South Australia's new integrity scheme
October seven 2021 marked the commencement of changes to the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 which significantly impact the public integrity framework in South Australia.
As a result of those changes, the ICAC’s jurisdiction is limited to matters involving suspected corruption in public administration. The Office for Public Integrity, which is now established as a standalone agency, no longer serves as the ICAC’s public face.
Since its inception in 2013, the ICAC has been committed to improving integrity in public administration for the benefit of all South Australians. That commitment has not changed.
The changes to the Act have, however, caused me and my staff to recalibrate and refocus our operations so that we can continue to deliver value to the public and to public officers.
In addition to investigating corruption in public administration, we will focus our attention on preventing and minimising corruption in public administration through our education initiatives and by evaluating the practices, policies and procedures of public authorities. We will seek to strengthen our partnerships with other agencies and we will continue to listen to the issues being raised by public officers through our engagement activities.
In order to ensure that corruption does not go undetected or unreported, public officers and public authorities must be aware of the risks which exist within their agencies. It is our role to assist public authorities and public officers to recognise and manage those risks.
To the extent we are able, we will communicate with the public and with public officers about our activities and what can be learned from them.
While the ICAC’s functions have been newly confined, the integrity standards expected of public officers have not changed. Public officers are in the best position to identify behaviour or anomalies that might reveal corruption or serious impropriety within their organisation.
We continue to rely on matters of potential corruption being reported to the Office for Public Integrity so that those matters can be referred to the Commission for investigation. It is critical to good public administration that public officers continue to come forward and report to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) or the Ombudsman their reasonable suspicions of wrongdoing.
Recent events have provided the opportunity for me and my staff to demonstrate the values we promote. We remain committed to creating and maintaining an ethical and accountable public sector, and I urge all public officers to reflect on the role each of you play in achieving that end.