Integrity Commission

What happens

When a complaint is received:

  • we will promptly acknowledge receiving your complaint;
  • we may contact you for further information or to clarify any aspects where we think it is necessary to understand the complaint; and
  • we will tell you if we do not accept your complaint.

Our consideration of complaints

Under the Integrity Commission Act 2009 (the Act), the Commission undertakes a three stage process when a complaint is received.

Triage

The purpose of the triage stage is to determine what will happen to the complaint.

We must first check that the complaint fits within our jurisdiction - we can only deal with those matters the legislation will allow us to consider.

We may dismiss the complaint for a number of other reasons, including if:

  • it lacks substance or credibility;
  • does not relate to the functions of the Commission;
  • is an unjustifiable use of the Commission’s investigative resources; or
  • it is not in the public interest for us to investigate, having regard to the factors set out in the Act.

We may refer matters that potentially involve misconduct to an appropriate person for action, when it is clear that the person is in a better position to deal with the complaint.

We may also refer a matter that apparently does not amount to misconduct to an appropriate person, to ensure that any systemic or organisational issues are addressed.

When we make a referral, we can monitor and audit how the matter has been dealt with. We may also require the person to report on any action they intend to take on the matter.

We will tell you if your complaint is to be referred elsewhere.

Find out more about Referred complaints (pdf, 39.0 KB).

Assessment

If a complaint is not dismissed or referred, it will be accepted into assessment.

In an assessment we undertake preliminary inquiries to better understand the matter, focusing on publicly available information. We don’t generally use our coercive powers at this stage.

We aim to complete assessments within 40 business days of the receipt of the complaint.

If your complaint is kept for assessment we cannot tell you what actions we take – all of our assessments are conducted in private.

After an assessment is complete, the CEO may dismiss the complaint, refer it to any relevant public authority or person for investigation and action, or accept it for investigation by the Commission.

To make that decision, the CEO may consider:

  • our principles of operation (as specified in section 9 of the Integrity Commission Act)
  • the nature and seriousness of the alleged misconduct, and whether there may be systemic misconduct or a culture of misconduct
  • the seniority of the person who is being complained about
  • the capacity of any relevant public authority to investigate the complaint, or whether there is a need for the Commission to use its special powers to obtain evidence
  • whether it is in the public interest, or is likely to increase public confidence, for us to investigate, or
  • any other strategic reasons for investigating the complaint.

Investigation

Our investigations are conducted in accordance with the Act. This includes a requirement that we comply with the rules of procedural fairness.

We cannot tell you about the actions we take in the course of the investigation, because they are conducted in private.

Some investigations can be complex and take considerable time before they are completed.

Find out more about our investigations.

Reporting on completed investigations

If the Commission considers that publicising the outcome of an investigation is in the public interest, we may publish an Investigation Report. The Commission will consider the nature and seriousness of the matter, the seniority of the people who are the subject of the investigation and the potential enhancement of public confidence that misconduct is being appropriately dealt with.

We will also consider whether the privacy, personal welfare and/or reputational concerns of the subject officer(s) or others involved in a matter outweigh the public interest in publishing the report.

The full criteria considered by the Commission are here. (PDF 435KB)

If the investigation reveals significant misconduct or is of significant public interest the Commission may disclose the identities of people who are the subject of the complaint.

Reports generally are tabled in Parliament, but may sometimes be released without tabling.

Assessment and investigation status updates

Find out the status of current assessments and investigations.

False Complaints

Most complaints to the Integrity Commission are made in good faith. However, you may commit an offence against the Integrity Commission Act if you make a complaint that you know to be false, or to intentionally leave information out of your complaint so that it is false or misleading.

False complaints waste public resources and can unfairly damage the reputation of individuals and organisations.