Ombudsman SA can receive information in confidence from a person wishing to inform about possible improper or illegal actions under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
If the disclosure is made to Ombudsman SA, protections are available under certain conditions where:
- the person making the disclosure either believes on reasonable grounds that the information is true or reasonably suspects that the information raises a potential issue of corruption, misconduct or maladministration in public administration
- the information meets the definition of ‘public interest information’ and
- the Ombudsman is the ‘relevant authority for receiving the information because it concerns an agency to which the Ombudsman Act applies.
The person making the disclosure does not have to specifically claim protection for the Act to apply. We will assess the information and decide on appropriate action. However, the Public Disclosure Act does not give the Ombudsman any additional authority to investigate matters.
A disclosure made under the Public Interest Disclosure Act is actioned in accordance with the Reporting Directions and Guidelines issued by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption. These directions and guidelines can be found at https://icac.sa.gov.au/directions-guidelines.
We can commence an investigation if the information reveals an action within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction, or we may refer the information to another agency for investigation.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act requires us to advise informants (if their identity is known to us) of the action taken in relation to the information disclosed and the outcome of that action.
If a person believes that they have made a disclosure under the Public Information Disclosure Act, and they have been victimised as a result of that disclosure, this victimisation can be addressed, either through the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity http://www.eoc.sa.gov.au/ or the Courts.
If you would like to discuss the Public Information Disclosure Act further in relation to your situation please contact us.