7.1 How is the reporter of a voluntary PID protected?
When you make a voluntary PID you receive special protections under the PID Act.
We are committed to taking all reasonable steps to protect you from detriment because of having made a PID. We are also committed to maintaining your confidentiality as much as possible while the PID is being dealt with.
We will not tolerate any type of detrimental action being taken against you because you have made a report, might make a report or are believed to have made a report.
The reporter of a voluntary PID is protected in the following ways:
a) Protection from detrimental action
- A person cannot take detrimental action against another person because they have made a voluntary PID or are considering making a PID. Detrimental action includes bullying, harassment, intimidation or dismissal.
- Once we become aware that a voluntary PID by a person employed or otherwise associated with DCS that concerns serious wrongdoing relating to DCS has been made, DCS will undertake a risk assessment and take steps to mitigate the risk of detrimental action occurring against the person who made the voluntary PID.
- It is a criminal offence for someone to take detrimental action against a person because they have made or may make a voluntary PID. It is punishable by a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units or imprisonment for five years or both.
- A person may seek compensation where unlawful detrimental action has been taken against them.
- A person can apply for a court order (injunction) where detrimental action is threatened or has occurred (for example, an order to prevent dismissal or to require reinstatement).
Note that a person who makes a PID can still be subject to reasonable management action (such as ordinary performance reviews and performance management). Provided such action is not taken because of the PID, it is not detrimental action under the PID Act.
b) Immunity from civil and criminal liability
Some public officials are often subject to a duty of confidentiality that prevents them disclosing certain information that they obtain or become aware of at work. Sometimes, in order to make a PID, public officials will need to breach or disregard such confidentiality duties. If that happens, a public official cannot be disciplined, sued or criminally charged for breaching confidentiality.
Public officials and agencies must not disclose information tending to identify a person as the reporter of a voluntary PID unless doing so is permitted by the PID Act.
d) Protection from liability for own past conduct
The Attorney General can give the reporter an undertaking that a disclosure of their own past conduct will not be used against them if a person discloses their own wrongdoing or misconduct while making a report. This undertaking can only be given on application by an integrity agency to the Attorney General.
7.2 Protections for people who make mandatory and witness PIDs
Apart from PIDs that are made voluntarily by public officials, there are other types of reports that are recognised as PIDs under the PID Act.
A mandatory PID: This is a PID where the public official has made the report about serious wrongdoing because they have a legal obligation to make that report, or because making that report is an ordinary aspect of their role or function in an agency.
A witness PID: This is a PID where a person discloses information during an investigation of serious wrongdoing following a request or requirement of the investigator.
Protections for reporters of mandatory and witness PIDs are detailed in the table below.
|Protection||Mandatory PID||Witness PID|
|Detrimental action — It is an offence to take detrimental action against a person based on the suspicion, belief or awareness that a person has made, may have made or may make a PID.||
|Right to compensation — A person can initiate proceedings and seek compensation for injury, damage or loss suffered as a result of detrimental action being taken against them.||
|Ability to seek injunction — An injunction can be sought to prevent the commission or possible commission of a detrimental action offence against a person. For example, an order to prevent dismissal or to require reinstatement.||
Immunity from civil and criminal liability — a person will not incur civil or criminal liability if the person breaches a duty of confidentiality while making a disclosure. This means that legal action cannot be taken against a person for:
Reporting detrimental action
If you experience adverse treatment or detrimental action, such as bullying or harassment, you should report this immediately. You can report any experience of adverse treatment or detrimental action directly to Secretary of DCS or to an integrity agency. A list of integrity agencies is located at Annexure A of this policy.