Conference wrap: perspectives and highlights

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Highlights

Among the many highlights of the Victorian Corruption Prevention and Integrity Conference were:

  • Insights from keynote speaker Dr Anna Sergi into the world of organised crime and infiltration into the public sector, including a case study on Rome. She introduced the audience to the term ‘leadership disease’, describing how public leaders can become corrupted
  • Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass OBE and Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf outlined real-life examples of governance failures
  • The Hon. Kim Wells and the Hon. Stephen Charles spoke about the importance of integrity oversight mechanisms
  • Special Minister of State, the Hon. Gavin Jennings, told of the need to strengthen protected disclosure legislation and improve the capability to address wrongdoing
  • Auditor-General Andrew Greaves broadened the concept of integrity to include efficiency (‘you can be honest and ethical but totally ineffective’)
  • Victoria Police presenters described their preferred leadership style (‘tone at the top’) as ‘confident humility’, and spoke about moving towards a discloser-centric rather than investigative approach to reporting of possible corrupt conduct
  • And those at the conference dinner were entertained by the anecdotes of Walkey Award-winning journalist and ‘Underbelly’ author John Silvester.

Workshops reminded people of:

  • listening to people who call out wrongdoing to ensure they have effective support
  • the importance of developing the right culture for people to speak up and report wrongdoing
  • what can occur when position and resources are used for personal gain
  • the need to build strong reporting systems and mechanisms
  • treating complaints as opportunities to improve services
  • the need for ethical culture and leadership to support the effectiveness of codes of conduct and integrity frameworks
  • the importance of conducting integrity health checks within organisations
  • accepting that conflicts of interest will occur; what’s important is how they’re managed
  • how scope creep can be a problem in investigations
  • how good data cannot be mined from bad data.