Responsibilities of Supervisors and Senior Officers
The senior officer for disclosure helps promote a positive environment for disclosing wrongdoing and deals with disclosures of wrongdoing made by public servants of their organization. Senior officers are responsible for supporting the chief executive in meeting the requirements of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA).
The senior officer’s duties and powers within his or her organization also include the following, in accordance with the internal disclosure procedures established under the PSDPA:
- Provide information, advice and guidance to public servants regarding the organization’s internal disclosure procedures, including the making of disclosures, the conduct of investigations into disclosures, and the handling of disclosures made to supervisors.
- Receive and record disclosures and review them to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for further action under the PSDPA.
- Manage investigations into disclosures, including determining whether to deal with a disclosure under the PSDPA, initiate an investigation or cease an investigation.
- Coordinate handling of a disclosure with the senior officer of another federal public sector organization, if a disclosure or an investigation into a disclosure involves that other organization.
- Notify the person(s) who made a disclosure in writing of the outcome of any review and/or investigation into the disclosure and on the status of actions taken on the disclosure, as appropriate.
- Report the findings of investigations, as well as any systemic problems that may give rise to wrongdoing, directly to his or her chief executive, with recommendations for corrective action, if any.
Informing and advising employees
Employees who are considering making a disclosure can come to you for advice and guidance. This includes explaining how confidentiality is maintained.
Employees should also know where to go if they need more information, such as your organization’s own policy for disclosure. You can also refer employees to the related Resources on the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act and the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner website.
Dealing with disclosures
If an employee provides you with a disclosure, you must decide whether it qualifies as wrongdoing as defined by the PSDPA, or whether it is a situation that should be dealt with under another process or through another recourse mechanism such as a grievance, harassment complaint or a staffing complaint.
If you believe the employee’s information concerns a potential wrongdoing, follow the procedures established by your organization to deal with the disclosure at your level. Then outline to the employee the steps that will be taken.
Protecting identities and keeping confidential records
You must protect the identity of the employee making a disclosure and other persons involved in a disclosure situation. This means you should keep disclosure records separate from existing files. You must also only reveal information about a disclosure to individuals authorized to deal with the situation, such as investigators, the Senior Officer for Disclosure or your chief executive (for example the Deputy Minister).
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