26 September 2023

Survey finds PS corruption reporting

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A significant number of South Australian Public Servants were reluctant to report their suspicions of corruption for fear of negative repercussions according to the results of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) survey.

Publishing the findings of its 2021 Public Integrity Survey, the ICAC said the staff members held that view despite many believing their workplace was vulnerable to corruption.

The survey was administered to Public Officers across State and Local Government Agencies to ascertain their perceptions and experiences of corruption, the vulnerability of their workplaces to corruption, and reporting.

“The report explores, among other things, participants’ views and experiences of secondary employment and preferential treatment in the workplace,” the Commission said.

“While many participants believed their workplace was vulnerable to different forms of corruption, and some had experienced corruption in their workplace, a significant number of participants were reluctant to report their suspicions for fear of negative repercussions,” it said.

“Notably, participants who held senior leadership roles were less likely to perceive their workplace as vulnerable to corruption, but felt more empowered to report any suspicions.”

The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Ann Vanstone said senior leaders should not assume that because they would be ready to report suspicions, other Public Officers would feel the same.

“Senior leaders need to pay attention when staff flag suspected corruption and to appreciate how difficult reporting might be for some officers,” Commissioner Vanstone said.

She said many survey participants took the opportunity to comment on the amendments to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012, which were enacted shortly before the survey was administered.

Commissioner Vanstone said that while “participants were not asked for their views of the amendments, many expressed an apprehension that the changes had eroded the Commission’s independence”.

ICAC’s 60-page Public Integrity Survey 2021 Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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