Anyone has the right to make a complaint or allegation about corrupt or improper conduct by a public officer or body, including police misconduct. Unless the complaint or allegation is already in the public domain (e.g. in the media), it can be made as a protected disclosure. There are laws governing who organisations can receive protected disclosures about. For example, DPC cannot receive your complaint if it relates to employees of another government department.
The Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (PD Act) is designed to help people make disclosures about improper conduct within the public sector without fear of reprisal. The PD 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 protected disclosure to DPC. For more detailed information, download the Guide to Making a Protected Disclosure to DPC:
What can I make a protected disclosure about?
You can make a protected disclosure about:
- improper conduct (including corrupt conduct ); or
- detrimental action against another person in reprisal for a protected disclosure
by a person, public officer or public body.
These terms are defined by the PD 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 his or her 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 protected disclosure.
- A person threatens, abuses or carries out other forms of harassment directly or indirectly against the person, or his or her family or friends, in reprisal for that person having made a protected disclosure.
- A public body discriminates against the person who makes a protected disclosure, or his or her family or friends, in subsequent applications for jobs in reprisal for that person having made a protected disclosure.
How do I make a protected disclosure?
- can be made by any individual (but not a business or company)
- can be made verbally or in writing (but not by fax)
- can be made anonymously
- must be made in private.
Who can I make a protected disclosure to?
Protected disclosures can be made to the public body’s Protected Disclosure Coordinators, managers or executives or directly to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).
DPC’s Protected Disclosure Coordinators (contact details below) can only receive protected disclosures about DPC and its staff.
IBAC can also receive protected disclosures about the conduct of DPC and DPC staff. IBAC’s contact details are:
What happens after I make a disclosure?
If DPC determines that your disclosure may be a protected disclosure for the purposes of the PD Act, it will notify your disclosure to IBAC within 28 days of you making the disclosure. If this is happens, you must not tell anyone that your disclosure has been notified to IBAC.
If IBAC determines that your disclosure is a protected disclosure, it must decide either to:
- investigate your disclosure; or
- refer your disclosure to the Ombudsman or the Victorian Inspectorate; or
- dismiss your disclosure.
Regardless of whether IBAC determines your disclosure is a protected disclosure or not, the PD Act protects you from detrimental action taken in reprisal for you making the disclosure.
If DPC determines that your disclosure may not be a protected disclosure, it will notify you of this within 28 days of you making the disclosure. In this case, you may wish to consider making a complaint via DPC’s complaints handling process.
DPC's Protected Disclosure Coordinators
Reviewed 13 March 2019