How is the PID Bill different to the old PID Act? I need a simple summary of the changes

Early in the implementation process, the NSW Ombudsman will provide a comparison of the PID Act and the PID Bill on our website. We will advise agencies through our PID eNews when this is available. The Bill:

  • is simpler and easier to navigate
  • contains fewer trip hazards for would-be whistleblowers, including by expanding the permissible recipients of PIDs to include a person’s manager, and by protecting PIDs even if they are made to the wrong agency
  • provides more comprehensive protections, including for witnesses and those involved in investigating PIDs
  • imposes clear duty on agencies to take appropriate steps to deal with the disclosures they receive
  • introduces enhanced measures to encourage a ‘speak up culture’ within agencies, for example by enhanced requirements around policies and training
  • facilitates more comprehensive and meaningful reporting of data about PIDs.

How will this improve whistleblower protections?

The new Bill addresses many of the weaknesses in the existing PID Act. Find more information about these changes in the Ombudsman’s Special Report.

What is the timing for the new Bill?

The Bill was introduced into the NSW Legislative Council on 14 October 2021.

The Bill has been referred to a Legislative Council Parliamentary Committee, which is due to report back on 15 November. If the bill is passed by Parliament, both agencies and our office will need to do a considerable amount of preparation before the Bill commences. For this reason, the Bill provides for a commencement date up to 18 months after assent.

Our office is working on an implementation timetable. We will need to:

  • develop and issue comprehensive new public and agency guidelines, reporting tools and templates
  • roll out new reporting, notification and conciliation functions
  • completely revise our training material, including the manner of delivering training to ensure greatest efficiency and reach.

We will communicate with agencies about when these resources will be available. We will ensure we provide agencies with a sufficient lead time to allow them to prepare for the Bill’s commencement.

What do I need to do/know right now to prepare for the Bill? What do I need to do in the future?

We will communicate with agencies about what they need to do and when through our website and our PID eNews. Our PID e News will provide updates about our implementation timetable and new resources.

Agencies should ensure that relevant staff subscribe to our PID eNews.

Agencies may also wish to begin familiarising themselves with key provisions of the new Bill. Our Special Report contains an initial assessment of the key changes. We will be publishing a more detailed guide to the key differences between the PID Act and PID Bill on our website.

What are my obligations before the Bill comes into force?

While it is important to prepare for the new Bill, it is also important for agencies to remember that until it is commenced, they must continue to comply with the requirements of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (PID Act). For example, agencies must continue to:

  • Receive, assess and handle reports of wrongdoing that meet the definition of a ‘public interest disclosure’ under the PID Act.
  • Submit returns to the Ombudsman every six months.
  • Raise awareness of the internal reporting system in their agency with public officials (this includes staff, contractors and volunteers).
  • Ensure that nominated disclosure officers are aware of their role in dealing with reports from staff, including those that are assessed as public interest disclosures.

What support will the NSW Ombudsman provide?

To support agencies to prepare for the new Bill we will:

  • Provide regular updates on the new legislation through the PID eNews.
  • Provide information as it becomes available on the Ombudsman’s website.
  • Share our plans for preparing new guidelines, fact sheets, e-learning modules and training packages for the new legislation and making these available to agencies.
  • Provide information about how and when public officials get more information about the PID Bill and on how to use the new resource packages that are made available.

To support agencies with their ongoing obligations in the PID Act we will:

  • Continue to provide access to guidelines and fact sheets that relate to the current PID Act.
  • Upload information that agencies can use now to support them with their awareness raising activities under the current legislation, including resources for training.
  • Continue to provide advice and assistance to agencies on the current PID Act through pid@ombo.nsw.gov.au.

Contact us for more information

Level 24,
580 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Toll free (outside Sydney metro) 1800 451 524 
Email nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au
Web www.ombo.nsw.gov.au

National Relay Service 133 677
Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) 131 450
We can arrange an interpreter through TIS or you can contact TIS yourself before speaking to us.

©  State of New South Wales, October  2021,
This publication is released under a Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0.

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