Flowchart description

"Disclosure to a public body" flow chart's description

This is a flow chart summarising the process when a disclosure is made to a public body under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2002 (the Act)

Title – Disclosure to a Public Body

First, a disclosure is made (note that no reference to the Act is required by the discloser).

The public body must then assess the disclosure within 45 days to confirm whether it is a public interest disclosure, in accordance with section 33(1) of the Act.

You need to confirm, in accordance with sections 6, 7A and 8 of the Act:

  1. Is it disclosed by a public officer or contractor?
  2. Is it about the conduct of a public officer or body?
  3. Does it relate to improper conduct or detrimental action?

If you answered ‘No’ to ANY of these three it is not a protected disclosure and the discloser should be notified of this.

If you answered ‘Yes’ to ALL of the above, now confirm, in accordance with section 7 of the Act and part 7.1 of the Model Procedures, that the disclosure was made to the correct entity.

If ‘No’, it is not a protected disclosure and the discloser should be referred to the correct entity.

If ‘Yes’, now confirm that the conduct occurred on or after 1 January 2001, in accordance with section 10 of the Act.

If before that date, it is not a protected disclosure and the discloser should be notified of this.

If after that date, all of the requirements have now been met and the disclosure is considered a protected disclosure under section 14 of the Act. It may be referred to the Integrity Commission at this stage, in accordance with section 29B, if this is appropriate.

You then need to assess whether the protected disclosure shows or tends to show improper conduct or detrimental action by a public officer, in accordance with section 33(2) of the Act.

If ‘No’, you have determined that this is not a public interest disclosure, in accordance with section 35 of the Act, and the discloser and the Ombudsman must be notified within 14 days. The Ombudsman will then review the decision and agree (the process under the Act then finishes) or disagree (the matter will be referred back to the public body, in accordance with section 42).

If ‘Yes’, the disclosure is determined to be a public interest disclosure and the discloser and the Ombudsman must be notified within 14 days.

You then need to make a decision to whether or not to proceed to an investigation, in accordance with section 64 of the Act.

If you decide not to investigate, you must notify the discloser and the Ombudsman within 14 days, in accordance with section 65 of the Act. The Ombudsman will then review the decision and agree (the process under the Act then finishes) or disagree (the matter will be referred back to the public body in accordance with section 42).

If you decide to investigate, the Principal Officer should appoint an investigator in accordance with part 13 of the Model Procedures. The investigation should then be carried out, though it may be referred to the Ombudsman if the investigation is being obstructed or is beyond the capacity of the public body to complete, in accordance with sections 68 and 69 of the Act. The Ombudsman may also refer the matter to Tasmania Police, in accordance with section 41 of the Act.

The discloser and the Ombudsman should be kept informed of the progress of the investigation, in accordance with section 74 of the Act.

You should finalise the investigation and prepare a report within 6 months, in accordance with section 77A of the Act (an extension may be sought from the Ombudsman if needed under section 77A(2)).

You must then assess if remedial action or preventative steps are required, in accordance with section 75 of the Act.

The investigation report findings and any section 75 steps should be advised to the Ombudsman, the person/body and the discloser. The process under the Act then concludes.