Agencies on notice as survey takes shape

Corruption and Crime Commission

The Corruption and Crime Commission is preparing a target list of government agencies it considers most vulnerable to misconduct and corruption threats after conducting an unprecedented intelligence gathering exercise across the public sector.

The Commission is now compiling a report detailing the results of its survey - which looked at data from more than 300 government agencies and departments, councils and other organisations. Everything from financial risks to systemic workforce issues was examined.

Reams of data held by the Commission, including over 20,000 allegations of misconduct by public officers received in the past five years, are also being analysed to identify high-level trends in the type of allegations received, which agencies appear on the radar most often and which agencies have not reported any misconduct in the last five years.

Acting CCC Commissioner Christopher Shanahan SC said the intelligence gathered would shape the Commission's operational priorities and inform its strategic direction over coming years.

"In its 10 years of operation the Commission has had a major impact on the way the public sector operates in WA by exposing startling examples of corruption and misconduct which in some cases had gone on for years. Our investigations have seen corrupt officers sacked, fined and jailed -- but just as importantly, they have shown all agencies what can happen if they fail to implement strong safeguards," Mr Shanahan said.

"The nature and operating environment of the public sector is rapidly changing and this project provides a new strategic tool for the Commission. For example, there's been a clear shift away from public officers providing primarily front line service with officers increasingly managing contracted or outsourced service delivery. That shift alone requires those agencies to revisit their corruption prevention and response systems to ensure they remain vigorous and relevant.

"Areas such as procurement, contracts, building and works and IT remain primary risk areas where temptations abound. But we have also identified other interesting results including chronic under-reporting of misconduct in some areas and that is an emerging concern.

"It certainly appears that some agencies are not reporting suspected and known misconduct, even though they are legally required to do so. Experience suggests that those agencies are unaware of what is occurring in their own backyards.

"The experience of our investigators is that agencies that don't report any suspected misconduct are simply not recognising their risks and not identifying problems when they occur. That's particularly concerning because serious misconduct can start with minor incidents that then grow as an officer becomes emboldened by the lack of consequences."

Mr Shanahan said the Commission would say more about its 'Misconduct Intelligence Assessment' as it develops.

"No doubt it will put agencies on notice but at the same time our aim is to help them to identify any significant and changing risks in their operating environments so they can tackle it head on."