PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE POLICY

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1 1 Policy Statement At Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), we believe that Public Interest Disclosures (PIDs) and the ability to make such disclosures without retaliation or reprisal is critically important, not only to uphold our legislative obligations but also to maintain transparency and the public s trust in our organisation. TEQ strongly supports the principles of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 and encourages people to make necessary PIDs under this policy. TEQ will support any Discloser in their decision to make the disclosure, however any person that is found to have deliberately made false or misleading allegations, or allegations not in accordance with the PID Act, will not be protected under this Policy. 2 Objectives This policy sets out the process for making and responding to a PID about a TEQ staff member (the Subject Officer), made either by a member of staff or the public. This policy also puts protections in place for anyone making a PID against reprisal for making the PID. 2.1 What is a Public Interest Disclosure? A Public Interest Disclosure is information provided by a whistleblower (referred to as the Discloser), which gives rise to a genuine concern about conduct or practices that is contrary to the public interest engaged in by public officials. The disclosure can relate to official misconduct, maladministration, negligent or improper management, conduct causing danger to public health or safety, or to the environment, or reprisal taken against anybody as a result of the PID. It is called a Public Interest Disclosure because it is in the Public Interest to make the disclosure. 3 Scope This policy applies to all staff, which includes all permanent, temporary, and casual employees, Board members, staff employed under a contract of service and persons undertaking work on behalf of TEQ. This Policy only applies to PIDs that are made in relation to TEQ. PIDs that are regarding other agencies are to be made in accordance with the relevant agency s policy or guidelines. Relevant complaints against TEQ staff and processes will be addressed in accordance with this policy. If a complaint is made that does not qualify as a PID, the complainant will be advised that they will not be protected under this Policy, and may elect to withdraw the complaint or proceed through the appropriate channel. If a complaint is made that does qualify as a PID but subsequent investigation determines that there is no substance to the allegation, the Discloser will still be protected under this Policy as if the investigation did substantiate the allegation. 4 Reference Materials This policy is underpinned by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld) and the Public Interest Disclosure Standard published by the Queensland Public Service Commission Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld); Public Interest Disclosure Standard 5 Definitions Discloser: The person who makes the Public Interest Disclosure. Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC): An independent body responsible for keeping Queensland Government institutions ethical and accountable and for the removal of corruption and organised crime in the Queensland community.

2 Public Interest Disclosure: Information disclosed by a whistleblower or Discloser giving rise to a genuine concern about the conduct of public officials or others that is not in the public interest. Official Misconduct: Official misconduct is defined formally in the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 but can be summaried as being any serious misconduct relating to the performance of an officer s duties that is dishonest, lacks impartiality, involves a breach of trust or a misuse of officially obtained information. To be Official Misconduct, the conduct must, if proven, be a criminal offence and/or be serious enough for which dismissal is considered to be one of the disciplinary options available. Trying to influence a public official to act improperly is also classed as Official Misconduct. Subject officer: The person who the complainant alleges to have performed actions which are the subject of the Public Interest Disclosure. Public Officer: A person who is an employee of TEQ, and includes a person engaged under a contract of service. Reprisal: A person must not cause or attempt to cause detriment to another person because (or in the belief) that person has made or intends to make a PID and includes physical and psychological injury, property damage/loss, intimidation, harassment, threats, discrimination or disadvantage. 6 Process 6.1 What is a PID What constitutes a PID depends on who is making the disclosure, with the PID Act distinguishing between disclosures made by a public officer and those made by any person. 6.2 Who can make a PID? Any member of the public or employee of TEQ can make a Public Interest Disclosure in relation to TEQ. 6.3 What can a PID be about? Any person can make a PID about: a substantial and specific danger to the health or safety of a person with a disability. a substantial and specific danger to the environment. the conduct of another person that could, if proven, be a reprisal. A public officer can make a disclosure about: Official misconduct as defined in the Crime and Misconduct Act 2011 Maladministration that adversely affects a person s interests in a substantial and specific way. A substantial misuse of public resources. A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. A substantial and specific danger to the environment. 6.4 How can I make a PID? If you are a member of the public or are employed by TEQ, you can make a PID by contacting the Chief Executive Officer of TEQ: The Chief Executive Officer Tourism and Events Queensland GPO Box 328 Brisbane, Queensland 4001 Telephone: Fax:

3 If you have any questions relating to the process of making a PID, or consider that it is not appropriate to make your complaint to the Chief Executive Officer of TEQ, please contact the Public Interest Disclosure Officer The Public Interest Disclosure Officer Tourism and Events Queensland GPO Box 328 Brisbane, Queensland 4001 Telephone: Fax: Please provide as much information as possible relating to the Disclosure, including the following information: The gender and status of the Subject Officer (staff member, non-staff member); The location of the Subject Officer; Your relationship to the Subject Officer; The allegations against the Subject Officer. 6.5 External Report Options A Discloser may choose to make a disclosure to someone external to Tourism and Events Queensland. You can do this as a first step, or if you are not satisfied with our response to your disclosure. While we urge you to disclose to someone at TEQ we will respect and support disclosers if they disclose to an appropriate external entity. Disclosures may be made to: The Crime and Misconduct Commission if it concerns official misconduct. The Ombudsman if it concerns maladministration A Member of Parliament. Be aware that if you make a disclosure to a person or an organisation other than one that can investigate and deal with the matter, you will not receive the protections provided under the PID Act. If you wish to remain anonymous, you must provide enough detail to allow TEQ to investigate the matter. You may choose to remain anonymous, however anonymity will prevent TEQ checking with you or seeking further information, or providing you with the outcome of the PID process. 6.6 False or misleading information It is an offence under the PID Act to intentionally make a false or misleading statement intending it be acted upon as a public interest disclosure. It is an indictable offence which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment or $16,700 fine. Any employees who deliberately make a false or misleading statement will be subject to disciplinary action. 6.7 Disclosure to a journalist In limited situations, a discloser may be protected if they chose to make a disclosure to a journalist. Protections apply if: a person has made a disclosure of substantially the same information and the organisation to which the disclosure was referred: decided not to investigate or deal with the matter. investigated the disclosure but decided not to recommend the taking of any action in relation to the matter. did not notify the person within 6 months after the date of the disclosure was made, whether the matter would be investigated or not.

4 6.8 How will a Public Interest Disclosure be dealt with? TEQ will exercise due process and natural justice, take all reasonable steps to preserve confidentiality, provide appropriate protection, maintain all necessary records securely and report on PIDs in an appropriate manner. In doing so, TEQ will: take reasonable action to protect any person who makes a PID from retribution or negative action as a result of making the disclosure; investigate the matter that has been disclosed, exercising due process and natural justice; preserve confidentiality where practicable and maintain all necessary records securely; and report on the matter in a manner that is appropriate in the circumstances. If the Discloser has elected not to remain anonymous, TEQ will make contact with the Discloser to acknowledge the receipt of the Public Interest Disclosure, and advise of the timeframe and process to follow. TEQ will keep the Discloser informed throughout the process, including the outcome of any investigation. 6.9 Investigations/Commitment to action TEQ will manage the initial receipt of the PID and conduct preliminary inquiries to establish the substance of the allegations and determine the appropriate course of action. The response to official misconduct will vary accordingly to the nature and seriousness of the alleged conduct. Some PIDs are best dealt with by prompt managerial action, whilst others must be handled and investigated, in accordance with the necessary procedures and in a timely manner. Any investigations will be carried out by an appropriate person who is not the Public Interest Disclosure Officer. TEQ will engage an independent investigator for this purpose. 7 Protection of Disclosers Disclosers should not suffer any form of detrimental action as a result of making a disclosure, including: Unfair treatment Harassment Intimidation Victimisation Unlawful discrimination Tourism and Events Queensland is committed to ensuring that no disciplinary or adverse action, including workplace reprisals by managers, occurs as a result of a disclosure being made. If any of the above does occur, a discloser has the right to request that TEQ take positive action to protect them. Disclosers should also advise the person handling their disclosure immediately. 7.1 Support and feedback to disclosers TEQ will initiate and coordinate action to support disclosers particularly for staff suffering detriment as a result. Actions may include: Providing moral and emotional support; Advising the discloser about the resources available in TEQ to handle any concerns they may have as a result of making a disclosure; Appointing a mentor, confidante or other support officer to assist the discloser throughout the process; Referring the discloser to TEQ s Employee Assistance Program or arranging for other professional counseling; Generating support for the discloser in their work unit (if appropriate); Ensuring that any suspicions of reprisal, victimisation or harassment are dealt with;

5 Maintaining contact with the discloser; Negotiating with the discloser and their relevant support officer a formal end to their involvement with the support program, when it is agreed that they no longer need assistance. If a discloser feels that they may need support as a result of making a disclosure, they are urged to contact the PID Officer or their relevant support officer. 7.2 Confidentiality Maintaining confidentiality is very important in the handling of a disclosure. Confidentiality not only protects the discloser against reprisals, but any other people affected by a disclosure. Confidential information includes: The fact a disclosure has been made. Any information that may identify the disclosure or any person who may be the subject of a disclosure. The actual information that has been disclosed. Information relating to the disclosure that, if known, may cause detriment. In protecting the confidentiality of the discloser TEQ will ensure that the details of a disclosure, the investigation and related decisions will be kept secure. Be aware that, while every attempt to protect confidentiality will be made, there will be occasions when disclosure of a discloser s identity may be necessary. These include: Providing natural justice to the subject officer. Responding to a court order or legal directive (e.g. subpoena, notice to produce, direction by a parliamentary committee). In court proceedings. TEQ will advise a discloser if their identity needs to be revealed for any reason listed above and seek their consent, if possible. TEQ will attempt as far as possible to avoid a situation where the discloser s identity will need to be revealed even though the discloser has not given consent. While TEQ are prepared to take all steps necessary to protect the confidentiality of the information that a discloser has provided, the discloser also has some obligations. The fewer people who know about the disclosure both before and after it is made the more likely it is that TEQ will be able to keep the discloser s identity confidential and protect them from any detrimental action in reprisal. TEQ encourage disclosers to not talk about their disclosure to work colleagues or any other unauthorised person. TEQ will ensure that all record keeping and reporting will be done in accordance with legislative and administrative requirements of the Act. 8 Reprisal In the event that a Discloser has experienced reprisal after making a PID, TEQ will first take steps to mitigate the effects of the reprisal. Once measures have been taken to support the Discloser, the allegation of reprisal will be investigated as a separate PID. It is important to distinguish between reprisal and reasonable management action. Reprisal is defined in section 5 above. Reasonable management action can still be taken and includes reasonable work appraisal, counseling and appropriate disciplinary action associated with an employee s performance at work. If an employee is involved in the conduct which is the subject of the PID they are not granted immunity as a consequence of making the PID. Consequently, they may be dealt with under this or other relevant polices.

6 8.1 Protection of subject officers TEQ is committed to treating disclosures fairly. The rights of any person who is the subject of, or is associated with a disclosure, are important. Employee/s who are the subject of a disclosure are entitled to confidentiality and the presumption of innocence. Employees who are the subject of a PID may seek assistance from their legal representative or union and may also wish to contact the TEQ s Employee Assistance Service for advice and support. All employees should remember their responsibilities under the Code of Conduct. Employees who participate in any investigation are performing their duty as required under the Code. Employees should not be treated adversely because of their involvement and any employees found to have engaged in reprisals will be the subject of disciplinary action. 9 Responsibilities 9.1 All staff All staff are obligated under the Code of Conduct to report any issues suspected to be a breach of The Code throughout TEQ, this includes misconduct. All staff are obligated to comply with and promote the objectives of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 regarding those who make, or are suspected of making a PID. 9.2 Public Interest Disclosure Officer (PIDO) The PIDO is responsible for educating staff members and coordinating and assisting investigations relating to PIDs. 9.3 Management Senior management sets the ethical tone of the organisation. Senior staff therefore will lead by example and conduct themselves as outlined in the Code of Conduct and in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act Managers will also be responsible for ensuring that Disclosers are able to continue their work in an environment that is free from reprisal, and to report Reprisal where it is suspected or has occurred. 9.4 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) The CEO is responsible for dealing with any PIDs in relation to TEQ. It should be noted that a discloser may request a review of their PID, by an independent investigator, if they are unhappy with how the matter has been managed or investigated. 10 Reporting The PIDO and the CEO shall maintain a register of Public Interest Disclosures, including a copy of the Disclosure, details and findings of any investigation, and any action taken to resolve the matter. The register will be kept in strict confidence. The information contained in the register will be used as necessary in the fulfillment of TEQ s reporting obligations. TEQ will also report all PID data to the Public Service Commission via the PID database, as required. 11 Employee and Community Awareness TEQ clearly communicates its Public Interest Disclosure Policy to employees and the general community. Key documents, including the Public Interest Disclosure Policy, Code of Conduct, and Corporate Plan, are available on the website Reference to these documents is also included in the annual report.

7 11.1 Further information For more information on how to make a PID: Thinking about blowing the whistle? A guide for individuals available at Further information for managers and supervisors: Has one of your staff blown the whistle? A guide for managers and supervisors available at Further information for organisations: Managing a Public Interest Disclosure Program: A guide for public sector organisations available at

8 12 Document Control 12.1 Document Details Document Reference/Name Trim Number Public Interest Disclosure Policy (.docx) (PDF) Document Status Draft Under review Approved Archived Responsible Department People and Leadership Next Schedule Review Date November Version History Version Number Date Reason/Comments V1.0 July 2012 Reviewed by Ethical Standards Branch, Public Service Commission. V November 2012 Approved by Tourism and Events Queensland s Board V January 2013 Updated company name to Tourism and Events Queensland

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