Developing your PID Policy guideline
What this guideline covers
Under section 42 of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022 (PID Act), all agencies must have a public interest disclosure (PID) policy.
Section 72 of the PID Act sets out the NSW Ombudsman’s functions under the PID Act. One of those functions is to publish guidelines and other materials to assist agencies with their functions under the PID Act.
This guideline contains a model PID policy (Model policy) which agencies can adopt, as well as guidance on developing their PID policy based on the Model Policy.
Agencies can alternatively develop their own PID policy not based on the Model policy, but if they do, they still must have regard to any relevant Ombudsman’s guidelines (including those set out in the Model policy).
How to use the Model Policy
How to use the Model Policy
If an agency uses the Model Policy, it should adapt the policy so that it is suitable for the agency’s context and aligns with the agency’s governance structures around policy development. This means an agency should consider:
- the agency’s agreed format and commonly used terms for internal policies
- the agency’s process for policy development (including consultation, approval and implementation)
- whether there is anything unique to the agency that needs to be included in the PID policy but is not in the Model Policy
- the agency’s established processes for dealing with public interest disclosures.
How to adapt the Model Policy to your agency's needs
How to adapt the Model Policy to your agency’s needs
Using the ‘Guidance’ sections throughout the Model Policy
These sections contain drafting guidance and examples of agency specific information that should be included in each section of the policy.
Agencies should consider existing relevant policies and procedures within the agency when adapting the Model Policy.
Agencies should also consider their staff and relevant volunteers, subcontractors and contractors to whom their policy will apply and ensure the language used in the PID policy will make sense to those people. This is an opportunity for agencies to add agency specific information that might assist the PID policy to be well understood, adopted and appropriately applied.
Aligning the PID policy with other relevant agency policies
The PID policy will be one of a suite of internal policy and procedures that an agency may have on how it deals with misconduct matters, internal grievances and complaints, integrity issues and code of conduct issues.
When adopting the Model Policy, agencies should ensure all relevant policies are aligned, consistent and use common language where possible.
Arrangements for other agencies or entities to exercise an agency’s PID functions
Under section 81 of the PID Act, an agency can arrange for:
- another agency to exercise its functions under the Act on behalf of the agency
- an entity, which is not an agency, to exercise some or all of the following functions or responsibilities on its behalf:
- the function of receiving voluntary PIDs
- the function of dealing with voluntary PIDs through investigation
- the agency’s responsibilities to ensure their staff are trained under the PID Act.
These details must be published prominently on the agency’s website and intranet, and notification of them given to the NSW Ombudsman.1
An agency can only enter into an arrangement with an entity that is not an agency if the arrangement is ‘in accordance’ with its PID policy.2
This means that the arrangements must be clearly provided for in the policy.
1. Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022, s 81(4).
2. Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022, s 81(3).
Summary of what must be included in an agency's PID policy
Summary of what must be included in an agency’s PID policy
If an agency chooses to develop its own PID policy it must ensure that the policy includes the mandatory information and procedures outlined in section 43 of the PID Act, and that it is developed having regard to relevant Ombudsman’s guidelines.
|Topic||Procedures that must be included in an agency’s PID policy|
|Acknowledging receipt of voluntary PIDs, providing information to makers of voluntary PIDs and dealing with voluntary PIDs|
Specify procedures for:
|Detail the agency’s procedures for assessing and minimising the risk of detrimental action, other than reasonable management action, being taken against a person as a result of a voluntary PID being made.|
|Detrimental action |
|Detail the agency’s procedures for dealing with allegations that a detrimental action offence has been committed by or against a public official associated with the agency.|
|Maintaining confidentiality and protections |
(s 43(1)(e) and (3))
Detail the agency’s procedures for maintaining confidentiality in relation to voluntary PIDs and protecting the identity of the makers of voluntary PIDs.
Include information about protections available under the PID Act to makers of voluntary, mandatory and witness PIDs.
|Specify the agency’s procedures for taking appropriate corrective action in response to findings of serious wrongdoing or other misconduct that arise from voluntary PIDs relating to the agency.|
|Outline the agency’s record-keeping procedures including how information is stored and confirm that security/access levels will be applied to all communications regarding disclosures made in accordance with the PID Act.|
|Specify the agency’s procedures for reporting in relation to voluntary PIDs to the NSW Ombudsman and how the agency will prepare its annual return.|
|Establishing internal oversight and complying with the PID Act |
|Provide details about how the agency will ensure it complies with the PID Act, including who or what business unit has internal oversight over compliance with the PID Act.|
|Roles and responsibilities |
Specify the responsibilities under the PID Act given to:
Specify the responsibility imposed by section 51(1) on managers of public officials associated with the agency.
|List of disclosure officers |
|Prominently include a list identifying the agency’s disclosure officers by class, position, role or name, as well as information enabling them to be contacted.|