Are you vulnerable to corruption

By analysing data from complaints, Public Interest Disclosures and investigations, and by using our intelligence, experience, insights and other information, we can identify where and how public sector agencies might be vulnerable to corruption.

There are ‘red flags’ – common warning signs that corruption may be occurring or that systems are at risk of being exploited. Once you know what these are, it's easier to assess and manage your agency's unique corruption risks. 

  • When not declared openly, or managed consistently, conflicts of interest can cross the line into corruption. They may include:

    • accepting gifts or benefits in exchange for services, contracts or favourable decisions
    • existing or prior personal or business relationships
    • associating with others who have a business or criminal interest in the public sector
    • breaching agencies’ declarable associations policies
    • taking secondary employment that conflicts with their primary public sector employment.

    Our information sheet on conflicts of interest covers how to better understand and manage conflicts, along with effective prevention and control measures.

  • IBAC’s analysis shows that organised crime groups cultivate contacts within the public sector to access information, influence decisions and manipulate systems. These groups are a threat at all levels of government, including for council workers, departmental officers and law enforcement employees.

    Could you be targeted by criminals? Learn about potential vulnerabilities.

  • Employees who exercise regulatory functions may corruptly use their authority. Regulatory functions include:

    • issuing and collecting payment for permits and licences
    • ensuring compliance with legislative standards
    • investigating breaches and enforcing regulations.

    Undeclared conflicts of interest may also influence their decisions.

  • Unauthorised access and disclosure of public sector information presents significant corruption risks, particularly in agencies with access to sensitive or classified information. It can have serious consequences for individuals’ safety and privacy, and for the reputations and operations of public agencies.

  • Purchasing goods and services and managing contracts are common functions in the public sector. IBAC investigations and reviews have exposed just how vulnerable these can be to corruption.

    Are you sure your procurement is always above board? Find out about the red flags.

  • Poor practices before and during recruitment, or poor post-employment practices, leave public sector organisations vulnerable to hiring corrupt staff, or people who are susceptible to corruption.

    IBAC and the Victorian Ombudsman have expressed concern that public sector employees accused of misconduct or corruption often resign before an investigation concludes, avoiding disciplinary action. Unless specific probity checking arrangements exist between agencies, these problematic staff could be re-employed elsewhere in the public sector with a clean slate.

    Pre-employment screening and vetting needs to reflect the levels of access and sensitivity associated with a position.

    Regular and ‘as-required’ post-employment vetting and revalidation should also occur, especially if risk or red flag issues arise. The rigour of these processes should also reflect the position’s level of access and sensitivity.

    Are your recruitment practices up to scratch? Find out what to look for.