Information for agencies
In our role to help public authorities assess, handle and report on public interest disclosures, we provide guidelines, model internal reporting policies, fact sheets, training, e-learning, e-news as well as assistance for nominated disclosures officers and public officials.
Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001
On 1 July 2019, new whistleblower protection provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) commenced. These provisions apply not only to companies but also to any entity that is a ‘trading or financial corporation’ within the meaning of the Constitution. This is likely to include a significant number of entities established under NSW laws, including state owned corporations, some agencies in the health and transport portfolios, and may include a number of local councils and universities.
All NSW public authorities will continue to be subject to the NSW Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994, and must continue to comply with their obligations under that Act, even if they also become subject to the Commonwealth legislation.
NSW entities that may be subject to the Commonwealth legislation should seek urgent advice on their compliance obligations under that Act, noting that the (civil and criminal) sanctions for breaches are significant.
Read our PID e-News on this issue.
From 1 January 2012, all public authorities are required to collect and report certain information in relation to their handling of public interest disclosures. This information has to be reported directly to our office every six months and included in the organisation's annual report.
The PID online reporting tool allows the registered users of public authorities to provide their six monthly reports to our office securely and view the reports they have previously provided. Public authorities can email the PID Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate or change their registered user or if they experience difficulties using the PID online reporting tool.
We have also developed the following resources to assist public authorities meet their reporting obligations:
- Guideline C2: Reporting to the NSW Ombudsman provides advice on what information to report
- PID online reporting tool: User manual is a step-by-step guide to using the PID online reporting tool
- Reporting annually on public interest disclosures outlines the annual reporting requirements of public authorities
Audit of PIDs
The Ombudsman has responsibility to audit and provide reports to Parliament on the exercise of functions under the PID Act.
The audit function involves reviewing the handling of agency investigations using random sampling techniques; checking agency compliance with statutory reporting requirements; and checking agency compliance with the internal policy requirements of the Act.
If your agency is scheduled to be audited, you will be notified approximately one month in advance. Our officers will attend your agency and conduct the audit on site. This is a good opportunity for agencies to meet with our officers and to discuss any difficulties or challenges they are experiencing in implementing the requirements under the PID Act.
After the audit, your agency will receive a report which may also include suggestions about how to improve the handling of PIDs and advice about best practice.
If you would like an audit conducted at your agency please contact the PID Unit.
We provide a number of fact sheets, guidelines, e-newsletters and other resources to give practical guidance about public interest disclosures. These are aimed at disclosures coordinators/officers, managers and other public sector staff who might receive reports of wrongdoing, public sector staff thinking about reporting wrongdoing and the heads of organisations.
To receive the PID e-newsletter learn more about how to subscribe.
In response to requests from nominated disclosure officers, we have developed templates to assist with recording a disclosure assessing whether the report is a public interest disclosure and notifying the reporter of your decision.
The PID Act requires public authorities to have an internal reporting policy and procedures in place for receiving, assessing and dealing with public interest disclosures. This policy must have regard to the NSW Ombudsman’s model policy and guidelines. In consultation with a broad range of experts and stakeholders we developed model internal policies for state government authorities, for local government and for local Aboriginal land councils.
PID training and education
We offer in-house training sessions on public interest disclosures for public authorities, as well as open workshops at various locations.
Our public interest disclosures half day training provides an overview of an organisation’s obligations under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994. It explains the PID system as well as the responsibilities of the nominated disclosure officers, the disclosures coordinator and managers.This training is provided at no cost.
Our training sessions help to:
- promote awareness of the importance of public interest disclosures
- promote a positive reporting environment
- comply with the requirements of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994
- manage public interest disclosures effectively
You can register for PID training online.
In addition to facilitated training sessions e-learning modules are available. These modules are a quick focused training alternative assisting organisations to raise awareness and inform their staff about public interest disclosures. The modules are a convenient way to train any number of staff in the workplace.
- Am I dealing with a public interest disclosure?
- Model policies and templates for public authorities
- Public Interest Disclosures e-newsletters
- Public interest disclosures fact sheet
- Public interest disclosures guidelines