The ICAC Act empowers me to investigate potential matters of serious or systemic maladministration in public administration, if I am satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so. In order to conduct such an investigation, I must exercise the powers of the South Australian Ombudsman. Those powers include the powers given to a Royal Commission.
Today, whilst giving evidence before the Crime and Public Integrity Policy Committee, I announced that I will commence such an investigation with respect to the management and delivery of services and care at the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Facility.
My investigation will not duplicate inquiries already undertaken or presently underway. It will focus on the extent to which all people in authority, from local management to executive leadership and Ministers, were aware of the conditions and sub-optimal care being delivered at the facility, when they became aware of such information, and what if any action was taken in response to that information. Alternatively, if information did not become known to appropriate persons in authority, my investigation will enquire as to why and how this may have occurred.
On 8 May 2017, I wrote to the Deputy Premier, the Hon. John Rau advising him that additional financial resources would be required to undertake this investigation. On 19 May 2017, I received a letter from the Chief Executive of Treasury advising me that the Treasurer had agreed to provide the necessary funding to commence an investigation.
Over the coming days, I will publish the terms of reference for this investigation and the operational processes and procedures that I will follow. I will also make a public call for information. However, the investigation itself must be conducted in private as required by the ICAC Act. At the conclusion of the investigation, if I consider it in the public interest, I will publish my findings.
I will proceed to have the investigation concluded as quickly as possible.
PUBLIC STATEMENT BY THE HON. BRUCE LANDER QC INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONER AGAINST CORRUPTION
The publication of this information has been authorised by the Commissioner under section 56 of the ICAC Act.
ICAC Public Statement - 25 May 2017