Office for Public Integrity FAQs
Reporting to the Office for Public Integrity
This information is intended to assist staff when deciding whether they should make a report to the Office for Public Integrity. Honesty and integrity are fundamental values of the University and all staff have a role to play in creating a reporting culture.
What is the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (the Commissioner)?
These were both created under the South Australian Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (the ICAC Act). The University is expected to comply with the ICAC Act.
The Commissioner’s main purpose is to identify and investigate corruption in public administration; and assist public authorities like the University to identify and deal with maladministration and serious misconduct.
The OPI’s main purpose is to receive and assess complaints and reports about corruption, misconduct and maladministration in public administration; refer these to authorities like the University; and make recommendations to and follow directions from the Commissioner.
Who needs to take responsibility for reporting?
All staff members are public officers with legal obligations to report to the OPI. Titleholders, volunteers and even contractors at the University are also public officers with reporting obligations.
What do I need to report to OPI?
Once you have a reasonable suspicion -
- You must report corruption (if it looks criminal – report it).
- You must report serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration.
- You may choose to, but you are not obliged to, report misconduct or maladministration that is not serious or systemic.
What is corruption?
Corruption is a crime. For example: bribery; theft; abuse of public office; dishonestly dealing with documents. If it is not a crime, it is not corruption.
What is misconduct in public administration?
Misconduct in public administration - means:
- Contravention of a code of conduct by a public officer that constitutes a ground for disciplinary action; or
- Other misconduct by a public officer.
If the suspect activity does not relate to activities at the University, it is outside the ICAC Act.
What is maladministration?
Maladministration - means:
- Conduct by a public officer or a University practice/policy/procedure that results in unacceptable use of public money or mismanagement of public money;
- Substantial mismanagement in or in relation to performance of official functions;
- Conduct resulting from impropriety, incompetence or negligence.
Maladministration results from poor governance. Misspending public money is the most common example of maladministration.
When is misconduct or maladministration serious or systemic?
Misconduct or maladministration is serious or systemic if it is:
- of such a significant nature that it would undermine public confidence in the University or public administration generally and
- has significant implications for the University or public administration generally (not just for the individual public officer concerned).
Ask yourself: Does the activity affect people on a broad scale? If it was in the media, would it have serious impact/detriment to the University?
How will I know if I should make a report? What do I need to think about?
- Unless you know that a matter has already been reported – you must report a reasonable suspicion about corruption or serious or systemic misconduct/maladministration.
- You must make your report ‘as soon as practicable’ after you form a reasonable suspicion. This is not the same as ‘as soon as possible’. You should not delay but you can take time to properly consider your suspicions and you could discuss these with an appropriate person such as your HR Advisor, supervisor, General Counsel or Director, Legal Services.
- Suspicion is a state of mind. It is not ‘mere conjecture’. It is different to knowing or believing that something happened. You must have a rational basis for the suspicion, but it doesn’t need to be enough for you to believe that the events actually happened/existed.
- You need to properly consider the available facts.
- Whether a suspicion is reasonable depends on the surrounding circumstances.
- It is “a judgement call”– for you - the individual - to decide.
Who can I tell about my suspicions?
Only you can decide whether you should make a report, but you can always talk to someone appropriate about your suspicions to determine your view of the activity. You might like to speak to your supervisor or HR Advisor or take legal advice from the Office of General Counsel or Director, Legal Services.
How do I report to OPI?
Once you have formed a reasonable suspicion of corruption or serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration you should make a report to OPI.
Public Officers are required to use the online reporting form. Go to https://icac.sa.gov.au/complaint-report and fill out the form. Print and/or save a copy of the report for your records and treat it confidentially.
Who can I tell about the report I have made?
You can choose to tell appropriate people, such as your supervisor, HR Advisor, General Counsel or Director, Legal Services, that you have made a report. For example: the activity represents serious misconduct and you advise your HR Advisor so that the University can manage its internal misconduct process appropriately.
Remember to treat the report as confidential so as not to compromise an investigation of the matter by OPI/ICAC.
What happens after I make a report?
OPI will contact you when they have assessed the report. OPI may:
- Refer the matter to the Commissioner to investigate corruption;
- Refer the matter back to the University to investigate it as misconduct under the Enterprise Agreement and/or provide guidance on how the University should manage the issue;
- Refer the matter to the Police for investigation
What if OPI contacts me and I want help to respond?
Whether as a consequence of making a report or not, if OPI contacts you for information you may take legal advice by contacting the Office of General Counsel for advice on how best to respond to the request.
Can I make an anonymous report to OPI?
The ICAC Act does not allow anonymous complaints from public officers. It may be possible to make an appropriate disclosure of information to OPI under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018 (SA).
Public interest disclosures made to OPI are treated in confidence and privacy is maintained as far as practicable. The OPI may refer the matter to the University for investigation and/or require the University to adopt measures to protect you from reprisal, workplace conflict or stress and respond to allegations of victimisation.
To make a disclosure of public interest information, go to - https://icac.sa.gov.au/public-interest-disclosures
Where can I find more information?
Online training and other educational resources are offered by ICAC to assist Public Officers to confidently manage their obligations under the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012.
The University and its officers have public accountability obligations set out in its founding Act and other State and Commonwealth legislation. This includes accountability to bodies such as the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Ombudsman, Auditor General, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and funding bodies.
Have you seen something in the University that you think is wrong? Depending on the circumstances, there are certain people you can, and should, talk to.
If you're concerned that there might be action taken against you for reporting wrongdoing, you may wish to make a protected disclosure under the University's Whistleblower Policy.