ICAC glossary

This glossary includes key terms of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and Office for Public Integrity (OPI).


Assessment

When a complaint or report is received by the OPI the office will conduct an assessment.  An assessment is a thorough evaluation of the information provided. The assessment identifies whether the complaint or report contains information that may give rise to a potential matter of corruption, misconduct or maladministration in public administration.  An assessment is not an investigation.


Complaint

A complaint is a notification to the OPI about public administration by a member of the public.

You can find more information on the complaints and reports page.


Confidentiality

Section 56 of the ICAC Act prevents you from publishing information tending to suggest that a person may have made or be the subject of a complaint, report or investigation. Breaches of these provisions could be met with harsh penalties.

You can find more information on the confidentiality page.


Corruption

The term ‘corruption’ is used in the ICAC Act to describe a suite of offences which are criminal in nature, including:

  • bribery or corruption of public officers
  • threats or reprisals against public officers and
  • certain offences committed by public officers including:
    • abuse of public office
    • demanding or requiring a benefit on the basis of public office
    • an offence, or an attempt to commit an offence against the Public Sector (Honesty and Accountability) Act 1995 or the Public Corporations Act 1993 and
    • any other offence committed by a public officer whilst acting in his or her capacity as a public officer.

You can find out more about corruption on the what is corruption page.


Examination

The Commissioner may conduct an examination for the purpose of an investigation into corruption in public administration. Under schedule 2 of the ICAC Act examinations are to be held in private. An examination is held to obtain information in relation to an investigation, and is not a court process.

More information can be found on the examinations page.


ICAC Act

The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (the ICAC Act) came into effect 1 September 2013.

The ICAC Act created two offices, the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC). Both offices are overseen by the Commissioner. The ICAC Act details the responsibilities, powers and functions of the ICAC and OPI.

View the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012.


Independent Commissioner Against Corruption

The office of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) was created by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (the ICAC Act).

The ICAC is a law enforcement body. The functions of the office are set out in section 7(1) of the ICAC Act, and include:

  • identifying corruption in public administration and investigating, or referring for investigation or prosecution
  • assisting inquiry agencies and public authorities to identify and deal with misconduct and maladministration in public administration
  • conducting or facilitating education programs designed to prevent or minimise corruption, misconduct and maladministration.

You can find more information on the About Us page.

South Australia’s first Independent Commissioner Against Corruption is the Hon. Bruce Lander QC.

You can find more information about Commissioner Lander on the Commissioner page.


Inquiry agency

Inquiry agencies are listed in section 4 of the ICAC Act. They include:

  • The Ombudsman
  • The Police Ombudsman

The Commissioner may refer matters of misconduct or maladministration to an inquiry agency.


Investigation

Under section 24 of the ICAC Act any matter assessed as raising a potential issue of corruption in public administration must be investigated by the Commissioner, or referred for investigation to the South Australian Police, Police Ombudsman or other law enforcement body.

You can find more information on the investigations page.


Maladministration

Maladministration is conduct of a public officer or the practice, policy and procedure of a public authority that results in an irregular or unauthorised use of public money, the substantial mismanagement of public resources, or the substantial mismanagement of official functions.

You can find out more about maladministration on the what is maladministration page.


Misconduct

Misconduct is defined in the ICAC Act as conduct of a public officer that contravenes a code of conduct, which constitutes a ground for disciplinary action, or other misconduct.

You can find out more about misconduct on the what is misconduct page.


Office for Public Integrity

The Office for Public Integrity (OPI) is the point of contact for a person wanting to make a complaint or report about corruption, misconduct and maladministration in public administration.

The OPI is responsible to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC).

You can find more information on the Office for Public Integrity page.


Public administration

Public administration includes the administration and delivery of public money, public services and public infrastructure.


Public authority

Public authorities are listed in schedule 1 of the ICAC Act. They include:

  • the Governor
  • both Houses of Parliament
  • South Australian government departments, agencies and statutory bodies
  • Local councils.

Public officer

Schedule 1 of the ICAC Act lists the public officers for the purposes of the Act.

Public officers include:

  • Members of Parliament
  • members of the judiciary
  • police officers
  • public service employees
  • councillors
  • council employees
  • persons contracted to perform work for a public authority or the Crown.

The ICAC is concerned with the conduct of public officers.

Download a list of public officers and public authorities here.


Publish

The term ‘publish’ for the purposes of the ICAC Act includes:

  • publish by newspaper, radio or television
  • publish by the internet or other electronic means of creating and sharing content with the public or participating in social networking with the public, or
  • publish by any similar means of communication with the public.

Under section 56 of the ICAC Act, you may not publish information tending to suggest that a person may have made or be the subject of a complaint, report or investigation.

You can find more information on the confidentiality page.


Reasonable suspicion

A suspicion is something short of knowledge or belief. You may not know something has occurred, but merely suspect it. For a suspicion to be reasonable there needs to be a rational basis for the suspicion.

A reasonable suspicion is the threshold set by the ICAC Act for reporting obligations.

You can find more information on the what is a ‘reasonable suspicion’ page.


Report

A report is a notification to the OPI by a public officer, public authority or inquiry, of conduct that is suspected to be corruption, or serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration.

You can find more information on the complaints and reports page.


Reporting obligations

Public officers, public authorities and inquiry agencies are required to report any reasonable suspicion of corruption, misconduct and maladministration to the OPI.

You can find more information on the reporting rights and obligations page.


Serious or systemic

The Commissioner has limited the reporting obligations of public officers, public authorities and inquiry agencies to those matters of misconduct and maladministration which are either serious or systemic.

A matter may be considered seri​ous if it:

  • involves a senior public officer
  • involves alleged misconduct or maladministration that has resulted in a substantial loss or damage to assets
  • involves allegations that would, if proved, bring an agency or the Crown into disrepute or
  • is otherwise of particular prominence or importance.

A matter may be considered systemic if it:

  • causes widespread disruption to services or programs
  • affects a number of persons
  • is spread throughout an agency or authority, or is otherwise accepted or condoned or
  • involves a large sum of public money.

You can find more information on the what is ‘serious or systemic’ page.