Enhancing corruption prevention in Victoria

Christine Howlett

By Christine Howlett, Executive Director Prevention & Communication

It's an exciting time to be leading IBAC's work to prevent corruption and police misconduct in Victoria. In addition to the range of projects and initiatives we have underway, we’re taking a fresh look at IBAC's strategic approach to prevention and participating in a Parliamentary Committee inquiry.

IBAC has mandated functions under the IBAC Act to prevent public sector corruption and police misconduct. These prevention and education functions complement and contribute to fulfilling IBAC's other core purpose to identify, expose and investigate corrupt conduct and police personnel misconduct.

Recognizing the breadth of IBAC's legislated functions, the scale and diversity of the Victorian public sector and our role and resourcing, in 2015 IBAC developed a corruption prevention strategy to support the most efficient and effective delivery of our prevention and education functions – see how IBAC works to prevent corruption on our website.

This strategy has focused IBAC's prevention work over the past five years. During this time, there have been significant changes in the Victorian public sector and integrity system and in IBAC's operating model, caseload and data holdings. A stronger evidence base has increased our understanding of corruption and police misconduct risks and there are insights from new approaches to prevention in anti-corruption and other settings.

In light of these developments, IBAC is reviewing our prevention strategy to identify opportunities to strengthen our approach and maximize impact to prevent corruption and police misconduct.  Scheduled for completion by the end of this year, the review will:

  • analyse literature and research findings on what works in corruption prevention
  • consider contemporary best practice prevention strategies adopted by other anti-corruption and integrity agencies, and in other relevant fields
  • consult stakeholders across the breadth of IBAC's jurisdiction.

While IBAC is conducting this review, the Parliamentary Integrity and Oversight Committee (IOC) is also holding a broader inquiry into the education and prevention functions of Victoria's integrity agencies. We have made an initial submission to the IOC inquiry providing information about our legislative framework, and prevention policies, practices and activities, including their application to IBAC's internal operations.

This important inquiry, due to report by 31 March 2021, is already generating substantial stakeholder engagement and insights, as reflected in the public submissions. This collective body of work will become a terrific resource for prevention practitioners in all jurisdictions. I look forward to providing you with further updates as this work progresses.