Protected Disclosures Act Replaced

20 May 2022

On 1 July 2022, the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022 replaces the Protected Disclosures Act 2020. Some of the key changes are:

  • The purpose of the Act to facilitate disclosure and timely investigation of matters of serious wrongdoing in or by organisations, now includes the misuse of public funds and the delivery of public services by the private sector.

  •  In addition to the discloser’s organisation, a disclosure can be made directly to an appropriate authority, which includes the head of any public sector organisation, any officer of Parliament (but excludes a Minister or Member of Parliament), the organisations listed in Schedule 2 of the Act, the membership body of any profession, trade or calling. 
  • Serious wrongdoing includes an act, omission or course of conduct in any organisation that is a serious risk to the health or safety of any individual (which could include instances of sexual harassment and bullying), or the environment. 
  • There are clear requirements in relation to what a receiver should do when presented with a protected disclosure, including within 20 days acknowledging receipt of a disclosure, considering whether it warrants investigation, and dealing with the disclosure through investigation, further action, referral, or a decision that no action is required. 
  • If a receiver decides that no action is required in respect of a disclosure, they must inform the discloser and provide reasons for their decision. 
  • The Receiver must use their best endeavours to keep confidential, any information that may identify the discloser.  The release of information that may identify the discloser is an interference with the privacy of the individual for the purposes of the Privacy Act 2020.  There is an obligation on the receiver to inform the discloser after the receiver releases identifying information about the discloser.

To access the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022  click here

For more information contact: Justine 021 920 410, Michelle 021 993 735 or Tony 021 920 323