A Crime and Misconduct Commission report on the investigation of possible official misconduct by a former Director-General of the Department of Employment and Training was tabled in Parliament today.
The CMC’s report Public Duty, Private Interests examines Scott Flavell’s misuse of his position as Director-General to help an entrepreneur establish a private skills training company.
The report highlights the need for better controls over the use of information or influence by former public servants representing private interests.
It also addresses issues relating to pre-separation conduct and post-separation employment after senior executives leave the public sector.
Following a public hearing, the CMC referred the matter of whether Mr Flavell had committed the offence of Disclosure of Official Secrets to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
After considering the evidence, the DPP has advised that Mr Flavell should not be charged.
CMC Chair, Robert Needham, said the report highlights the need to be more vigilant about conflicts of interest arising from the use of public sector information to further private interests.
Key recommendations in the report are:
- that Queensland adopt elements of the Australian Government’s Standards of Ministerial Ethics and Lobbying Code of Conduct, including imposing a quarantine period during which former Ministers and senior public servants must not lobby or advocate to government officers in areas in which they had official dealings
- that public sector CEO and Senior Executive contracts specify no improper use or disclosure be made of information gained in the course of official duties, and
- that a criminal offence of ‘misconduct in public office’ be introduced.
Mr Needham said former public sector officials should not be able to gain unfair advantage through personal associations with government decision-makers or by using confidential information only available to them through their previous work in government.
'The misuse of confidential information gained through public sector employment can have adverse effects on good public administration,' Mr Needham said.
'We also need to beware of the dangers of former Ministers, senior executives or Ministerial staff improperly influencing public officials in their previous government offices.'