Complaints about the handling of Public Interest Disclosures about misconduct
We can inquire into a disclosure about a breach of the Code of Conduct, in certain circumstances.
What is a public interest disclosure?
Information about public interest disclosures can be found on the Commonwealth Ombudsman's website.
When can I request an inquiry by the Merit Protection Commissioner?
If you have made a disclosure to your agency or department and you are not satisfied with how it was handled, you can apply to the Merit Protection Commissioner to request an inquiry into the matter. You must have made a disclosure to an agency or department in relation to an alleged breach of the APS or Parliamentary Service Code of Conduct, and meet all the requirements of a disclosure in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.
Any inquiry we undertake in relation to a disclosure is conducted under the Public Service Act 1999 or Parliamentary Service Act 1999.
How do I request an inquiry?
You will need to provide us with details of the disclosure, and how it relates to an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct. Include details about:
- the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct
- what the agency or department did following the disclosure, including the outcome, and why you are not satisfied with the outcome
- copies of any documentation you consider will assist us with our assessment.
How do we conduct the inquiry?
|What happens||How it happens|
|You make an application||By email to email@example.com, addressed to the Merit Protection Commissioner. You can also lodge an application by post.|
|We assess your application||
We assess whether your application meets the criteria for an inquiry.
This may involve requesting further information from you, or from the agency or department, including information on how they handled your disclosure.
|We decide whether or not to conduct an inquiry||
We may decide not to conduct an inquiry if:
An inquiry may not be justified if:
|We conduct an inquiry, and can make recommendations.||
In conducting an inquiry, the Merit Protection Commissioner is authorised to direct a person to provide information, give evidence and produce documents, and is also authorised to enter Commonwealth premises to access, examine or copy documents.
Once we have this information, we will make findings of fact, and will make recommendations to the agency or department. We also let you know our findings and recommendations.
We cannot make a finding that a person has breached the APS or Parliamentary Service Code of Conduct. If appropriate, we can recommend that the agency or department commence a misconduct investigation into that behaviour.
Will I have public interest protections?
Our inquiry is conducted under the Public Service Act 1999 or Parliamentary Service Act 1999, however your existing protections under the Public Interest Act 2013 will remain. More information about protections can be found on the Ombudsman's website.
Find details about our legislative framework.