An Integrity Commission investigation report released today has recommended legislative changes to ensure that Tasmanian public sector employees who commit misconduct are made accountable.
The report, detailing findings of a two-year own motion investigation into management of misconduct in State and local government, has recommended that the State Service Act 2000 be amended so that Tasmanian State Service agencies can make disciplinary findings after an employee has resigned.
It also calls for changes to the Archives Act 1983 guidelines to:
- ensure that State and local government authorities keep written records for seven years of proceedings and action in regard to serious misconduct, whether substantiated or not; and
- amend guidelines to require that public authorities maintain a confidential register of all alleged and suspected misconduct by public officers.
“It is essential that, in line with jurisdictions elsewhere, the State Service has the legislative basis to take appropriate measures when there has been misconduct and the individual leaves,” Commission CEO, Mr Richard Bingham, said.
“It is also important that proper records and a confidential register exist across the public sector so that misconduct-related patterns by individuals are addressed and not moved on to another organisation.”
Mr Bingham said the release of the Integrity Commission investigation report and associated educational resource marked the beginning of a concerted effort to improve misconduct management across the board through collaboration between the Commission and the sector.
“The report highlights both strengths and shortcomings and is a Tasmanian first in taking a comprehensive snapshot of practices and policies. I am confident it will lead to improved practices.”
The Commission investigated 12 State and local government organisations, selected as a representative cross-sector of those in its jurisdiction. It examined their capacity and ability to deal with misconduct and conduct internal investigations.
“It was clear that there is some good work happening. However, the findings provide a clear signal that all Tasmanian public sector agencies are capable of taking their approach to the next level,” he said.
The Guide for Management of Misconduct in the Tasmanian Public Sector, also released today at the Hobart event, is a resource targeted to needs identified in the report. The Commission will undertake associated public sector training in early 2018.
It has also flagged that it may undertake a similar own motion investigation in the future to gauge improvements.
Manager Misconduct Prevention Education and Research
1300 720 289