A new review by Victoria’s anti-corruption commission, IBAC, has found state government agencies are exploring new avenues for corruption detection and prevention, such as use of data analytics and the appointment of risk champions.
The review of integrity frameworks in 38 Victorian state government agencies highlighted ways the broader public sector could better detect and prevent corruption, such as applying robust due diligence processes for suppliers, and developing more interactive training and integrity-related performance measures.
It focussed on good practice and potential opportunities for improvement within integrity frameworks.
IBAC CEO Alistair Maclean said the review was undertaken to help the broader public sector improve their systems, processes and controls to prevent corrupt conduct that can undermine trust in government. He encourages agencies to assess their integrity frameworks using the review’s findings.
“Developing cultures of integrity and frameworks to prevent corruption must be a continuing focus for every state government agency,” Maclean said.
“This review found some agencies have adopted innovative approaches using data analytics to detect potential corruption. That’s an area other agencies may be able to learn from.”
The review focused on agencies’ practices towards key corruption risk areas, including procurement, nepotism, conflicts of interest, and information misuse.
Reporting from colleagues and supervisors/managers were the most common ways suspected corrupt conduct had been identified in the participating agencies, according to IBAC.
However, previous research found only one-third of state government employees were confident with reporting. IBAC’s latest campaign aims to address this.
The review recommends agencies encourage reports from many sources and ensure reporting channels are easily accessible.
“Given the resources and responsibilities entrusted to state government agencies, it is important they develop and maintain effective integrity frameworks to prevent loss of public resources, trust and other impacts that could compromise the delivery of vital programs and services for the Victorian community,” IBAC said.
The report suggests agencies enhance their integrity frameworks by including integrity-related behaviours in employee performance plans to assess their behaviour.
Further recommendations to include:
- Requiring conflict of interest declarations be made electronically and using a centralised electronic repository of all declarations.
- Tailoring integrity training and communication to specific roles, presented in interactive formats to improve staff engagement, awareness, and retention.
- Using appropriate levels of screening for shortlisted candidates and existing employees for positions, particularly those at risk of potential exposure to fraud and corruption.
- Conducting due diligence before engaging suppliers and validating information collected from the supplier through independent third party sources.