The Victorian Parliament has established independent watchdog agencies to help ensure that the public sector (including DELWP agencies and their board members and employees) acts with integrity, efficiency, and accountability. Examples are:
- Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)
- Victorian Ombudsman
- Victorian Auditor General's Office (VAGO)
- Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP)
Depending on the particular watchdog agency, its role may include:
- receiving complaints
- conducting investigations (either in response to a complaint or on its own initiative)
- making reports with findings and recommendations (which may be tabled in Parliament or, in the case of IBAC, be highly secret to protect a whistleblower)
- referring the matter on to be dealt with, for example, by Victoria Police.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) deals with allegations of corrupt and other improper conduct in the Victorian public sector, including in DELWP agencies.
- There have been recent changes to the law in relation to IBAC
- Visit the IBAC website to check these recent changes
- The information and guidance note below DO NOT yet include these changes.
Mandatory notifications by CEO (principal officer)
Part of the recent changes to IBAC law include a requirement for an agency’s principal officer (CEO by whatever title) to report to IBAC any conduct which he or she suspects on reasonable grounds is corrupt. IBAC has produced guidance for principal officers, including guidance on mandatory reporting:
- Directions for making mandatory notifications of suspected corruption
- Mandatory notifications – Frequently asked questions
Protected disclosures must be made direct to IBAC
With rare exception, a protected disclosure by a whistleblower about a DELWP agency can only be made directly to IBAC.
An allegation that a board member or staff member of a DELWP agency is involved in corrupt or other improper conduct (as defined in law):
- cannot be made to the agency
- cannot be made to DELWP
- MUST ONLY be made directly to IBAC.
Otherwise, the whistleblower may lose the legal protection that making a protected disclosure provides them against reprisals.
This requirement applies whether the allegation is being made by a member of the agency or by an external person.
This guidance note is currently being updated. It does not include recent changes to the law.
Go to the IBAC website for recent changes.
The Victorian Ombudsman can investigate complaints about:
- administrative action taken by state government departments, local government, and most statutory authorities (including DELWP agencies)
- the conduct of public sector board members, executives and staff in undertaking their respective roles.
Prior to making a complaint to the Ombudsman, the aggrieved person should attempt to resolve the matter directly with the DELWP agency.
Most complaints are dealt with informally. In the case of a formal investigation the Ombudsman may report their findings to Parliament. For further information, visit the Ombudsman's website.
The Victorian Auditor General's Office (VAGO) conducts performance and financial audits of public sector agencies, including DELWP agencies. Whilst VAGO does not receive individual complaints, it is part of the integrity framework that helps to ensure the public sector conducts its role with integrity, accountability and efficiency.
The Victorian Auditor-General reports their findings to Parliament. For further information visit the VAGO website.
Complaints can be made to the Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection about possible breaches of the Information Privacy Principles by public sector organisations and local government, including by DELWP agencies.
Prior to making a complaint to the Commissioner, the aggrieved person should attempt to resolve the matter directly with the DELWP agency.
For further information, visit the Commissioner's website. You can also visit DELWP's Privacy support module.