Guidance material

Behaviours that mask corruption in the public sector

Through our research and investigations, IBAC has observed a range of behaviours that can allow corruption to go undetected and even flourish in public sector agencies.

If they go unchecked, these behaviours enable corruption and misconduct to be covered up or hidden, which impacts the ability to investigate and stop it.

This graphic outlines five key patterns of obscuring or 'cover up' behaviour that can occur and that public sector agencies need to guard against.

Some of the key ways corruption is concealed include:

  1. Employee(s) are involved in corruption either directly or indirectly via omissions.

  2. Colleagues who suspect or witness the employee(s) conduct are reluctant or unwilling to report the corrupt behaviour.

  3. Supervisors fail to provide an effective work environment or do not rigorously inquire into and report the corruption of employees and those who witness the behaviour.

  4. Internal governance teams have ineffective systems to identify corruption, fail to adequately assess the evidence, recommend appropriate sanctions, or notify authorities as required.

  5. Senior leaders tolerate an ineffective internal environment and fail to acknowledge, expose or address factors that contribute to corruption.

These behaviours can mask corruption and can also apply to other forms of misconduct in the public sector.

This graphic can be used as a slide in training presentations or shared as a handout:

Cover up behaviours that mask public sector corruption

When presenting this slide, consider asking the following questions:

  • What would you do if you saw or found out about this sort of behaviour or conduct?
  • What will you do now to stop these behaviours and prevent them happening again?