Listen: Alistair Maclean on gathering corruption intelligence through mandatory notifications

By The Mandarin

Monday February 13, 2017

Alistair Maclean

Heads of Victorian public sector agencies and local councils are now required to report suspected corrupt conduct to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission — previously a discretionary matter.

Very few notifications become IBAC investigations, less than 1% based on recent discretionary referrals, says IBAC CEO Alistair Maclean in an interview about this new requirement and what it means for the Victorian public sector. Some may be referred to another body, or not pursued.

If so few result in IBAC investigations couldn’t it be seen as a waste of time? No so, Maclean explains:

“From a strategic point of view, it provides both us and the public sector an opportunity to build an accurate picture of corruption risks across the public sector agencies and then respond accordingly to prevent corruption conduct from occurring in the first place.

“So it’s not just about us responding to a specific complaint or notification of suspected conduct and investigating that specific complaint, it’s also about a more strategic approach to the risks of corrupt conduct and how we can all work together to prevent that conduct from occurring in the first place.”

Since the change to mandatory reporting in December, there have been some early lessons of the experience:

“There’s some uncertainty around how protected disclosures, in other words the whistleblower regime, interacts with mandatory notifications. To clarify, we treat all complaints and notifications in the same way. They’re assessed as protections under the Protected Disclosure Act and therefore classified as protected disclosures. This includes all notifications made by all principle officers … we’re not doubling up here, we’re trying to make things simple and streamlined for the public sector.”

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