26 September 2023

ICAC report sent to ‘vulnerable’ Agencies

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The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has released a report on the recommendations it made to a number of Agencies in the 2021 – 22 financial year.

Entitled Integrity State: Corruption prevention recommendations, the ICAC report details the corruption prevention recommended to Agencies by the Commissioner, Ann Vanstone.

According to ICAC, during any corruption investigation, the Commission identifies vulnerabilities within the concerned Agency’s practices, policies and procedures which might have enabled inappropriate conduct.

Commissioner Vanstone said that many public authorities did not sufficiently understand corruption risks and were ill-equipped to address them.

“Sometimes, the practices, policies and procedures of a public authority are so poor that, while there is evidence to support the allegations, they cannot be proved to the criminal standard,” Commissioner Vanstone said.

“Irrespective of whether investigations result in criminal proceedings, they often provide opportunities for public authorities to strengthen their means of detecting and preventing corruption,” she said.

The Commissioner said that undeclared and unmanaged conflicts of interest were the subject of comment in more than half the letters ICAC sent out and within many corruption investigations.

She said vulnerabilities and deficiencies continue regarding recruitment, procurement, secondary employment and information access.

Commissioner Vanstone said that changes to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 in late 2021 markedly reduced the Commission’s visibility of misconduct in public administration.

“As a result, no agency has an understanding of the integrity landscape in South Australia,” she Vanstone said.

“Corruption prevention is difficult because misconduct and maladministration often enable corruption.”

ICAC’s 21-page Integrity State report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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