Victoria’s anti-corruption capacity will be strengthened with the introduction of compulsory reporting of suspected corruption for all heads of public sector bodies starting December 1.
Earlier this year the Victorian Parliament passed legislation to establish a new requirement for heads of public sector bodies to notify the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission of suspected corruption. The requirement was part of a raft of measures to strengthen the state’s integrity system, such as broadening the types of corruption allegations IBAC can investigate, introduced in July.
The mandatory notification requirements will impact government department heads, CEOs of local councils, and other principal officers, and cannot be delegated. They will now be required to notify IBAC if they have reasonable grounds to suspect corruption is occurring or has occurred in their workplace.
The relevant principal officer must notify IBAC of all instances of suspected corrupt conduct occurring in their own organisation, and suspected corrupt conduct occurring in other organisations where it is connected with their duties, functions and exercise of powers. There is no legislative obligation for public service bosses to search out corrupt conduct, only to report it when suspected.
Agencies should ensure that appropriate internal systems are in place so matters involving corrupt conduct reported by staff are forwarded to the relevant principal officer, says IBAC.
Victoria Police is already required to notify IBAC of complaints of corrupt conduct or police misconduct.
The Act defines corrupt conduct as conduct, or an attempt or conspiracy to engage in conduct (whether it takes place inside or outside of Victoria), that:
- adversely affects the honest performance of the functions of a public officer or public body;
- constitutes or involves the dishonest performance of the functions of a public officer or public body;
- constitutes or involves knowingly or recklessly breaching public trust by a public officer or public body;
- involves the misuse of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of the functions of a public officer or public body;
- and is intended to adversely affect the effective performance of the functions or powers of a public officer or public body and results in the person or their associate obtaining a specified benefit.
More information is available at the IBAC website.