This is a report about an own-motion investigation by the Integrity Commission (the Commission) into the policies, practices and procedures of Tasmanian public sector organisations in managing misconduct allegations. It is the first public sector wide survey of this nature. The survey has found areas of good practice, and those where improvements are needed to ensure that consistent, effective management of misconduct occurs.
Under section 3(3)(b) of the Integrity Commission Act 2009 (Tas), one of the ways in which the Commission is to achieve its principal objectives is by ‘assisting public authorities [to] deal with misconduct’. The aim of this investigation was to gain an understanding of the capacity of public sector organisations to deal with misconduct, so that effective resources and training could be developed to support improved standards.
To achieve this aim, the Commission chose to look at a cross-section of organisations in its jurisdiction. This included five state service agencies, five local government councils, and two other bodies. The organisations were selected so as to provide a representative snapshot across the state. The Commission is grateful for the active participation and cooperation of these organisations.
The investigation involved:
- requiring each organisation to respond to a questionnaire about its policies and practices;
- reviewing their misconduct records over a one year period – each file was subject to a series of 78 survey questions (see Appendix A – Survey scope, objectives & criteria);
- conducting extensive research into good practice and case law across Australia; and
- producing good practice material for the use of all Tasmanian public sector organisations (see Appendix C – Model preliminary assessment process and Appendix D – Guide to managing misconduct in the Tasmanian public sector).
The Commission engaged with contact officers in each organisation at various stages of the investigation. This included meetings to discuss the investigation in the early stages, sending the survey questions out for comment, preliminary feedback meetings, and asking for feedback on the good practice material. The Commission also invited a number of other bodies to provide feedback on the good practice material.
The investigation has significantly enhanced the Commission’s understanding of how misconduct is handled in Tasmania. It provides an essential foundation for the Commission and the public sector to work on improvements.
The Commission has made three recommendations and five good practice suggestions as part of this investigation. Additionally, it has produced an extensive good practice guide, and will be undertaking associated training, to assist Tasmanian public sector organisations.
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