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2016-2017 ICAC/OPI Annual Report published
This afternoon the Commissioner's fourth annual report and the third covering a full financial year of operations was tabled in the South Australian Parliament.
The annual report details key statistics and information about the operations of the Commissioner and the Office for Public Integrity.
The report shows a 13% increase in the number of complaints and reports received by the OPI during the reporting period. The general nature of almost half of those complaints and reports concern inappropriate conduct/workplace bullying/harassment/failure to comply with policy or procedure. Of the matters investigated by the Commissioner more than half concern abuse of power for personal or financial gain.
The Commissioner's report addresses the effectiveness of his office including the need to balance reactive operations (in the form of investigations) with proactively serving the ICAC's function to prevent inappropriate conduct (in the form of education, research and prevention activities). "There is little point prosecuting an individual without also informing and educating public authorities and public officers about improper conduct risks", said Mr Lander.
This year's annual report revisits issues raised by the Commissioner in previous reports including the quality of investigations undertaken by public authorities. "I continue to see examples of investigations that are unsatisfactory".
The Commissioner also reiterates the need for a misconduct register to "better protect the integrity of recruitment within public administration by ensuring that a public authority had access to such information before determining whether or not to employ a person". Commenting further on human resource matters he said, "The length of time some public officers have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation continues to be of concern".
For the third consecutive year the Commissioner's report speaks of difficulties associated with the application of the codes of conduct for local government. "My staff and I have communicated with the Minister and his staff on multiple occasions about the codes, but change has not been forthcoming".
Public officers who have engaged in corruption have been brought before the Courts. "In the reporting period, five matters were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration and a further 10 persons were charged with 158 offences. Seven persons were found guilty of engaging in corruption, while corruption investigations referred to SAPOL have resulted in 32 persons being prosecuted," said the Commissioner.
The 2016-2017 ICAC/OPI Annual Report can be downloaded from the Commissioner's website.