The CCC’s governing legislation, the Crime and Corruption Act 2001, provides that subject to the cooperation and public interest principles and the capacity of the agency, action to prevent and deal with corruption in an agency should generally happen in the agency.
This is known as ‘devolution’ and it is a key principle in combating public sector corruption in Queensland.
Devolution recognises the responsibility of a chief executive to set and maintain proper standards of conduct for their employees and, by so doing, maintain public confidence in their agency.
The application of the devolution principle provides agencies with an opportunity to demonstrate to the public and the CCC their ability to take timely, effective and decisive action when their staff fail to meet the required standards of conduct.
The CCC works with agencies, through its monitoring role and prevention function to build their capacity and accountability in managing corruption.
Devolution also allows the CCC to focus its resources on the most serious and systemic corruption matters.
Referring complaints to agencies
The practical effect of devolution means a complaint received by the CCC is not automatically investigated by us. We may refer it to the department, agency or council concerned, or to the Queensland Police Service to action.
The CCC can review the way an agency has dealt with a complaint, and require reports to be provided and further investigations to be undertaken.
If the CCC finds that the standard of an investigation or the outcome is not in its view satisfactory, then it can assume responsibility for dealing with the complaint.
What the CCC investigates itself
We only investigate complaints that have been categorised as ‘High’.
However, because of the large number of High category complaints we receive each year, we cannot investigate them all. We will generally investigate a complaint ourselves if one or more of the following features are present:
- the investigation would be assisted by, and justify, the use of our unique coercive powers;
- due to the nature of the complaint an investigation independent of government or political processes is desirable;
- public confidence in the impartiality of the investigation would be enhanced by a CCC investigation.
We refer all other complaints that are categorised as High and warrant investigation to the relevant agency concerned for them to investigate. We may also refer the complaint to the QPS if it involves alleged criminal conduct.