Serious wrongdoing (whistleblowing)

We promote a speak up culture and encourage anyone who witnesses serious wrongdoing to come forward. This is sometimes called whistleblowing.

Serious wrongdoing includes:

  • corruption
  • maladministration
  • serious waste of funds, and
  • serious breaches of information access and privacy laws.

The University of Newcastle manages reports of serious wrongdoing on behalf of its controlled entities including NUsport, NUservices, TUNRA and NAIHE. Any person associated with these entities can make a report in accordance with the processes set out here.

While we have done our best to summarise the details, you can find further information in the PID Policy and PID Act.

Serious wrongdoing FAQs

Serious wrongdoing is a broad term that includes a wide range of behaviours. The NSW Ombudsman has a useful guide on the meaning of serious wrongdoing.

Categories of serious wrongdoing include:

Corrupt conduct

Corrupt conduct in the PID Act has the same meaning as in sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988. It involves deliberate or intentional wrongdoing involving (or affecting) a public official or agency in NSW.

Serious maladministration

Conduct, other than conduct of a trivial nature, relating to a matter of administration that is unlawful, unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminative; or based wholly or partly on improper motives.

Government information contravention

A failure to exercise functions in accordance with the Government Information (Information Commissioner) Act 2009, or the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, or  the State Records Act 1998.

Privacy contravention

A failure (other than a trivial failure) to exercise functions in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 or the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.

Serious and substantial waste of public money

A serious and substantial waste of public money includes any uneconomical, inefficient or ineffective use of resources, whether authorised or unauthorized, and which results in a loss of public funds or resources.

There are three types of public interest disclosures. All types of disclosures attract the special protections under the PID Act.

A voluntary public interest disclosure is a voluntary report made by a public official containing information which the public official honestly and on reasonable grounds believes shows or tends to show serious wrongdoing. A public official includes a University or controlled entity staff member or an individual contractors, volunteers or consultants that provide services on behalf of the University or a controlled entity. This type of disclosure is what most people think of as whistleblowing.

A mandatory public interest disclosure is where a person discloses information during an investigation (whether internal or external) of serious wrongdoing following a request or requirement of the investigator.

A witness public interest disclosure is a disclosure that has been made by a person because they have a legal obligation to make the report or because making that report is an ordinary aspect of their role or function in an agency.

The NSW Ombudsman has a resources available to the public about public interest disclosures.

The University’s PID Policy sets out all relevant information about public interest disclosures and the processes which apply when a public interest disclosure has been made.

University staff support services

There are a range of support services available to University staff. You are encouraged to seek support from these services at any time during the process of making a disclosure if you need it. Details about support available to staff can be found here.

Alternatively, contact your HR Business Partner for further information.

Other support services

If you are not a University staff member, please contact the Complaints team for support services available to you.

More information

Find out more information about reporting serious wrongdoing or receiving a report of wrongdoing.

Contact the Complaints team Access the Public Interest Disclosures Policy