Public Interest Disclosure Policy

Policy overview

1 Purpose

To establish the principles for how the University deals with a disclosure of Information about suspected wrongdoing in the public sector.

2 Scope

This policy applies to Information disclosures conforming to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.

3 Policy Statement

The University is committed to fostering an ethical, transparent culture. In pursuit of this commitment, the University values the disclosure of Information about suspected wrongdoing in the public sector so that it can be properly assessed and, if necessary, properly investigated. The University will provide support to an Employee or others who make disclosures about matters in the public interest. This policy demonstrates this commitment and ensures that practical and effective procedures are implemented which comply with the requirements of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.

4 Principles

By complying with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 the University will:

  • promote the public interest by facilitating Public Interest Disclosures of wrongdoing;
  • ensure that Public Interest Disclosures are properly assessed and, where appropriate, investigated and dealt with;
  • ensure appropriate consideration is given to the interests of persons who are the subject of a Public Interest Disclosure; and
  • ensure protection from Reprisal is afforded to persons making Public Interest Disclosures.

As required under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010, the Vice-Chancellor will establish procedures to ensure that:

  • any Employee who makes a Public Interest Disclosure is given appropriate support;
  • Public Interest Disclosures made to the University are properly assessed and, where appropriate, properly investigated and dealt with;
  • appropriate action is taken in relation to any wrongdoing which is the subject of a Public Interest Disclosure;
  • a management program for Public Interest Disclosures made to the University, consistent with the standards issued by the Queensland Ombudsman, is developed and implemented; and
  • Employees who make Public Interest Disclosures are offered protection from Reprisal by the University or other Employees of the University.

The University's Public Interest Disclosure Procedure is available for public viewing as detailed in Section 7 of this policy. The Public Interest Disclosure Procedure will be reviewed annually and updated as required to ensure it meets the requirements of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 and the standards issued by the Queensland Ombudsman.

The Vice-Chancellor has designated the roles and responsibilities for implementing the procedures to manage Public Interest Disclosures within the University in the Public Interest Disclosure Procedure.

5 References

Model Public Interest Disclosure procedure. (2020, May 13). Retrieved August 20, 2020, from https://www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au/improve-public-administration/public-interest-disclosures/public-interest-disclosure-resources/model-public-interest-disclosure-procedure

6 Schedules

This policy must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.

7 Policy Information

Accountable Officer

Vice-Chancellor

Responsible Officer

Director (Integrity and Professional Conduct)

Policy Type

Governance Policy

Policy Suite

Public Interest Disclosure Procedure

Subordinate Schedules

Approved Date

14/12/2020

Effective Date

27/1/2021

Review Date

27/1/2024

Relevant Legislation

Crime and Corruption Act 2001

Ombudsman Act 2001

Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (Qld)

Public Records Act 2002

Public Sector Ethics Act 1994

Related Policies

Code of Conduct Policy

Corrupt Conduct Reporting Policy

Fraud and Corruption Management Policy

Privacy Policy

Right to Information Policy

Related Procedures

Corrupt Conduct Resolution Procedure

Disciplinary Action for Misconduct or Serious Misconduct Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Public Interest Disclosure Standard No. 1/2019 - Public Interest Disclosure Management Program

Public Interest Disclosure Standard No. 2/2019 - Assessing, Investigating and Dealing with Public Interest Disclosures

Public Interest Disclosure Standard No. 3/2019 - Public Interest Disclosure Data Recording and Reporting

USQ Enterprise Agreement

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Employee

A person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University....moreA person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University.

Information

Any collection of data that is processed, analysed, interpreted, organised, classified or communicated in order to serve a useful purpose, present facts or represent knowledge in any medium or form. This includes presentation in electronic (digital), print, audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual or numerical form....moreAny collection of data that is processed, analysed, interpreted, organised, classified or communicated in order to serve a useful purpose, present facts or represent knowledge in any medium or form. This includes presentation in electronic (digital), print, audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual or numerical form.

Public Interest Disclosure

A public interest disclosure is a disclosure under Chapter 2 of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 and includes all information and help given by the discloser to a Proper Authority for the disclosure....moreA public interest disclosure is a disclosure under Chapter 2 of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 and includes all information and help given by the discloser to a Proper Authority for the disclosure.

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

Vice-Chancellor

The person bearing the title of Vice-Chancellor and President, or as otherwise defined in the University of Southern Queensland Act 1998, including a person acting in that position....moreThe person bearing the title of Vice-Chancellor and President, or as otherwise defined in the University of Southern Queensland Act 1998, including a person acting in that position.

Definitions that relate to this policy only

Reprisal

The term 'Reprisal' is defined under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 as causing, attempting to cause or conspiring to cause detriment to another person in the belief that they or someone else:

  • has made or intends to make a disclosure; or
  • has been or intends to be involved in a proceeding under the disclosure Act against any person.

Reprisal under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 is a criminal offence and investigations may be undertaken by the Queensland Police Service.

Keywords

Disclosure, fraud, misconduct, confidential, investigator, whistleblowers, whistleblower, protection, witness, investigation, record/s

Record No

13/418PL

Complying with the law and observing Policy and Procedure is a condition of working and/or studying at the University.

* This file is available in Portable Document Format (PDF) which requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. A free copy of Acrobat Reader may be obtained from Adobe. Users who are unable to access information in PDF should email policy@usq.edu.au to obtain this information in an alternative format.