PKF Integrity Services (BMNS) Pty Ltd
Speak Up Service
About this service

Speak Up supports staff who don't feel comfortable raising their concerns directly with the Department. Speak Up is a 24 hour externally hosted hotline to report concerns about suspected fraud, corruption and other serious matters (e.g. conflicts of interest). Speak Up is not designed for all workplace matters and does not replace existing ways to make complaints.

Reports made to Speak Up are confidential and will be forwarded to the Department’s Fraud and Corruption Control Unit for assessment.

Speak Up supports Department employees to comply with their mandatory obligations to report all cases of suspected fraud or corruption.


Who else can I contact?


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Contact us directly

If you prefer to make a report by telephone please call the Speak Up Service directly.


If something doesn’t look right or feel right, we want you to speak up

Your Questions Answered

Q: Who can make a report to Speak Up?

A:

  • DET employees, including all corporate and school staff
  • Consultants and contractors engaged by the DET
 
Q: Who cannot make a report to Speak Up?

A:

  • VCAA or VRQA staff
  • Parents, students and members of the public. See parent and public complaints.
  • Staff employed by non-government schools
  • Staff employed by early childhood education and care providers
  • Staff employed by higher and vocational education providers, including TAFE, RTOs, universities

They can direct concerns to the Victorian Ombudsman or IBAC.

 
Q: What can I report to Speak Up?

A:

Staff should speak to an appropriate manager first. This could be their manager or the respondent's manager. Speak Up can be used as a back-up to report suspected:

  • Fraud
  • Corruption, including financial mismanagement
  • Other serious matters, such as serious conflicts of interest (e.g. large purchases or contracts)
  • Stopping or attempting to stop staff from making reports
  • Failures to act on reports
 
Q: What is fraud?

A:

Fraud is dishonest activity causing actual or potential financial loss to the Department (including theft of money or other property) and where deception is used at the time, immediately before or immediately following the activity. This also includes deliberate falsification, concealment, destruction or use of (or intention to use) falsified documentation and the improper use of information or position for personal financial benefit.

 
Q: What is corruption?

A:

Corruption is a dishonest activity in which an executive, manager, employee or contractor of the Department acts contrary to the interests of the Department and abuses his or her position of trust in order to achieve some personal gain or advantage for him or herself or for another person or entity.

 
Q: What about reports of bullying or harassment?

A:

The best way to report these matters is via an appropriate manager. Speak Up is designed for suspected fraud, corruption and other serious matters (e.g. serious conflicts of interest).

For information, support and advice about harassment and bullying in the workplace visit the Respectful Workplaces portal. Speak Up will appropriately refer these matters.

 
Q: What about suspected illegal conduct?

A:

Allegations of illegal conduct, such as sexual assault, violent crimes, drugs and weapons offences, property damage or theft, should be immediately referred to an appropriate manager or to the Employee Conduct Branch. The matter will then be referred to Victoria Police. Speak Up will refer these matters.

 
Q: What information should I have ready to ensure I make an effective report?

A:

Being able to answer the following questions will ensure your report has enough detail to be properly assessed:

  • Have you tried to report the matter elsewhere? If so, to whom? What was the outcome?
  • What was the incident/s or issue/s?
  • What makes you think it was fraud, corruption or a serious conflict of interest?
  • What makes you think it was serious misconduct?
  • How did the incident/s occur?
  • Where did the incident/s take place?
  • When did the incident/s occur?
  • Who was involved?
  • Were there any witnesses?
  • Do you have an estimate of the monetary value of the property/incident?
  • Is there any physical documentation or evidence?
  • How long did it take you to realise the incident/s had occurred?
  • Do you think this was a one-off occurrence?
 
Q: What do I need to consider before I make a report?

A:

  • Have you tried to speak to an appropriate manager first? This is the most effective and expedient way to raise your concerns and address the issue.
  • Matters already dealt with through the Merit Protection Board, Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal, Fair Work Commission, Ombudsman, or other independent complaints handling bodies, tribunals or courts will not be progressed unless new information is provided.
  • If your concern relates to a reasonable management decision, it is unlikely to be progressed beyond initial assessment.
  • Be mindful that the information you provide to Speak Up can't be withdrawn and is subject to legislation that mandates DET's management of information and records. DET can continue to progress the matter.
  • If you choose to not provide your name and details to Speak Up, the ability to progress the matter may be limited.
 
Q: What happens when I make contact?

A:

  • When you contact Speak Up, you are contacting a third party provider - PKF Integrity Services (BMNS) Pty Ltd - engaged by DET to receive and record your report.
  • If you call the hotline, Speak Up staff will ask you some questions to ensure the report is as comprehensive as possible, and can be properly assessed by DET.
  • You will be asked if you want to provide your name and details or remain anonymous. All information will be treated as confidential.
  • You will be advised about the Employee Assistance Program, which provides wellbeing and counselling support for all DET staff.
  • You will receive a unique identification code for your report, which you can cite if you wish to call back for a basic update on your report. This is also useful if you chose to remain anonymous.
 
Q: Is the report being audio recorded?

A:

No. Speak Up staff take notes in order to develop the report.

 
Q: Can I receive a copy of the report?

A:

Yes. This can be provided on request.

 
Q: What happens if I remain anonymous?

A:

Your matter will still be assessed based on the information you provide.

You will receive a unique ID number, which you can use to call back to obtain a basic update. (i.e. the matter is under review, the matter has been resolved).

Be mindful that Speak Up can't get back to you to find out any more information, which may be needed to progress the matter.

If your matter is progressed, be mindful that the information you provide may be enough to identify you to the respondent anyway (e.g. you were the only one there, the only one who would know what happened).

 
Q: What happens if I provide my name?

A:

Your matter will be treated as confidential.

Where appropriate, DET may contact you directly to seek more information, provide you with appropriate support (wellbeing support through your manager, referral to the Employee Assistance Program) and inform you that the matter has been resolved.

Your name may be put to the respondent where it is crucial to progressing the matter and allegations are serious. This is only required where necessary to afford natural justice and ensure the respondent is treated fairly in the process.

Natural justice is a legal principle that underpins DET's complaints processes and is a legal requirement. Natural justice requires fulsome information be put to the respondent for them to be able to reasonably and fairly respond to the allegations.

 
Q: How can I be sure my report will be treated confidentially?

A:

This is a confidential service. Only the officers directly responsible for advising on or managing your matter, including the 'triage' members, have any access to the report. These officers are bound by privacy laws and the Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees to uphold the strictest confidentiality at all times.

 
Q: What happens once I have made my report?

A:

The reports are provided to DET, initially to the Integrity, Assurance and Executive Services Division, to commence the assessment and referral process through triage.

 
Q: Can I follow up to see what action has been taken?

A:

Yes. You can call Speak Up and cite your ID number. If you leave your contact details with Speak Up, you will be contacted directly with a basic outcome.

 
Q: Once the matter is resolved, will I receive an outcome?

A:

You will be advised if the matter was resolved. You will be advised if it was substantiated (in whole or part), unsubstantiated or if it lacked enough evidence to reach a final outcome.

You will not receive any detail about any action relating to the respondent for legal and privacy reasons.

If the matter is referred for handling in accordance with the usual complaints process, you may be involved in a mediated resolution, or receive an apology.

 
Q: How long does it take to reach an outcome?

A:

DET commits to considering complaints in a timely way. This ensures closure for all parties.

Some matters can be closed or resolved quickly, while others are sensitive or complex and can take more time.

In line with natural justice principles, respondents must also be afforded a fair and reasonable amount of time to respond to allegations.

 
Q: How can I be sure I will be protected from reprisal?

A:

The Department will not tolerate any actual or threatened victimisation against any person making a report. Reports of victimisation will be investigated and if found to be substantiated will be treated as misconduct and may result in disciplinary action.

 
Q: If my complaint is substantiated, can I seek financial compensation from DET?

A:

DET does not compensate complainants unless a legal claim is made and there is a formal settlement of that claim.

 
Q: Are there other avenues for me to raise concerns about the conduct of DET staff?

A:

  • Speak to an appropriate manager

    Speak Up does not replace existing avenues for raising concerns. You should try to talk to an appropriate manager (or principal) first. If your concern is about your manager, then you can approach the manager above. The managers of Executive Directors are Deputy Secretaries, and at the regional level the executives accountable for managing complaints about principals are the Area Directors.

  • The Victorian Ombudsman

    The Victorian Ombudsman accepts complaints from the public about Department decisions or actions, including the conduct of DET staff, most commonly after the complaint has already been made to the Department.

    If you are dissatisfied with the outcome or DET's handling of the matter, you can contact the Ombudsman. If they choose not to investigate they will provide reasons for their decision. For more information or to make a report see: www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

  • Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)

    You can make a report to IBAC about suspected corrupt conduct in the Victorian public sector. Reports made to IBAC must be in writing and should clearly describe the conduct you are reporting, who was involved and where it occurred. Reports can be lodged to IBAC via their website at: http://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/

 
Q: What happens if my report is considered a 'public interest disclosure'?

A:

A public interest disclosure is a report of 'improper conduct' or 'detrimental action' as defined by the Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (Vic)..

If your report is a 'public interest disclosure' you will be afforded legal protections, including:

  • legal protection from defamation and detrimental action
  • legal immunity from civil or criminal liability, administrative action (including disciplinary action), and obligations of confidentiality
  • your name will never be publicised in relation to the matter
  • you and your family, friends and DET colleagues will be protected from retribution because of making the disclosure
 
Q: Who determines if my report is a 'public interest disclosure'?

A:

You are not expected to know whether your complaint is a 'protected disclosure'.The Integrity, Assurance and Executive Services Division will consider this using the DET Making, handling and managing public interest disclosures procedures. The matter is then referred to IBAC who determines whether your report is a 'public interest complaint' or not.