Public Interest Disclosure Scheme
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) commenced on 15 January 2014.
The PID Act promotes integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector by encouraging the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing, protecting people who make disclosures and requiring agencies to take action.
The purpose of the PID Act is to:
- encourage and facilitate public interest disclosures by public officials
- ensure public officials who make public interest disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences
- ensure disclosures by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.
Who can make a PID?
- a person who is a current or former 'public official' can make a PID.
- for the AFP this includes all current and former AFP appointees and non-appointee contractors.
- disclosures of suspected wrongdoing made before 15 January 2014 are not covered by the PID Act.
A disclosure made after 15 January 2014 can however include conduct which occurred at any time.
What classifies as a disclosure?
- a disclosure is information that tends to show, or that the public official reasonably believes tends to show disclosable conduct. Disclosable conduct is:
- conduct engaged in by an agency, public official or contracted service provider.
- types include:
- illegal conduct
- abuse of public trust
- deception relating to scientific research
- wastage of public money
- unreasonable danger to health and safety or to the environment.
Avenues to make a PID
Public officials can report suspected disclosable conduct to:
- an authorised officer (AO) who, within the AFP, are PRS Coordinators
- directly to an authorised internal recipient if the discloser believes on reasonable grounds that it would be appropriate for the disclosure to be investigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
PIDs to the AFP can be made by:
- written correspondence to an authorised officer via:
Professional Standards Operations Monitoring Centre
PO Box 401
Canberra City ACT 2601
- email to an authorised officer via mailbox: PID@afp.gov.au
- PRS hotline phone number: 02 61316789
- in person to an authorised officer.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman has the responsibility of administering the PID scheme across all Commonwealth agencies. Their PID page contains broader information and can be located on the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.