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Managing Internal Witnesses in the Australian Public Sector: Meeting the Challenge, Charting the Way Forward Ian Wark Theatre, The Shine Dome, Canberra.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Internal Witnesses in the Australian Public Sector: Meeting the Challenge, Charting the Way Forward Ian Wark Theatre, The Shine Dome, Canberra."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Internal Witnesses in the Australian Public Sector: Meeting the Challenge, Charting the Way Forward Ian Wark Theatre, The Shine Dome, Canberra Tuesday 12 July 2005

2 Socio-Legal Research Centre Key Centre for Ethics Law Justice & Governance Whistling While They Work: Enhancing the Theory & Practice of Internal Witness Management in the Australian Public Sector Queensland Crime & Misconduct Commission Queensland Ombudsman Office of Public Service, M&E Griffith University University of Queensland New South Wales NSW ICAC NSW Ombudsman University of Sydney Western Australia Corruption & Crime Commission WA Ombudsman WA Public Sector Standards Comr Edith Cowan University Australian Government Commonwealth Ombudsman Australian Public Service Commission Charles Sturt University Transparency International Australia Victoria, ACT & NT Ombudsman Victoria NT Comr for Public Employment ACT Chief Minister’s Dept Monash University Australian Research Council

3 Whistleblowing Near & Miceli (1985: 4): “the disclosure by organisation members (former or current) of illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organisations that may be able to effect action.” Internal witness Developed by the NSW Police Service - a wider term encompassing not just whistleblowing but a range of roles through which employees assist integrity efforts, including passive and uninvited ones, e.g. non-complainant roles. Public interest disclosure (most Australian legislation) Protected disclosure (NSW) What about private grievances? What about policy disagreements? Where does public whistleblowing fit? -- See ‘Typology’

4 1. Legislation (legal risks & obligations) e.g. s.16 Public Service Act Central government commitment to / coordination of legislative responsibilities 3. Internal disclosure procedures (IDPs) (or internal reporting systems) 4. Agency IDPs in practice (as against theory) 5. Individual managers’ attitudes/practices 6. General staff awareness & attitudes. Management of public interest disclosures / whistleblowing / internal witnesses is about...

5 1. Legislative frameworks are getting used 2. Reported official figures for w/blower reports / PIDs are only indicative – ‘tip of iceberg’ Things we know...

6

7 1. Legislative frameworks are getting used 2. Reported official figures for w/blower reports / PIDs are only indicative – ‘tip of iceberg’ 3. Actual likely internal witness caseload may be something like 1.8% of workforce (approx. 30,000 federal and state public servants annually) 4. Considerable anecdotal and self-selected evidence of the problems & management challenges 5. Some empirical evidence of the attitudes and experience of individual staff (inc. SOS) 6. Limited knowledge of actual agency practices and procedures, including innovations. Things we know...

8 1. Because internal disclosures are valuable. 2. Because it is – or should be – the duty of public officials to report wrongdoing and other concerns. 3. Because for managers, it pays to know about misconduct, maladministration or other workplace problems sooner, rather than later. 4.Because whistleblowing is inherently conflict-ridden, stress-inducing, and subject to reprisal risks. 6. Because procedural fairness includes fairness for complainants and witnesses… as our staff. 7. Because we can. Why ‘manage’, ‘support’ and ‘protect’...? 5. Because it costs to worry about our duty of care to internal witnesses later, rather than sooner.


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