Message from the Commissioner – July 2017

Stephen O'BryanOperation Lansdowne public examinations

IBAC recently completed public examinations as part of our Operation Lansdowne investigation. Held over three weeks in June and July, the examinations were into allegations of serious corrupt conduct at South West Institute of TAFE, Bendigo Kangan Institute and V/Line.

These examinations, like previous IBAC investigations, have again highlighted the corruption vulnerabilities associated with employment and procurement practices. There is a clear need for all public sector agencies to have the appropriate policies, systems and practices in place to address these risks.

The Special Report to Parliament on Operation Lansdowne is scheduled for release later this year.

The value of public examinations

Debate continues in the community about the benefits of public examinations, particularly in the context of considerations around the establishment of other anti-corruption bodies.

I consider public examinations to be an important investigative tool and a very important means of informing the public sector and the broader community about the risks and impact of corruption. In addition, public examinations can encourage credible complaints about misconduct and corruption, and drive timely reform in the public sector.

IBAC conducts the vast majority of its examinations in private as required by our legislation, to protect the integrity of our investigations and those involved.

Decisions to make IBAC examinations public are not made lightly. In order to hold a public examination I am required under the IBAC Act to consider, on reasonable grounds, that the public interest in doing so outweighs the risks to the reputation, safety and wellbeing of the individuals involved. I must also be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances. This exceptional circumstances requirement is unique to IBAC, and does not apply to other anti-corruption agencies with a public examination power. As such, I have chosen to hold public examinations in just five of the more than 50 investigations IBAC has completed.

Corruption Prevention and Integrity Conference for Victoria

I am delighted that IBAC is hosting Victoria’s Corruption Prevention and Integrity Conference in early October in Melbourne. Specifically designed to meet the needs of Victoria’s public sector, this conference is being delivered in partnership with the Victorian Ombudsman, Victorian Auditor-General's Office and the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria). We appreciate the support of these partners, and our other stakeholders in bringing together a highly relevant and substantial program of eminent local and international leaders in integrity and corruption prevention. I encourage all Victorian public sector heads and those responsible for corruption prevention to consider registering now. You can read more about the conference speakers here.

In this edition of Insights

This edition of IBAC Insights provides information on some of the ways in which we strengthen integrity and corruption resistance in the public sector.

It includes a podcast with Fran Thorn former Secretary of the Department of Health, Victoria on her experiences and responsibilities as a public sector leader and the importance of public sector agencies having robust integrity systems. It also includes an article from David Wolf, Chief Municipal Inspector, Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate on building integrity in the local government sector.

We’ve added a new section: Knowledge sharing with resources developed by IBAC and other integrity agencies in Australia to share corruption prevention knowledge and expertise.

An interview with Olivia Kings, IBAC’s Manager of Public Sector Engagement discusses IBAC’s engagement with the public sector and our work to help agencies strengthen the sector’s integrity and corruption resilience. This year, we have expanded our outreach and engagement work in regional Victoria.