Most Australian states and territories have anti-corruption bodies1 and supporting legislation that may create obligations on psychologists to report alleged corruption or misconduct if undertaking contract work for government or public agencies. For example, psychologists who are ‘contracted’ to deliver Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to government and public authorities in South Australia are required to comply with anti-corruption legislation2 and are subject to mandatory reporting requirements. This means that psychologists undertaking this work must report to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption’s office any matter they reasonably suspect involves corruption or serious misconduct or maladministration in public administration.
Psychologists contracted to deliver EAP (or other psychological services) to a government or public body/agency should seek information from their contracting body about obligations to report corruption and misconduct. Obligations may vary across different jurisdictions. The impact of these reporting obligations on psychologists is significant given the nature of a psychological service and the real likelihood that clients may discuss workplace concerns with the psychologist.
If mandatory reporting obligations exist, psychologists will need to ensure clients are fully informed of the limits to confidentiality, and that any signed consent forms sought from the client clearly outline any such obligations. Where a client of a relevant service discloses alleged corruption, psychologists should consider seeking legal advice through their professional indemnity insurer if they are unsure about their reporting obligations.
A reminder for Board-approved supervisors
The Psychology Board of Australia approved supervisor status is reviewed every five years, and evidence of completion of at least a one-day Board-approved masterclass must be supplied to the Board.
All supervisors who were Board-approved before July 2013 (when the Guidelines for supervisors and supervisor training providers came into effect), will need to complete a masterclass and apply to maintain Board-approved supervisor status by 30 June 2018.
Visit www.psychologyboard.gov.au/News/Newsletters/News-for-board-approved-supervisors.aspx to check your expiry date as a supervisor, or to enrol in a masterclass.
Disclaimer: Published in InPsych on June 2017. The APS aims to ensure that information published in InPsych is current and accurate at the time of publication. Changes after publication may affect the accuracy of this information. Readers are responsible for ascertaining the currency and completeness of information they rely on, which is particularly important for government initiatives, legislation or best-practice principles which are open to amendment. The information provided in InPsych does not replace obtaining appropriate professional and/or legal advice.