|Title:||Policy on Use of Official Information and Public Comment|
|Document ID:||Operational Directive OD 0327/11|
|Date of issue:||Wednesday, 8 June 2011|
|Description:||Policy on Use of Official Information and Public Comment|
|Applicable to:||WA Health|
|Framework:||Employment Policy Framework|
|Period of effect:||from 23 May 2011|
|Review date:||23 May 2016|
|Authorised by:||Kim Snowball, Director General, Department of Health WA, 08-Jun-2011|
|Print version:||View print version|
Policy on Use of Official Information and Public Comment
WA Health employees are not permitted to use official information obtained through the course of their employment to provide public comment or communicate in writing or online without the express authorisation of their Chief Executive Officer. Public comment includes, but is not limited to, verbal comments to the media, written communication such as letters to the media and online communication by email, blogging and posts via social media sites. Unauthorised disclosure of official information is a breach of an employee’s duty of fidelity and good faith which will result in disciplinary action and in some cases termination.
This Policy applies to all employees within WA Health entities including:
This Policy covers all verbal, written and online communication by employees using official information obtained through the course of their employment. This Policy applies to communication during and outside of work hours.
Part 2 Division 1 Section 9(b) of the Western Australian Public Sector Management Act 1994 (as amended) (the PSM Act) states that all employees of public sector bodies:
“Are to act with integrity in the performance of official duties and are to be scrupulous in the use of official information, equipment and facilities.”
Accordingly, WA Health employees are not to:
Further, the PSM Act, Administrative Instruction 278 – Media & Public Communications states:
“Selected public servants may be called on, as part of their official duties, to explain or provide information to the media or the general public on their agencies’ policies and activities. Chief Executive Officers will determine which officers shall be authorised to make public comment.
Accordingly, WA Health employees are not permitted to:
CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA:
Generally, public comment to the media is made through the relevant Department of Health or Area Health Service Public Relations / Public Affairs areas. The following should be noted:
OTHER POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE OBLIGATIONS:
Prohibited Use of Official Information and Public Comment may also be in contravention of:
Public Interest Disclosure
The use of official information when the subject of a public interest disclosure is a separate issue and is covered by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003 (the PID Act). Within the PID Act, WA Health has designated the Assistant Director, Ethical Standards, Corporate Governance Directorate, as the Principal PID Officer. The Principal PID Officer or any other WA Health PID Officer can be contacted for advice regarding these matters.
Advice as to the current WA Health PID Officers is located on the Office of the Public Sector Standards Commissioner website at:
Freedom of Information
Information can also be released where it is required when the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (1992) (the FOI Act) apply.
Information relating to the FOI Act can be accessed on the Information Commissioner’s website at:
Additional information relating to FOI can also be accessed on the Corporate Governance Directorate intranet site at:
BreachesAny staff member who breaches the provisions of this Policy will be committing an act of misconduct and may be subject to the procedures outlined in the WA Health Misconduct and Discipline Policy, the Public Sector Management Act 1994 or to other action or provisions relevant to the management of conduct.
This circular last updated: Wednesday, 8 June 2011 at 2:00pm