Research reports

Corruption and integrity: Perceptions of Victorian public sector employees

Based on the findings of three surveys conducted between 2013 and 2019, this report provides an overview of Victorian public sector 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 their agencies 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 an agency.

The most discernible difference between the previous surveys' findings and those from 2019 is that respondents now perceive political and ministerial influence in decision-making to be an area of increasing corruption risk. Otherwise, the results in all surveys indicate similar perceptions of corruption risks and barriers to reporting corruption. Perceptions of agencies' ethical culture have improved, but respondents still expressed a desire for increased training and education about appropriate workplace behaviour and professional conduct. Employees also want their agencies to have stronger policies, procedures and controls to mitigate 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 sectors, particularly around perceived risks and views of organisational health and ethical culture.