Fraud and corruption in the Victorian Public Sector - learnings and insight for 2017 and beyond

This month saw the release of the latest investigation report by Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), regarding Bendigo Health and called Operation Liverpool. Again we see evidence reported of corrupt conduct in procurement as well as misconduct at a senior leadership level.

During the last five years, authorities have audited and investigated the Victorian Public Sector for risks and allegations of fraud and corruption, which has resulted in a wealth of documented findings and recommendations from which we can all learn and seek to improve how we manage and respond to risks and incidents of fraud and corruption.

In the last twelve months, new compliance obligations have been introduced with the aim of strengthening accountability, planning and decision making and the flow of information between departments, agencies, and government. In particular, new mandatory reporting obligations have come into effect from 2 December 2017, requiring the reporting of suspected corrupt conduct to IBAC.

Those charged with responsibility for compliance and overall governance of their public sector body need to ask the questions, are they compliant? What gaps exist and how should they be remedied? Can they achieve mandatory reporting requirements?

To assist, we have conducted a review of key reports issued by authorities over the last five years in order to identify commonality across conclusions and recommendations that have been made.

We have also applied our own insight as to action that should be considered by Victorian Public Sector bodies to assist them to comply with new obligations and to strengthen their integrity frameworks in managing risks of fraud and corruption as well as to challenges they face in this regard.

The findings from our review are below and we encourage Victorian Public Sector bodies to refer to this. We will facilitate a roundtable discussion of issues and insights from this review in April 2017 and will invite those that may be interested in attending and participating.