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Reporting obligations of public officers

All public officers have an obligation to report certain types of conduct to the OPI.

If you are a public officer, including a police officer, you must report all conduct that you reasonably suspect to be corruption (a criminal offence) in South Australian public administration, to the OPI, unless you know it has already been reported to the OPI.

Public officers, including police officers have no discretion about the type of corruption that should be reported. All corruption must be reported. This includes all theft, assault, fraud, and dishonesty offences.

Public officers must also report any misconduct or maladministration they consider to be serious or systemic.

The reporting obligations of public officers are outlined in the Commissioner’s Directions and Guidelines.

What is a reasonable suspicion?

A suspicion is when you suspect something without having any direct knowledge that it is true.

You are entitled to have a suspicion about anything, however, you only have to report your suspicion to the OPI if it is reasonable. For your suspicion to be reasonable there needs to be a rational basis for holding the suspicion.

For example, if you saw someone access the petty cash and then discovered there was $100 missing, you might form a reasonable suspicion that that person took the money.

What is serious or systemic misconduct and maladministration?

Misconduct and maladministration would be serious or systemic if it could potentially undermine the work or standing of an agency or of public administration in general.

You do not need to report all misconduct and maladministration, only misconduct and maladministration that you consider to be serious or systemic.  There is no specific test for this. You will need to exercise your judgement about whether you think the conduct has met this threshold.

The full statutory definition of serious or systemic misconduct and maladministration can be found in section 4 of the ICAC Act and also in our glossary of terms.

Public officers should provide their name and contact details when making a report.

Are you a public officer?

The following exercise is designed to help you work out whether or not you are a public officer. The full statutory definition of public officer can be found in schedule 1 of the ICAC Act and also in our glossary of terms.