corruption and misconduct
Most people agree that they ‘know what behaviour constitutes corruption’.
Close to nine in 10 government employees and suppliers agree that they ‘know what behaviour constitutes corruption’. This drops to seven in 10 among the general community. Across all groups, significantly more people agree with the statement ‘I know what behaviour constitutes corruption’ than when last measured in 2016 (excluding suppliers, who were not asked this question previously).
Graph 1. ‘I know what behaviour constitutes corruption’ (% strongly agree + agree)
Most people agree that ‘corruption is a problem in Victoria’.
Perceptions that corruption is a problem in Victoria is highest among suppliers (66%) and the general community (64%). More than four in 10 Victoria Police employees (41%) agree that ‘police misconduct is a problem in Victoria’ (51% of the general community agree).
Agreement that ‘corruption is a problem in Victoria’ (or ‘police misconduct is a problem in Victoria’ among Victoria Police employees) increased significantly since 2016 (excluding suppliers).
Graph 2. Agreement that 'corruption is a problem in Victoria' (or 'police misconduct is a problem in Victoria') * Note slight wording change from 2016 – 'corruption' replaced with 'police misconduct' in 2022.
By comparison to perceptions of corruption and police misconduct being a problem in Victoria, perceptions that these are a problem within the participant’s workplace are considerably lower.
Victorian public sector employees are most likely to think corruption is a problem in their workplace (20%) compared to 17 per cent of local government employees and 15 per cent of Victoria Police employees. Only nine per cent of business suppliers think corruption is a problem in their workplace.
Graph 3. ‘Corruption is a problem in my workplace’ (% strongly agree + agree) and 'Police misconduct is a problem in my workplace'*
* Note wording change from 2016 – ‘corruption’ replaced with ‘police misconduct’ in 2022.
Favouritism, a breach of professional boundaries, or inaction are the highest perceived risks of improper behaviour occurring in local government, Victorian public sector and Victoria Police.
Compared to Victorian public sector and local government employees, Victoria Police employees are more likely to identify these improper behaviours as a ‘high risk’ of occurring in their organisation.
Graph 4. Top 2 perceived improper behaviours identified to be a ‘high risk’ of occurring
Actual instances of personally observing or suspecting these types of improper behaviours is higher among Victoria Police employees compared to local and Victorian public sector employees.
More than half of Victoria Police employees claim they have personally observed or suspected a breach of professional boundaries or favouritism. Fewer than 10 per cent of Victorian public sector employees, local government employees and Victoria Police employees reported suspicions or observations of other serious corrupt behaviours such as theft, bribery, or extortion.
Graph 5. Suspicion or observations of improper behaviours (% ‘personally observed’ or ‘suspected’)
Government employees perceive a smaller risk of gifts being offered or accepted compared to suppliers.
When it comes to gifts or benefits over $50, most employees across Victorian and local government appear to understand their responsibilities. Just over a quarter believe there is a ‘high’ or ‘medium’ risk of an employee asking for a gift, cash, or other benefit. This increases to approximately 50 per cent when considering a ‘high’ or ‘medium’ risk that an employee will accept a gift or benefit worth over $50. A higher percentage of suppliers rated these risks as ‘high’ or ‘medium’.
Graph 6. Perception of risks occurring (%)
Local government and Victorian public sector employees are more likely to consider the ethical culture of their organisation to be ‘strong’ compared to police.
A third of Victoria Police employees (34%) describe their organisation’s ethical culture as ‘strong’, rising to 44 per cent and 46 per cent among Victorian and local government employees.
Perceptions of the ethical culture of the organisation have not changed significantly since last measured in 2019 among local government and Victorian public sector employees.
Graph 7. Ethical culture of the organisation (%)
Fewer than one in 10 local government (8%) and Victorian public sector (9%) employees consider their organisation is ‘highly vulnerable’ to corruption and misconduct, increasing to 16 per cent among Victoria Police employees. However, the proportion of local government and Victorian public sector employees who state that their organisation is ‘not vulnerable’ to corruption and misconduct has increased significantly since last measured in 2019 (19% and 22% respectively).