act requires the person to whom an appropriate disclosure of public interest information is made to take certain actions and notify OPI in accordance with the PID Guidelines. This is set out in more detail below.

Section 7(2) provides that no action need be taken in relation to an appropriate disclosure of public interest information if:

  • the information disclosed does not justify the taking of further action; or
  • the information disclosed relates to a matter that has already been investigated or acted upon by a relevant authority and there is no reason to re-examine the matter or there is other good reason why no action should be taken in respect of the matter.

The requirements set out above from Section 7 do not apply where an appropriate disclosure of public interest information is made to a journalist or a member of Parliament (see below).

Timeframes

You should receive notification of the action being taken (or the reasons for no action being taken) within 30 days after making that disclosure.

You should also receive notification of the outcome of the action within 90 days after making that disclosure. However, the person whom you notified can give you a written notice saying that this period of time will be longer.

Under these procedures, it is preferred that notifications are provided to you in writing but under the PID Act this is not a requirement. You will be contacted to agree on a preferred method of communication.

Disclosure to a journalist or member of parliament

In accordance with Section 6 of the PID Act, if you have:

  • made an appropriate disclosure of public interest information in accordance with Section 5; and
  • if you have made your identity known to the person to whom that appropriate disclosure was made (that is, they can contact you);

you have certain rights.

If the above applies, and if after 30 days or 90 days (or such other longer period specified in writing) you have not been notified as required, you are entitled to receive the protections under the PID Act if you make an appropriate disclosure of the public interest information to a journalist or member of parliament (other than a Minister of the Crown, as Ministers of the Crown are already relevant authorities under the PID Act).

Under the PID Act, journalist means a person engaged in the profession or occupation of journalism in connection with the publication of information in a news medium.

Concerns about the action taken

If you are concerned or believe (as an informant) that your appropriate disclosure is not being dealt with by the Education Standards Board appropriately:

  • If your appropriate disclosure of public interest information was made to a relevant authority in the Education Standards Board other than a responsible officer, please contact the ESB responsible officer. Responsible officers have obligations under the PID Act and will be able to assist you.
  • If your appropriate disclosure was made to the ESB responsible officer, contact other relevant authorities such as OPI or the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment.

If you are concerned or suspect (as an informant) that you may have been or will be the subject of detriment on the grounds of having made, or being about to make, an appropriate disclosure of public interest information, you are encouraged to report that suspicion.

  • Please raise your concerns or suspicions with the ESB responsible officer.
  • If your concerns relate to the way in which the ESB responsible officer is handling your matter, you might want to contact other relevant authorities such as OPI or the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment.

Appendix 1: Public interest information and disclosures

There are two types of public interest information:

  • environmental and health information
  • public administration information.

Disclosures of environmental and health information

What is environmental and health information?

Environmental and health information means information that raises a potential issue of a substantial risk to the environment or to the health and safety of the public generally or a significant section of the public (whether occurring before or after the commencement of the PID Act).

Who can make a disclosure of environmental and health information?

Anyone can make a disclosure of environmental and health information.

However, to gain protections under the PID Act, a person who makes a disclosure of environmental and health information:

  • must believe on reasonable grounds that the information is true; or
  • not being in a position to form such a belief, believes on reasonable grounds that the information may be true and is of sufficient significance to justify its disclosure so that its truth may be investigated

A disclosure made to a relevant authority is referred to as an appropriate disclosure of environmental and health information for the purposes of the PID Act.

The Education Standards Board is not the most appropriate authority to receive disclosures of environmental and health information.

Disclosure of public administration information

What is public administration information?

Public administration information means information that raises a potential issue of corruption, misconduct or maladministration in public administration (whether occurring before or after the commencement of the PID Act).

The definitions of corruption, misconduct and maladministration in public administration are the same as those found in the ICAC Act and can be found in the appendices to PID Guidelines.

 A disclosure of public administration information that is accompanied by such a suspicion is referred to as an appropriate disclosure of public administration information for the purposes of the PID Act.

Who can make a disclosure of public administration information?

While anyone can make a disclosure of public administration information, only public officers who make such a disclosure are eligible for the protections provided by the PID Act.

 The term public officer is defined in Schedule 1 of the ICAC Act.

The most common categories of public officer can be found in the appendices to the PID Guidelines (see the PID Guidelines).

Who can receive a disclosure of environmental and health information or public administration information?

There are a number of relevant authorities that can receive disclosures relating to environmental and health information or public administration information.

Whether a disclosure of public interest information is made to a relevant authority depends on the type of information being disclosed and what or who the information relates to.

Section 5(5) of the PID Act specifies the relevant authorities that can receive disclosure of public interest information.

 The list of relevant authorities is also included in the appendices to the PID guidelines.