By law, IBAC must be notified of potential public interest disclosures, allegations of misconduct by Victoria Police, and suspected corrupt conduct.
Under section 57 of the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 (IBAC Act), where there is suspected corrupt conduct in the public sector, it is the obligation of relevant principal officers, including heads of state government departments or agencies as well as Council CEOs, to notify IBAC of the suspected corrupt conduct.
This obligation to notify, called a mandatory notification, helps to prevent corruption and improve the integrity of the Victorian public sector.
IBAC has recently conducted an analysis of the mandatory notifications received in 2017/18, 2018/19, and 2019/20.
IBAC found that while the total number of mandatory notifications has increased consistently year-on-year, there are still many agencies yet to make a notification, and it seems likely that there is under-reporting within some large agencies.
What is corrupt conduct?
Corrupt conduct is generally deliberate or intentional and not the result of a mistake or negligence. Section 4 of the IBAC Act 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 must constitute an indictable offence under an Act, or the common law offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice, bribery of a public official, or misconduct in public office.
Low-level misconduct, such as performance or behaviour related issues, do not need to be reported to IBAC and should be handled internally.
How to make a mandatory notification
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, you should submit a notification to IBAC for assessment. There are range of resources available on the IBAC website to help relevant principal officers.
Notifications must be made in writing using the Mandatory Notification Form on the IBAC website at www.ibac.vic.gov.au/notifications and there are resources available to assist you.
Be careful to maintain confidentiality, do not approach anyone you suspect of wrongdoing, and do not commence an internal investigation before notifying IBAC.
If you have any questions relating to the mandatory notification of suspected corrupt conduct, please contact IBAC on 1300 735 135.