Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries

Complaint of Improper Conduct Supported

Whistleblowing | 31 October 2019

A whistleblower made a disclosure of improper conduct outlining concerns with the actions of a senior executive in the public sector. Most of the concerns could be described as an overstepping of authority and the use of intimidation. Following an extensive assessment, nine specific allegations were directed for investigation by the Ombudsman. This investigation involved the first ever interpretation of the Whistleblower Protection Law, 2015 (the Law). We reviewed numerous internal documents, examined best practices of other jurisdictions and interviewed 10 people as part of the investigation.

The Ombudsman found eight of the allegations ultimately did not rise to the threshold required for improper conduct but that collectively those eight revealed broader administrative concerns with the operations and good governance. In the case of the ninth allegation, the Ombudsman found that the actions amounted to intimidation and constituted improper conduct as defined by the Law. The Ombudsman made several recommendations to address the concerns about administrative and governance matters which would also have the benefit of minimising the opportunity for improper conduct (harassment) in the future. To date the report has not been formally acknowledged and there has been no response or action taken as far as the Ombudsman is aware. The Ombudsman has reported the matter to the Select Committee to Oversee the Performance of the Office of the Ombudsman pursuant to s. 9 of the Law.