A report into Victoria’s integrity agencies has recommended IBAC review the state’s OHS strategies and that the Victorian ombud prioritise vulnerable communities.
A parliamentary integrity and oversight committee made the recommendations related to IBAC after becoming aware, through reports, of a workplace culture of bullying and sexual harassment at the agency.
The committee had requested IBAC’s full results from a 2019 People Matter Survey, which showed 14% of IBAC staff reported they had experienced bullying; 11%, discrimination; 7%, occupational violence; and 13%, sexual harassment.
The survey also showed only 49% of IBAC respondents were confident they would be protected from reprisal if they reported improper conduct.
IBAC told the committee it had since: introduced a new incident-reporting system; engaged consultants to review OHS performance and policy; conducted training; and had workshops for leaders with Beyond Blue.
The committee acknowledged that IBAC had already made changes and was committed to further improvements but recommended the corruption watchdog review its OHS strategies, policies and practices and report back to the committee.
“Given IBAC’s oversight role with regard to integrity and governance standards in public sector workplaces in Victoria’s public sector, it is important that its own workplace culture is exemplary,” the report says.
The committee also recommended the Victorian ombud prioritise assistance for vulnerable people and regional communities, recognising COVID-19 had put additional pressures on existing challenges.
The committee acknowledged that 99% of the 83 recommendations the ombud made to public sector bodies in 2019-20 were accepted in full or in part.