In early 2016, the Victorian Parliament passed legislation to establish a requirement for relevant principal officers (essentially heads of public sector bodies) to notify IBAC of suspected corruption (previously it was discretionary).
Since coming into effect on 1 December 2016, IBAC has received a total of 109 mandatory notifications (1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017). These comprised 61 from state government agencies and 48 from local councils.
Of the 295 allegations assessed as a result of these notifications:
- 54 per cent were referred to agencies to handle internally, or to another body such as the Victorian Ombudsman
- 25 per cent were dismissed for various reasons including lack of information
- 21 per cent were retained by IBAC for preliminary inquiry or investigation.
IBAC has actively engaged with state government agencies and local councils regarding mandatory notifications and has identified that there is a high level of understanding and support for the regime.
Some agencies have indicated a challenge has been determining what constitutes corrupt conduct for reporting to IBAC. Another issue identified by agencies is how they balance the need to discreetly gather sufficient information to form a reasonable suspicion that corrupt conduct is occurring or has occurred, and the need to report the matter to IBAC in a timely manner to avoid compromising any potential investigation.
IBAC recently surveyed principal officers as part of its engagement with state government agencies and local councils regarding mandatory notifications. The Chief Executive of Manningham City Council, Warwick Winn, was one of the 80 principal officers who responded, indicating the new regime has broader benefits for strengthening the council’s integrity framework.
“The (mandatory) notification obligations were discussed in-house and with the elected council. That process positively helped reinforce other probity and transparency initiatives that council had commenced with,” Mr Winn said.
IBAC provides a range of resources for principal officers to help support them in meeting their legislative requirements to mandatorily notify IBAC when they suspect corrupt conduct.
IBAC will soon publish further information on our website, including case studies and statistics, to help state government agencies and local councils identify and report corrupt conduct under the mandatory notification requirements.