New Whistleblower Legislation, VIC

New Whistleblower Legislation, VIC

On 5 March 2019, the Victorian Parliament passed new legislation which makes some changes to Victoria’s integrity system. The legislation has established a new parliamentary oversight committee, the Integrity and Oversight Committee, consolidating the oversight and performance review of a number of Victorian integrity agencies, including the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

The new legislation came into effect on 1 January 2020. Under the new legislation:

* a ‘protected disclosure’ is now called a ‘public interest disclosure’
* there is a lower threshold for making a public interest disclosure to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)
* there is an expanded definition of ‘improper conduct’

There is also a new ‘no wrong door’ principle. This principle means if a person discloses to the wrong entity, that entity can send it to the right entity and the person won’t lose their protection, so long as:

* it’s an entity that can receive disclosures and
* the person believes the entity they disclosed to was the right one

You can obtain a copy of the VIC IBAC’s factsheet at their website.

Ask yourself the following. Has your organisation:

• clarified whether or not it can receive PIDs?
• incorporated new definitions into its systems and procedures for ‘improper conduct’ and ‘detrimental action’?
• ensured a procedure is in place to manage external disclosures?
• ensured a procedure is in place to manage misdirected disclosures?
• ensured that staff are adequately trained in the new confidentiality obligations?
• ensured that your PID policy and complaints policy refer to each other?
• ensured that those who report or are witnesses to wrongdoing are supported and protected from reprisal?