6. How the VI handles your PID

6.1 What happens after we receive your disclosure?

After we receive your disclosure, the VI (Victorian Inspectorate) will take the following steps

  1. Acknowledge the receipt of your disclosure
  2. Review whether it is the appropriate body to receive your disclosure
    • If the VI is not the appropriate body to receive and deal with your disclosure, where possible, it will advise you of the appropriate body to make your disclosure to or, if appropriate, treat your disclosure as a misdirected disclosure and notify it to IBAC or the IOC
  3. If you made a disclosure about IBAC, an IBAC officer or a Public Interest Monitor, the VI will determine whether or not your disclosure is a Public Interest Complaint (PIC)
    • Where the VI determines that your disclosure is a PIC, the VI will investigate your disclosure
    • Where the VI determines that your disclosure is not a PIC, the VI will consider whether it is able to handle your disclosure as a complaint under the Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 (VI Act)
  4. If you made a disclosure about another person, public officer or public body that the VI is able to receive a PID about, the VI will consider whether, under the PID Act, it is required to notify your disclosure to IBAC
    • Where the VI is required to notify your disclosure to IBAC, the VI will notify your disclosure within 28 days from the date you made your disclosure to the VI
    • Where the VI considers that it is not required to notify your disclosure to IBAC, the VI will consider whether it is able to handle your disclosure as a complaint under the VI Act
  5. The VI, where possible, will advise you in writing of how your disclosure will be handled.

Please note

Please see Table C below for how the VI handles disclosures.

Please see 7. PIDs about the VI for information about how the VI handles disclosures about the VI and its officers which are mistakenly made to the VI.

Table C - How the VI handles your disclosure

6.2 What PIDs the VI can receive

The VI is able to receive PIDs about the following entities:

  • IBAC or an IBAC officer
  • a Public Interest Monitor
  • the OSI or an OSI officer
  • a Victorian Ombudsman (VO) officer
  • a Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) officer
  • the Chief Examiner or an Examiner appointed under section 21 of the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004
  • a Judicial Commission of Victoria officer (other than a judicial member of the Board of the Judicial Commission of Victoria)
  • a Council or a member of Council staff, and
  • any other Victorian public officer or Victorian public body, unless required to be made to another entity under section 14 or 17 of the PID Act.

We cannot receive PIDs about:

  • the VI or a VI officer
  • members of Parliament
  • the (former) Office of the Special Investigations Monitor or the former Special Investigations Monitor
  • a court
  • an investigating panel or a member of an investigating panel
  • a Victorian public officer or Victorian public body that is required to be made to another entity under section 14 or 17 of the PID Act.

If the VI receives a disclosure that it is unable to receive, the VI will advise the discloser how to make their disclosure to the appropriate body.

This may not be possible where the VI receives an anonymous disclosure.

If the VI receives a misdirected disclosure, the VI may notify that disclosure to IBAC or where this disclosure relates to the VI or a VI officer, to the Integrity and Oversight Committee (IOC) of Parliament.

6.3 When the VI will investigate a PID

The VI is required to investigate PIDs about IBAC, an IBAC officer, a Public Interest Monitor, the OSI or an OSI officer, where the VI determines that the PID received is a public interest complaint (PIC).

The VI is only able to make determinations in relation to PIDs about IBAC, IBAC officers, a Public Interest Monitor, the OSI or an OSI officer.

Under section 31 of the PID Act, a disclosure must be determined by the VI to be a PIC, where the VI considers that:

  1. the disclosure shows or tends to show improper conduct, or detrimental action in reprisal for the making of a PID, or
  2. the person who made the disclosure believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure shows or tends to show improper conduct or detrimental action in reprisal for the making of a PID.

In any other case, the VI must determine that the disclosure is not a PIC.

The VI is also required to investigate PICs that IBAC has referred to it.

Please note

Please see page 4 and 5 for more information about what constitutes improper conduct and detrimental action.

6.4 When the VI will handle a disclosure as a complaint

Where the VI:

  1. determines that a disclosure about IBAC, an IBAC officer, a Public Interest Monitor, the OSI or an OSI officer is not a PIC, or
  2. considers that a disclosure that it receives about another entity is not required to be notified to IBAC under section 21 of the PID Act, or
  3. is provided with written advice from the discloser that their disclosure is not a PID and that disclosure is provided to the VI within 28 days after the discloser made their disclosure;

the VI will consider whether it is able to handle the disclosure as a complaint under the VI Act. If the VI is able to handle the disclosure as a complaint under the VI Act, it may also consider investigating the complaint.

The main difference between investigating a disclosure as a complaint as compared with investigating it as a PIC, is that the discloser’s identity is no longer required to be kept confidential under the PID Act when investigating the matter.

6.5 When the VI will notify a PID to IBAC

Under section 21 of the PID Act, the VI is required to notify a PID to IBAC for assessment under the PID Act, no later than 28 days after the disclosure was made, when the VI considers that the PID may be a disclosure that:

  1. shows or tends to show improper conduct, or detrimental action in reprisal for the making of a PID, or
  2. the person who made the disclosure believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure shows or tends to show improper conduct or detrimental action in reprisal for the making of a PID.

In notifying a PID to IBAC, the VI will notify all information disclosed to the VI including the name and contact details of the discloser where provided.

The VI will not notify PIDs about IBAC, IBAC officers, a Public Interest Monitor, the OSI or an OSI officer as the VI is required to determine whether such disclosures are PICs and then investigate those disclosures that are determined to be a PIC.

Please note

Please see page 4 and 5 for more information about what constitutes improper conduct and detrimental action.

6.6 What happens after the VI notifies a PID to IBAC

Once IBAC receives a PID that has been notified by the VI, IBAC is required to determine whether the disclosure is a PIC.

Under section 26 of the PID Act, IBAC must determine a disclosure to be a PIC, where IBAC considers that:

  1. the disclosure shows or tends to show improper conduct, or detrimental action in reprisal for the making of a PID, or
  2. the person who made the disclosure believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure shows or tends to show improper conduct, or detrimental action in reprisal for the making of a PID.

In any other case, IBAC must determine that the disclosure is not a PIC.

In making its determination, IBAC may seek additional information from the VI or from the discloser.

If IBAC determines that the disclosure is a PIC, IBAC will, where possible, advise the discloser in writing of this determination and the action it will take. This includes advising the discloser whether IBAC has decided to investigate the PIC, refer the PIC to be investigated by another investigating entity or take no further action.

If IBAC determines that the disclosure is not a PIC, IBAC, where possible, will advise the discloser of its determination and that the disclosure will not be investigated as a PIC, meaning that the discloser’s identity is no longer required to be kept confidential.

IBAC may also, with the consent of the discloser, consider treating the disclosure as a complaint under the IBAC Act.

6.7 Advice that the VI will provide about the handling and investigation of disclosures

The VI will provide written advice to the discloser (as appropriate) about how their disclosure will be handled, including:

  • advice confirming that the VI has received their disclosure
  • advice about whether the disclosure is required to be notified to IBAC
  • advice about whether or not the VI has determined their disclosure to be a PIC
  • advice confirming that the VI will investigate the disclosure where it has been determined by the VI to be a PIC
  • advice about whether the VI will and is able to handle the disclosure as a complaint under the VI Act, where the disclosure is determined not to be a PIC or considered not to require notification to IBAC
  • advice about alternative bodies that the discloser may wish to make their disclosure to, where:
  1. the VI is unable to handle the disclosure as a complaint after the disclosure has been determined not to be a PIC or considered not to require notification to IBAC, or
  2. where the VI is not the appropriate body to handle the disclosure.

After the VI has investigated a PIC, the VI is required to provide the discloser with information about the results of its investigation. This will include any action taken by the VI and any recommendations made by the VI that action or further action be taken.

The VI will not provide information about the results of its investigation to the discloser, where the VI considers that the provision of this information might result in any of the possible adverse outcomes specified in section 88(3) – (4) of the VI Act.

Examples of the adverse outcomes that would prevent the VI from providing information about the results of its investigation, include where providing such information would prejudice an investigation or put a person’s safety at risk or cause unreasonable damage to a person’s reputation.

6.8 How the VI protects confidentiality

The VI will take all reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of a disclosure, including the identity of the person who made the disclosure.

These steps include:

  • storing electronic and hard copy records relating to disclosures in a secure manner
  • having policies and procedures for receiving, assessing, notifying and investigating disclosures, to ensure that the confidentiality of disclosures can be maintained in accordance with confidentiality requirements of the PID Act
  • providing regular training to the officers of the VI that receive disclosures, so that they comply with the confidentiality requirements under the PID Act
  • providing advice and education to our stakeholders about the confidentiality requirements under the PID Act.

In addition to the above steps, officers of the VI are also bound by confidentiality requirements under the VI Act and take an oath or affirmation under section 30 of the VI Act not to disclose, except as authorised or required by law, any information received in the performance of their duties and functions or the exercise of their powers.

Also, under section 78 of the PID Act, documents in our possession are exempt from freedom of information laws to the extent that they contain information that relates to an assessable disclosure or a PID, or is likely to lead to the identification of a person who has made a PID.

6.9 Where the VI may take urgent action in relation to a disclosure

Where the VI receives a disclosure about serious criminal conduct or conduct that may pose an immediate threat to the health or safety of one or more individuals or the preservation of property, it may be necessary for the VI to report the disclosure to Victoria Police.

The VI may also take management action at any time in relation to conduct disclosed about a VI officer to prevent the disclosed conduct from occurring in future.

Please note

Please see 7. PIDs about the VI for more information about how the VI handles disclosures about the VI and its officers which are mistakenly made to the VI.

6.10 Human Rights

The VI actively considers and acts compatibly with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 in the receipt, handling, notification and investigation of disclosures, including considering the right of the discloser not to have their privacy unlawfully or arbitrarily interfered with or their reputation unlawfully attacked.

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