Information for principal officers

Mandatory notifications are an important ingredient in the Victorian public sector’s shared responsibility and commitment to identify and address integrity vulnerabilities and will help agencies and IBAC build a clearer picture of corruption risks.

Mandatory notifications of public sector corruption were introduced in December 2016. This obligation is set out in section 57 of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (the Act).

As the head of your department, agency or council (the ‘relevant principal officer’), you are obligated to notify IBAC when you have reasonable grounds to suspect corruption is occurring or has occurred in your workplace. 

What you must notify IBAC about

You must notify IBAC of all suspected corrupt conduct. There is no legislative obligation for relevant principal officers to search out corrupt conduct, only report it when suspected. To meet the threshold for notification to IBAC, the conduct must:

  1. Be corrupt conduct as defined in section 4 of the Act; and
  2. Be an indictable offence or a prescribed common-law offence committed in Victoria; and
  3. Lead a reasonable person to suspect that corrupt conduct has occurred or is occurring (reasonable suspicion).

What is corrupt conduct?

The IBAC Act (section 4) describes and defines corrupt conduct, summarised here as conduct, or an attempt or conspiracy to engage in conduct (whether it takes place inside or outside of Victoria), that:

  • adversely affects the honest performance of the functions of a public officer or public body, or
  • constitutes or involves the dishonest performance of the functions of a public officer or public body, or
  • constitutes or involves knowingly or recklessly breaching public trust, or
  • involves the misuse of information or material acquired in the course of the performance of the functions of a public officer or public body, or
  • is intended to adversely affect the effective performance of the functions or powers of a public officer or public body and results in the person or their associate obtaining a specified benefit.

Corrupt conduct is generally deliberate or intentional and not the result of a mistake or negligence.

What is a common-law offence?

To be considered corrupt conduct, the conduct must constitute an indictable offence against any Act, or the common law offences of attempt to pervert the course of justice, bribery of a public official, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office.

What constitutes reasonable suspicion?

You must have reasonable grounds to suspect the corrupt conduct is occurring or has occurred before notifying IBAC. This means making an assessment of whether there is a real possibility that corrupt conduct is, or may be, involved.

An allegation of corruption is not enough to warrant notification. The Relevant Principal Officer must form a reasonable suspicion based on the facts or circumstances of the case.

  • Before reporting, consider, for example, if there is documentary or eyewitness reports or patterns of behaviour that tend to confirm the validity of the suspicion.
  • Be careful to maintain confidentiality, and do not approach suspected wrongdoers or disclosers.
  • It may be necessary to conduct discreet checks but you should not take any steps to commence an internal investigation before reporting suspected corrupt conduct to IBAC.

Decision-making flowchart

Directions for making mandatory notifications (decision making flowchart)

IBAC recognises that sometimes it can be difficult to discern what constitutes corrupt conduct or at what point reasonable suspicion is formed. Relevant Principal Officers will have to exercise their judgement, and may need to seek independent legal advice before notifying IBAC.

If you have a reasonable suspicion that corrupt conduct is occurring or has occurred in your organisation, you must report it to IBAC as soon as practicable.

If in doubt, submit a notification to IBAC for assessment.

Misconduct that does not meet the mandatory notification threshold described above does not need to be reported to IBAC (ie low level misconduct or performance related issues which should be handled internally as disciplinary or staff development matters).

How to notify IBAC

Download the mandatory notification form to make a notification. Use additional Part B and Part C forms if required. Submit the form(s) by:


For urgent matters, contact us by telephone on 1300 735 135 (business hours: 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday).


Attention: Manager Assessments and Review
IBAC Commissioner
GPO Box 24234
Melbourne VIC 3001

What happens after a notification is made

IBAC will acknowledge all notifications in writing. IBAC will assess the notification and will either:

  • Dismiss it (for example where there is not enough information available); or
  • Refer it back to the notifying agency or one of a number of prescribed bodies that may be considered more appropriate to investigate the matter (i.e. the Victorian Ombudsman, if for example, the alleged conduct does not meet IBAC’s threshold for investigation); or
  • Commence a preliminary inquiry or full investigation into the matter (where we assess that serious or systemic corruption may have occurred or is occurring).  The IBAC Act requires us to prioritise investigations of serious or systemic matters. 

Relevant principal officers will be notified in writing of the outcome of IBAC’s assessment and advised of any further steps that need to be taken. 

Relevant principal officers should contact IBAC if urgent action is required before or during the assessment.

Further information

For further information, please see: