• The Director of Local Government has today released the Hobart City Council Disclosure of Information Investigation report.
• This Report details an investigation conducted by the Local Government Division into the disclosure of confidential information from the Hobart City Council in July 2017.
• Information from the Hobart City Council – Communications Review report, confidentially provided to Hobart City Council Aldermen was leaked to the Mercury, which subsequently published in July 2017.
• Under the Local Government Act 1993 section 338A, it is an offence for a councillor or employee to disclose confidential information.
• Councils are encouraged to operate and make decisions with the highest levels of transparency and accountability, however it is understood that there are times when information should be withheld from the public domain.
• The disclosure of confidential information not only represents a breach of trust and respect, but can also have legal consequences for individuals depending on the content of the information released. It may also have a personal impact on individuals where the information released is of a personally sensitive nature.
• Results of this investigation found that:
o Investigators were able to gather a significant amount of information, including dates and times that the report was accessed through the Aldermanic hub, and by whom;
o the most likely manner the Mercury received confidential information was via phone;
o while on this occasion there is insufficient evidence to identify the offender, the investigation serves to remind the small minority in local government who may be tempted to engage in misconduct that their actions do have repercussions, for themselves and others.
• The investigation makes recommendations to Council to enhance its information security, by:
• Ending the practice of providing hard copies through the Council’s reading room, or at least putting additional controls in place;
• Assessing and determining the possibility of further restricting staff access to confidential information; and
• Reviewing the possibility of automatically logging users out of the Aldermanic hub after a period of inactivity, and enabling regular password changes.
• A copy of this report can be found on the Local Government Division Website: http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/local_government/investigations