Public Interest Disclosure Act: Internal Roles and Responsibilities

There are many people and steps involved in asking for advice about, making, accepting and investigating a disclosure made under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA). It’s important that everyone involved understands their role. Doing so will help make government more efficient, transparent and accountable.

By knowing our roles and coordinating with each other, we can ensure that disclosures of wrongdoing, and requests for advice about making disclosures, are treated confidentially. We can also ensure that disclosures are investigated in a timely manner. This will make our workplaces safer, more ethical and ultimately increase public trust in the BC Public Service.

These internal roles and responsibilities are in addition to those laid out in the Accountability Framework for HR Management Appendix A.

Deputy Ministers

The responsibilities below are directly from HR Policy 24 – Public Interest Disclosure (PDF, 372KB).

  • Ensure all employees are made aware of PIDA
  • Promote a work environment that encourages employees to report wrongdoing
  • Assign the role of designated officer under PIDA to the ministry ethics advisor or other senior ministry official
  • Deal with breaches of this policy statement in a timely manner, taking the appropriate action based upon the facts and circumstances
  • Report on number of disclosures, disposition, outcomes and other relevant measures

BC Public Service Agency Designated Officer (Agency Designated Officer)

The Agency designated officer under PIDA gives advice about potential disclosures, receives disclosures, reviews them and manages their investigation, including assessing the risk of reprisal against disclosers. This role belongs to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) responsible for Employee Relations in the BC Public Service Agency. The function of the Agency designated officer will largely be carried out by the BC Public Service Agency Employee Relations team. They are delegated to act as an agent of the Agency designated officer.

The responsibilities below are directly from HR Policy 24 – Public Interest Disclosure (PDF, 372KB).

  • Receive disclosures from supervisors, ministry designated officers and employees and collect information about the disclosure in writing
  • Provide advice to employees about making a disclosure
  • Manage the disclosure according to the principles of administrative fairness, including maintaining confidentiality to the fullest extent possible
  • Assess the risk of reprisal
  • Assess and investigate the disclosure in a timely manner and follow-up with the disclosure as required
  • Collect information to report on number of disclosures, disposition, outcomes and other relevant measures

The Agency designated officer can be reached at PIDA@gov.bc.ca.

Ministry Designated Officers/Supervisors

The ministry designated officer for each ministry is that ministry’s ethics advisor. Supervisors also have responsibilities related to public interest disclosures as outlined in the Public Interest Disclosure Act and HR Policy 24. The responsibilities below are directly from HR Policy 24 – Public Interest Disclosure (PDF, 372KB).

  • Provide advice to employees about making a disclosure
  • Receive disclosures from employees and collect information about the disclosure in writing
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Forward disclosures to the Agency designated officer in a timely manner
  • Contribute to a work environment that encourages employees to report wrongdoing

Employees

Employees have responsibilities related to the Public Interest Disclosure Act whether they choose to make a disclosure under PIDA or whether they become aware of, or are involved in, a PIDA disclosure or investigation.

The responsibilities below are directly from HR Policy 24 – Public Interest Disclosure (PDF, 372KB).

  • Make public interest disclosures in good faith and in accordance with established procedures
  • Maintain confidentiality and cooperate with investigations
  • Check with their supervisor or manager, ministry designated officer or Agency designated officer when they are uncertain about any aspect of this policy statement
  • Co-operate with the ombudsperson in the handling of a disclosure of information under the Act
  • Report under other B.C. laws, practices or processes (e.g., PIDA does not replace the responsibilities and obligations under laws such as the Child and Family Community Services Act, the Financial Administration Act, Workers’ Compensation Act)