Overall findings (all groups)

Victorian perceptions of corruption 2022

Summary of key insights

Theme

Key findings

Perceptions about corruption as a problem in Victoria

  • All groups more likely to think corruption is a problem in Victoria compared to past surveys

Behaviours most likely to be a ‘high risk’

  • Commonly identified ‘high risk’ behaviours:
    • Favouritism/nepotism
    • Breach of professional boundaries (bullying and harassment)
  • Police employees were more likely to have observed or suspected these behaviours

Offering or accepting gifts or benefits over $50

  • Most understand their responsibilities but suppliers more likely to perceive a higher risk that employees could accept gifts and benefits during procurement

Organisational ethical culture

  • Most see their workplace culture as at least ‘moderately’ ethical and comes from the top
  • Most rate their organisational vulnerability as ‘moderate’
  • Police more likely to rate their organisational vulnerability as ‘high’

Reporting corruption and misconduct

  • Police most likely to say they know how to report corruption or misconduct, Victorian public sector employees least likely
  • Most would report corruption or misconduct and would do so to their immediate manager
  • Community members are least likely to ‘definitely’ report corruption
  • Views differ between groups about whether a report would be taken seriously

Awareness and understanding of IBAC

  • Many are aware of IBAC, but few have a good understanding of what IBAC does
  • Awareness and understanding of IBAC is lowest among the community
  • All groups mainly hear about IBAC from media reporting

Prevalence of corruption and misconduct

Most people agree that they ‘know what behaviour constitutes corruption’.

Close to nine in 10 government employees and suppliers agree that they ‘know what behaviour constitutes corruption’. This drops to seven in 10 among the general community. Across all groups, significantly more people agree with the statement ‘I know what behaviour constitutes corruption’ than when last measured in 2016 (excluding suppliers, who were not asked this question previously).

Close to nine in 10 government employees and suppliers agree that they ‘know what behaviour constitutes corruption’.

Graph 1. ‘I know what behaviour constitutes corruption’ (% strongly agree + agree)

Most people agree that ‘corruption is a problem in Victoria’.

Perceptions that corruption is a problem in Victoria is highest among suppliers (66%) and the general community (64%). More than four in 10 Victoria Police employees (41%) agree that ‘police misconduct is a problem in Victoria’ (51% of the general community agree).

Agreement that ‘corruption is a problem in Victoria’ (or ‘police misconduct is a problem in Victoria’ among Victoria Police employees) increased significantly since 2016 (excluding suppliers).

Agreement that ‘corruption is a problem in Victoria’ (or ‘police misconduct is a problem in Victoria’ among Victoria Police employees) increased significantly since 2016 (excluding suppliers).

Graph 2. Agreement that 'corruption is a problem in Victoria' (or 'police misconduct is a problem in Victoria') * Note slight wording change from 2016 – 'corruption' replaced with 'police misconduct' in 2022.

 

By comparison to perceptions of corruption and police misconduct being a problem in Victoria, perceptions that these are a problem within the participant’s workplace are considerably lower.

Victorian public sector employees are most likely to think corruption is a problem in their workplace (20%) compared to 17 per cent of local government employees and 15 per cent of Victoria Police employees. Only nine per cent of business suppliers think corruption is a problem in their workplace.

Victorian public sector employees are most likely to think corruption is a problem in their workplace (20%) compared to 17 per cent of local government employees and 15 per cent of Victoria Police employees. Only nine per cent of business suppliers think corruption is a problem in their workplace.

Graph 3. ‘Corruption is a problem in my workplace’ (% strongly agree + agree) and 'Police misconduct is a problem in my workplace'*

  * Note wording change from 2016 – ‘corruption’ replaced with ‘police misconduct’ in 2022.

Favouritism, a breach of professional boundaries, or inaction are the highest perceived risks of improper behaviour occurring in local government, Victorian public sector and Victoria Police.

Compared to Victorian public sector and local government employees, Victoria Police employees are more likely to identify these improper behaviours as a ‘high risk’ of occurring in their organisation.

Compared to Victorian public sector and local government employees, Victoria Police employees are more likely to identify these improper behaviours as a ‘high risk’ of occurring in their organisation.

Graph 4. Top 2 perceived improper behaviours identified to be a ‘high risk’ of occurring

Actual instances of personally observing or suspecting these types of improper behaviours is higher among Victoria Police employees compared to local and Victorian public sector employees. 

More than half of Victoria Police employees claim they have personally observed or suspected a breach of professional boundaries or favouritism. Fewer than 10 per cent of Victorian public sector employees, local government employees and Victoria Police employees reported suspicions or observations of other serious corrupt behaviours such as theft, bribery, or extortion.

More than half of Victoria Police employees claim they have personally observed or suspected a breach of professional boundaries or favouritism.

Graph 5. Suspicion or observations of improper behaviours (% ‘personally observed’ or ‘suspected’)

Government employees perceive a smaller risk of gifts being offered or accepted compared to suppliers.

When it comes to gifts or benefits over $50, most employees across Victorian and local government appear to understand their responsibilities. Just over a quarter believe there is a ‘high’ or ‘medium’ risk of an employee asking for a gift, cash, or other benefit. This increases to approximately 50 per cent when considering a ‘high’ or ‘medium’ risk that an employee will accept a gift or benefit worth over $50. A higher percentage of suppliers rated these risks as ‘high’ or ‘medium’.

When it comes to gifts or benefits over $50, most employees across Victorian and local government appear to understand their responsibilities.

Graph 6. Perception of risks occurring (%)

Local government and Victorian public sector employees are more likely to consider the ethical culture of their organisation to be ‘strong’ compared to police.

A third of Victoria Police employees (34%) describe their organisation’s ethical culture as ‘strong’, rising to 44 per cent and 46 per cent among Victorian and local government employees.

Perceptions of the ethical culture of the organisation have not changed significantly since last measured in 2019 among local government and Victorian public sector employees.

Perceptions of the ethical culture of the organisation have not changed significantly since last measured in 2019 among local government and Victorian public sector employees.

Graph 7. Ethical culture of the organisation (%)

Fewer than one in 10 local government (8%) and Victorian public sector (9%) employees consider their organisation is ‘highly vulnerable’ to corruption and misconduct, increasing to 16 per cent among Victoria Police employees. However, the proportion of local government and Victorian public sector employees who state that their organisation is ‘not vulnerable’ to corruption and misconduct has increased significantly since last measured in 2019 (19% and 22% respectively).

Reporting corruption and misconduct

Knowing how to report corruption or misconduct is lowest among Victorian public sector employees.

Awareness of how to report corruption or misconduct is highest among Victoria Police employees at 78 per cent, with 50 per cent strongly agreeing that they know how to report corruption or misconduct.

know how to report corruption and misconduct

Graph 8. Know how to report corruption or misconduct (% ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’)

Most say they would report corruption or misconduct.

Most of the local government (86%), Victorian public sector (83%) and Victoria Police employees (87%) agree that they would definitely report corruption or misconduct if they saw it. The proportion who would definitely report corruption or misconduct is lowest among the community (76%).

Most of the local government (86%), Victorian public sector (83%) and Victoria Police employees (87%) agree that they would definitely report corruption or misconduct if they saw it.

Graph 9. ‘If I personally observed corruption or misconduct, I would definitely report it’

By comparison, 69 per cent of suppliers claim that they are ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to report corruption in procurement if it was of a serious nature.

Most employees feel their direct supervisor would be supportive if they chose to report corruption or misconduct (local government: 80%, Victorian public sector: 74% and Victoria Police: 69% respectively). These groups indicate they would report to their immediate manager (ahead of IBAC).

Views differ by group about whether a report of corruption would be taken seriously.

Nearly half of local government employees (45%) are ‘definite’ that a report of corruption would be taken seriously. Fewer Victorian public sector employees believe a report would ‘definitely’ be taken seriously (35%), and even fewer Victoria Police employees (29%) believe it would.

The proportion of local government and Victorian public sector employees who state that a report of corruption would ‘definitely’ be taken seriously has decreased significantly since last measured in 2019 (50% and 47% respectively).

Nearly half of local government employees (45%) are ‘definite’ that a report of corruption would be taken seriously. Fewer Victorian public sector employees believe a report would ‘definitely’ be taken seriously (35%), and even fewer Victoria Police employees (29%) believe it would.

Graph 10. Would a report of corruption be taken seriously? (% ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’)

Awareness and perceptions of IBAC

Most people in each group have heard about IBAC. While awareness of IBAC is generally high, understanding about IBAC is lower.

Almost all Victoria Police employees have heard of IBAC, and more than half (58%) have a ‘good understanding’ of what IBAC does. Awareness levels are lower among Victorian public sector (87%) and local government employees (86%), and suppliers (86%) and between three and four in 10 claim to have a ‘good’ understanding about IBAC. Awareness (69%) and understanding (13%) is lowest among the general community. 

Almost all Victoria Police employees have heard of IBAC, and more than half (58%) have a ‘good understanding’ of what IBAC does.

Graph 11. Overall awareness of IBAC (%)

 Across all groups, media reporting is the primary means by which people hear about IBAC (between 67%-77% of participants across groups reported seeing IBAC in media reporting in the past 12 months).
Most people in each group are at least ‘somewhat confident’ in IBAC’s ability to provide information, prevent, detect, and investigate corruption and police misconduct.
Overall, the Victorian community has higher confidence in IBAC’s ability to undertake responsibilities than other groups surveyed. Confidence in IBAC’s ability to undertake responsibilities is significantly lower among suppliers and Victoria Police employees compared to the other groups.

Overall, the Victorian community has higher confidence in IBAC’s ability to undertake responsibilities than other groups surveyed. Confidence in IBAC’s ability to undertake responsibilities is significantly lower among suppliers and Victoria Police employees compared to the other groups.

Graph 12. Confidence in IBAC (% very confident + confident + somewhat confident)

Confidence in IBAC’s ability to undertake responsibilities is significantly lower among suppliers and Victoria Police employees compared to the other groups.

Methodology

More than 12,000 people participated in IBAC’s online surveys conducted in mid-2022.

  • 4,405 Victorian Public Sector employees
  • 2,471 Local government employees
  • 1,001 Victoria Police employees
  • 1,430 business suppliers to state or local government
  • 3,000 Victorians aged 18 years and over.

More information about the methodology and individual survey findings for the five target audiences is available via the links below.

While the 2022 surveys were being conducted, IBAC and several major operations were widely reported in the media. This may have impacted on some of the perceptions reported by participants.