From September 2016 to November 2018, the CCC released a range of Corruption Prevention Advisories to assist the Queensland public sector. Knowing where corruption is most likely to occur is fundamental to managing it effectively.
The following resources will assist Queensland public sector agencies identify major corruption risks and develop prevention strategies.
In December 2017, the CCC introduced a new corruption prevention series known as Prevention in Focus. You can access this series by visiting the Prevention in Focus section of our website.
Our democratic system of government relies on officials having adequate and reliable information on which to base their decisions and actions. The principle of open and equal access to government for all individuals and communities is fundamental to this flow of information.
Third party lobbyists most commonly try to influence ministers, councillors and senior public servants in a position to make statutory, monetary or policy decisions that can benefit or disadvantage individuals or sections of the community. However, lower ranking officers, particularly those making purchasing decisions or evaluating eligibility for various grants and benefits, may also be subjected to persuasive pressure.
Over time, public sector officers acquire valuable skills, knowledge and contacts which make them highly employable, and many officers make the move into the private sector to enhance their careers. In the lead-up to, and often, separation from the public sector, special care must be taken to ensure that officers do not misuse their expertise to the detriment of the public interest.
This advisory will assist public sector agencies to manage the risks associated with employees moving on.
Social media allows us to engage and communicate with our customers and colleagues to build stronger and more successful relationships. Social media consists of online interactive technologies through which individuals, communities and organisations can share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content or pre-made content posted online.
However, as social networking platforms are sometimes open forums, public officers must understand the responsibilities and obligations that come with the use of social media for both official and personal use.
Official resources are those paid for and owned by a public sector organisation. They may be assets, services or consumables, and can be either tangible (e.g. stationery, equipment or public housing) or intangible (e.g. information, internet access or employee time). These resources are intended to help employees carry out tasks associated with their work and provide efficient service to the community. They are not provided for the personal benefit of employees.
Poor management or misuse of official resources is a breach of public trust, and may result in disciplinary action or prosecution.
Openness and transparency in government and public authorities are in the public interest, and are key to promoting integrity and accountability in the public sector. One critical aspect is diligence in creating, maintaining and disposing of public records.
Under the Public Records Act 2002 staff of public authorities are obliged to manage public records responsibly, and the disposal of public records without authorisation from the State Archivist is a criminal offence.
This advisory details the major ethical and legal obligations of state government election candidates and Members of Parliament to assist them to better understand the nature and requirements of public office. Election candidates and Members of Parliament are subject to specific obligations and legislation at each stage of the electoral process.
This advisory provides advice for:
- All candidates standing for election
- Members of Parliament while in office, during an election period, transitioning out of office, and after leaving office.
Disposal of assets is an area where the risk of corruption is high. If employees trade, sell, or give away assets without authority, to benefit themselves or another person rather than in the public interest, they are committing a criminal offence.
Managers at all levels must exercise strong ethical leadership, oversight and vigilance to manage resources effectively and economically to minimise the risk of corruption.
Tangible gifts — cash, goods, hospitality (e.g. meals or drinks), or promotional materials (e.g. free pens, diaries).
Intangible gifts — personal services, free or subsidised travel or accommodation, entertainment, preferential treatment, privileged access, promise of a special favour or advantage (e.g. a special type of loan), discounts on goods and services (including discounted interest rates).
As a public sector employee, you are required to behave with the highest integrity, and ensure that your conduct is beyond reproach. In general you are expected to refuse any form of reward beyond your usual employment entitlements, because acceptance may raise doubts about your integrity and may reflect poorly on your organisation and the government as a whole.
Open and transparent government is in the public interest and is key to promoting integrity and accountability in the public sector. According to the Right to Information Act 2009, information in the government’s possession or under the government’s control is a public resource and openness in government increases the participation of members of the community in democratic processes leading to better informed decision-making.
This means the public must have the right of reasonable access to information in the government’s possession or under its control unless, on balance, it is contrary to the public interest to provide that information.
Procurement refers to the entire process by which a public sector organisation acquires resources such as goods, services, facilities, capital and human resources. It applies regardless of whether you are city or country based, or whether you are building multi-million dollar infrastructure or filling an office cleaning supply contract.
It includes planning, design, determination of standards, writing specifications, selecting suppliers, financing, administering contracts, disposal and other related functions. As it involves spending public money, procurement is a high risk area for fraud and corruption.
Sponsorship is a business arrangement in which the sponsor agrees to have their name, products or services associated with the sponsored organisation’s activities for a negotiated benefit in cash or kind, or a combination of both. The opportunities for public sector agencies using sponsorships to develop corporate partnerships are extensive.
When properly considered and implemented they can provide all parties with positive and tangible returns.
However, they do present risks to public sector organisations which must strive at all times to obtain the best value for money, act transparently, encourage open and effective competition and make efficient use of public funds. Achieving this through sponsorship requires an awareness of the associated ethical and corruption risks, and high-level management skills. One of the most important aspects is managing the public perception of the arrangement.