Research reports

Corruption and integrity: Perceptions of Victorian local government employees

Based on the findings of surveys conducted in 2016 and 2019, this report provides an overview of council employees' perceptions of corruption and integrity.

Employees' perceptions of organisational behaviours, ethical culture and areas of risk provide insight into possible gaps and weaknesses in corruption prevention controls. They also indicate where employees believe councils should increase or focus efforts to reduce corruption risks and vulnerabilities. While in some cases the behaviours described may amount to misconduct rather than corruption, the perceptions of respondents are relevant to understanding the overall ethical culture and risk profile of councils.

The most discernible difference between the previous survey's findings and those from 2019, is that respondents now perceive councillor conduct to be an area of increasing corruption risk. Otherwise, the results in both surveys indicate similar perceptions of corruption risks and barriers to reporting corruption. While perceptions of councils’ ethical culture have improved, respondents still expressed a desire for increased training and education about appropriate workplace behaviour, professional conduct and corruption risks.

The 2019 survey results highlight the important role of leaders in setting the example and tone for integrity, and provide insight into the differences of opinion across managerial levels and roles/work areas, particularly around perceived risks and views of organisational health and ethical culture.