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How public officers view public integrity

Published on 7 Dec 2018

With International Anti-Corruption day approaching (on Sunday), it is a good time to reflect on the integrity of public administration in South Australia.

Today the Commissioner releases a report on the findings of his public integrity survey 2018.

The Commissioner said the purpose of the survey was to gain a greater understanding of the attitudes of public officers in relation to reporting inappropriate conduct, in addition to their experiences of inappropriate conduct, and perceptions of risk.

“This report highlights a range of issues, all of which should act as a catalyst for agencies to review their operations,” Commissioner Lander said.

“The survey identified widespread and significant concern amongst public officers about reporting impropriety, both internally and to an outside agency.

“The results indicated widespread anxiety amongst public officers about making a report and high levels of dissatisfaction with the manner in which their organisation dealt with their report and communicated with the reporter.

“A high proportion of participants reported encountering particular forms of corruption or inappropriate conduct over the last five years.”

In the report, the Commissioner further encourages agencies to utilise the survey results as a ‘sign post’ and to explore the issues identified in the report with the intent of taking action as required.

“It is incumbent upon every organisation to best ensure an environment where a willingness to report improper conduct is valued rather than discouraged and where a reporter can feel safe and supported to make a report,” Commissioner Lander said.

Some of the key findings within the report are:

  • A high proportion of participants reported personally encountering corruption or inappropriate conduct in the last five years.
  • Bullying and harassment, and nepotism and favouritism were encountered by over 40% of participants.
  • A high proportion of participants reported their organisation as being highly or extremely vulnerable to a range of corrupt or inappropriate conduct.
  • Fourteen percent agreed their organisation discourages reporting corrupt or inappropriate conduct.
  • Only 40% agreed that they were confident their organisation would take action in respect of a report.
  • Only 25% agreed that their organisation had adequate protections in place for those who do report.
  • Nearly one in three were confused about what to report.
  • Participants who had previously reported corruption or inappropriate conduct within their organisation typically did not express high satisfaction with this process.
  • 80% of participants agreed they had reporting obligations to ICAC / OPI though only 69% agreed that they would report to ICAC / OPI.

The ICAC Public Integrity Survey 2018 South Australia can be downloaded online.

View the report

For more information about International Anti-Corruption Day, visit www.un.org/en/events/anticorruptionday.