Bribery, corruption can be revealed under policy

PROTECTION: Deputy Mayor Cr Leon Stephens backs policy to protect 'whistleblowers'.

PROTECTION: Deputy Mayor Cr Leon Stephens backs policy to protect 'whistleblowers'.

Councillors have re-affirmed their policy regarding “whistleblowers” – individuals who can reveal allegations about official conduct.

The Whistleblower Protection Policy was reviewed by Port Pirie Regional Council.

Deputy Mayor Cr Leon Stephens, seconded by Cr Joe Paparella, moved that the policy be adopted.

Under the policy, “whistleblowers” are encouraged to reveal bribery, corruption, misuse of public office and threats and reprisals against public officers.

'Whistleblowers' are encouraged to reveal bribery, corruption, misuse of public office and threats and reprisals against public officers.

Papers considered by council

Laws relating to the policy include the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Criminal Law Consolidation Act and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act.

Council’s governance manager, Peter Arnold, said his organisation upheld the principles of transparency and accountability.

He said it encouraged disclosures that reveal “public interest information”.

This might include maladministration and waste, corrupt and illegal conduct.

As a result internal controls might be strengthened.

The policy would provide a system whereby disclosures were properly investigated.

It would also provide appropriate protection for those who make disclosures.

Support would be provided to the “whistleblower” and, as appropriate, those public officers affected by allegations.

The policy would work with fraud and corruption standards and the codes of conduct for council workers and elected members.

Disclosures could be made to a Minister, police where the information relates to illegal activity, the Auditor-General or the Ombudsman.

Corruption could include bribery, threats or reprisals against public officers, abuse of public office, demanding benefit in public office and offences relating to appointments to public office.

Disclosures can be made if a person believes the information is or may be true based on reasonable grounds.

Council may give immunity from action to a “whistleblower” as a result of a disclosure.