Alistair Maclean: corruption red flags in local government

Procurement, misuse of information, conflicts of interest and criminal associations can all raise red flags at the local government level. IBAC’s chief corruption fighter in Victoria outlines what to look out for.

All public sector agencies are susceptible to corruption.

Through the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission’s investigations and corruption prevention work, we’ve seen corrupt practices across our police, state and local government jurisdictions. What ties many of our investigations together — particularly in state government agencies and councils — are corruption risks associated with procurement, asset management and conflicts of interest. With knowledge of the key corruption “red flags”, councils can better assess and mitigate corruption risks and work towards building a corruption-resistant organisation.

In 2014/15, IBAC assessed around 4500 allegations, of which councils accounted for around 6%. We completed 15 investigations and held two public hearings into alleged corruption at Public Transport Victoria and the Department of Education and Training. We also took up 38 allegations as part of 16 new and ongoing investigations, two of which involve councils.

Of the 15 completed investigations, six dealt with procurement, misuse of information, conflicts of interest and criminal associations at councils.

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