Procedures for dealing with complaints about corruption
Procedure for assessing and investigating a complaint
When the CCC receives a complaint alleging corrupt conduct or police misconduct in the public sector, the CCC assesses how it should be handled, taking into account the particular circumstances of the case.
The CCC will retain and investigate only the most serious allegations of corrupt conduct, including those with a strong public interest element or if the relevant agency is not equipped to handle the investigation. Complaints about corrupt conduct (or information provided) that are not considered to be serious or systemic are referred to the appropriate agency to deal with.
If the matter is referred to the agency that agency will then decide how to deal with the complaint and let the complainant know the outcome. In some cases, the agency will need to provide the CCC with a detailed report on the outcome.
The CCC assesses each complaint, information, notification or matter based on whether it:
- is within CCC jurisdiction
- alleges corruption of a serious or systemic nature
- will have a serious impact on the Queensland community
- is important to the public sector or has a bearing on public confidence or order
- appears to be genuine, and made in good faith
- should be dealt with by the CCC, as opposed to another agency, having regard to the CCC’s resources and/or special powers.
If necessary, further information is gathered as quickly as possible to enable the CCC to decide on the best course of action. Additional information may come from external sources, such as the complainant or the agency concerned, or from internal sources.
The CCC must also assess the capacity of the agency to deal with a complaint if referred to it by the CCC. This assessment may be based on existing information held by the CCC, or CCC officers may contact representatives of the relevant agency — usually a designated CCC liaison officer — to consult about the capacity of the agency to deal with the complaint, and to seek the agency’s view about appropriate action.
The CCC will take no further action where the complaint:
- is frivolous or vexatious
- lacks substance or credibility
- is not made in good faith
- is made for a mischievous purpose
- is made recklessly or maliciously
- is outside the CCC’s jurisdiction
- has been dealt with by another entity, or
where dealing with the complaint would be an unjustifiable use of resources, or not in the public interest.
Possible courses of action
Based on the assessment, the CCC may decide to:
- refer the complaint to the relevant public official to deal with, subject to some level of review or audit by the CCC
- ask the relevant public official to carry out further enquiries before a final assessment is made (e.g. the complaint appears to indicate quite serious corruption, but the initial information gathered suggests that there may be an innocent explanation for what happened)
- investigate the complaint itself
- investigate the complaint in cooperation with the relevant public official
- refer possible criminal activity to the Queensland Police Service (QPS) .
Under the principle of devolution, referring the complaint to the relevant public official is the preferred option.
Standard timeframes for assessment and investigation
It is the CCC’s commitment to assess 85% of all complaints it receives within one month. In some cases it may take longer if further information is required from the complainant, or if the CCC needs to obtain information or documents from an agency.
The standard timeframes adopted by the CCC for the completion of corruption investigations is 12 months and we aim to complete 85% of them within that timeframe.
To meet our targeted assessment and investigation timeframes, the CCC has adopted a number of strategies to ensure the assessment and investigation of corruption complaints are prioritised and dealt with in a timely manner.
Investigations are oversighted by an Operations Coordinator who is responsible for ensuring the investigation is meeting its objectives including the timely completion of the investigation.
Any investigations that exceed 12 months in duration will come under the close scrutiny of the Corruption Operations Review Committee. This committee is comprised of a number of senior officers within the CCC including the Senior Executive Officer, Corruption who will ensure appropriative strategies and resources are put in place to bring the investigation to finalisation as soon as practicable.