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Make a complaint about corrupt or improper conduct at Department of Premier and Cabinet (public interest disclosure)

Anyone has the right to make a complaint or allegation about corrupt or improper conduct by a DPC staff member without fear of reprisal.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (PID Act) is designed to help people make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector. The PID Act aims to make the public sector more open and accountable by encouraging people to make disclosures and protecting them when they do.

This page provides an overview of how members of the public can make a public interest disclosure to DPC. For more detailed information, download DPC’s Guide to Making and Handling Public Interest Disclosures: Procedures for the Department of Premier and Cabinet:

Note that parts of this Guide are only relevant to DPC staff.

What can I make a public interest disclosure about?

You can make a public interest disclosure about:

  • improper conduct (including corrupt conduct); or
  • detrimental action against another person in reprisal for a public interest disclosure
  • by a person, public officer or public body.

These terms are defined by the PID Act and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (IBAC Act).

Examples of improper conduct include:

  • a department employee takes a bribe or receives a payment other than their wages in exchange for the discharge of a public duty;
  • a department employee discloses confidential information to assist a former colleague to win a government contract;
  • a public officer favours unmeritorious applications for jobs or permits by friends and relatives

Examples of detrimental action include:

  • a public body demotes, transfers, isolates in the workplace or changes the duties of a person in reprisal for that person having made a public interest disclosure
  • a person threatens, abuses or carries out other forms of harassment directly or indirectly against the person, or their family or friends, in reprisal for that person having made a public interest disclosure
  • a public body discriminates against the person who makes a public interest disclosure, or their family or friends, in subsequent applications for jobs in reprisal for that person having made a public interest disclosure

How do I make a public interest disclosure?

Public interest disclosures:

  • can be made by any individual (but not a business or company)
  • can be made verbally or in writing
  • can be made anonymously

Who can I make a public interest disclosure to?

Public interest disclosures can be made to the public body’s Public Interest Disclosure Coordinators (contact details below), the Secretary of DPC, to your manager or executive if you are a DPC staff member, or directly to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), the Victorian Ombudsman or the Victorian Inspectorate.

If you mistakenly make a disclosure to DPC that should have been made to another entity, DPC can redirect the disclosure to the correct entity.

IBAC, the Victorian Ombudsman and the Victorian Inspectorate can also receive public interest disclosures about the conduct of DPC and DPC staff.

These bodies can be contacted as follows:

IBAC

The Victorian Ombudsman

The Victorian Inspectorate

If you wish to make a public interest disclosure about a public body or public officer who is not employed by DPC, please refer to the information available on the IBAC website (on pages 5 and 6).

What happens after I make a disclosure?

If DPC determines that your disclosure may be a public interest disclosure for the purposes of the PID Act, DPC may determine that a disclosure is not a public interest disclosure if conduct in question is trivial, there no supporting or insufficient evidence or the information is found to be unreliable or to not be based on a reasonable belief.

Once DPC notifies IBAC of your public interest disclosure, IBAC makes a its own separate assessment as it must assess, within a reasonable time, whether your disclosure is a public interest complaint.

If IBAC determines that your disclosure is a public interest complaint, it must either to:

  • investigate the complaint
  • refer the complaint to another investigating entity (such as the Victorian Ombudsman or the Victorian Inspectorate)
  • dismiss the complaint (provided there are grounds for doing so)

Regardless of whether IBAC determines your disclosure is a public interest complaint or not, the PID Act protects you from detrimental action taken in reprisal for you making the disclosure.

If DPC determines that your disclosure may not be a public interest disclosure, it will notify you of this also within 28 days of you making the disclosure.  

DPC's Public Interest Disclosure Coordinators

Lewis Whittington
Senior Legal Advisor
Office of the General Counsel
GPO Box 4912
Melbourne Victoria 3001
Phone: 03 9651 1247
Email: lewis.whittington@dpc.vic.gov.au

Georgia McGeehan
Senior Legal Policy Adviser, Legislation and Policy
Office of the General Counsel
Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 4912
Melbourne Victoria 3001
Phone: 03 9651 1318
Email: georgia.r.mcgeehan@dpc.vic.gov.au

Caitlin Tobin
Policy Officer, Governance Branch
Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 4912
Melbourne Victoria 3001
Phone: 03 9651 6270
Email: caitlin.tobin@dpc.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 24 February 2021

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