Who can receive a PID

For a person to be protected by the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (PID Act), they need to make their public interest disclosure (PID) to the right person.

Your agency’s internal reporting policy should include information about who can receive a PID within your agency.

Internal reporting options

The principal officer – or head of your agency – has overall responsibility for the PID program and a statutory obligation to receive reports of wrongdoing directly from staff, should staff choose this pathway. We also suggest agencies nominate:

  • a PID coordinator – person responsible for coordinating the assessment and management of PIDs
  • numerous disclosure officers – people nominated in the internal reporting policy to receive PIDs.

Research shows that staff are most likely to raise concerns initially with their manager or supervisor. When a report is made to a manager or supervisor who is not a disclosure officer, the staff member’s report is not a PID. Managers and supervisors should identify reports made to them about conduct which could be a PID and assist the staff member to make the report to an officer authorised to receive PIDs under their internal reporting policy.

Under many codes of conduct, staff have a responsibility to report known or suspected wrongdoing within their agency. All staff should familiarise themselves with their agency’s code of conduct, as well as any other internal policies which impose obligations to report certain types of conduct.

All staff should know where to locate their agency’s internal reporting policy and list of staff nominated internally to receive reports about serious wrongdoing.

There are other reporting options for PIDs.

External reporting options

Public officials can make PIDs to the agency to which the report relates – even if it is not the agency the public official works for – or to an external investigating authority.

The PID Act lists several investigating authorities in NSW that staff can report wrongdoing to and the type of wrongdoing each authority can deal with. Investigating authorities will assess whether a report of wrongdoing made by a public official is a PID.

Internal reporting policies should explain the external reporting options.

Details of external authorities:

Type of wrongdoing

External investigating authority

Corrupt conduct

Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)


NSW Ombudsman

Corrupt conduct, maladministration, or serious and substantial waste of public money by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) Inspector and the ICAC Inspector

NSW Ombudsman

Serious and substantial waste of public money by the Audit Office

NSW Ombudsman

Serious and substantial waste

NSW Audit Office

Government information contravention

Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC)

Wrongdoing (corrupt conduct, maladministration, serious and substantial waste, government information contravention) in local councils

Office of Local Government (OLG)

Pecuniary interest contravention

Office of Local Government (OLG)

Reports involving NSW Police

Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC)

Reports involving the LECC

Inspector of the LECC

Reports involving the ICAC

Inspector of the ICAC

Reports involving Local Government entities or their staff

Office of Local Government (OLG)

For definitions of the types of wrongdoing covered under the PID Act, see Assessing whether a report is a PID.

For guidance on the reporting pathways for PIDs, see Guideline C6 - Managing interactions with investigating authorities.

Other reporting pathways

In certain circumstances, the PID Act protects people when they report to a Member of Parliament (MP) or journalist. This is not an alternative to reporting to an agency or investigating authority. It can only be done after you have made a report to one of those entities, and where other conditions are satisfied. See Guideline B5 - Reporting to Members of Parliament and journalists.

All three of the following conditions need to be met for the protections to apply:

  1. The reporter must have made substantially the same report to an agency or investigating authority

    Substantially the same report must have already been made to either:

    • the principal officer of their agency – or the agency to which the report replaces – or a person nominated in their agency’s internal reporting policy to receive reports
    • an investigating authority.
  2. Investigation or action following the report is inadequate

    The agency or the investigating authority that received the initial report must have either:

    • decided not to investigate the matter
    • decided to investigate the matter, but not completed the investigation within 6 months of the original report
    • investigated the matter but not recommended any action as a result
    • not told the person who made the report, within 6 months of the report being made, whether the matter will be investigated.
  3. The report must be substantially true

Not only must the reporter have reasonable grounds for believing the report is substantially true – the report needs to be substantially true. In practice this means that there must actually be wrongdoing, not just a suspicion of wrongdoing.

The NSW Ombudsman can also take complaints about how a PID has been dealt with.

Tips for an effective PID assessment

  • The PID assessment occurs prior to the commencement of any investigation.
  • Reporters are not required to state they are making a PID.
  • If the reporter is anonymous, assess whether the content of the report – including level of detail, type of information, and so on – indicates that the reporter is likely to be a current public official.
  • You should deal with any internal reports that are not assessed as PIDs through the appropriate internal processes.

For guidance on your responsibilities when receiving and assessing a PID, see:

For definitions of the types of wrongdoing covered under the PID Act, see Assessing whether a report is a PID.

Get help

The NSW Ombudsman provides advice and assistance with handling PIDs and understanding the PID Act. Contact our Public Interest Disclosure Unit on 02 9286 1000 or email pid@ombo.nsw.gov.au