The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has this month updated its Corruption Allegations Data Dashboard (CADD) to reflect referral data received up to the end of the September 2021 quarter.
The CADD reveals that allegations received by the CCC trended upwards throughout the course of 2021, with over 6,500 complaints having been received by September 2021 according to the latest data. The CADD also reveals that allegations continue to be received in relation to both state and local government agencies with concerns regarding misuse of authority, misuse of confidential information and misuse of resources remaining the primary areas of concerns raised by complainants.
While the number of allegations received by the CCC continues to trend high, this is not to be unexpected given the uncertainty surrounding the application and interpretation of the updated definition of ‘corrupt conduct’ as captured by section 15 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (QLD) (CC Act), as well as the corresponding ‘reasonable suspicion test.’
The CCC has emphasised the importance of assessing complaints correctly and is continuing its efforts to educate agencies on this topic. Most recently in October 2021, the CCC released an Audit Summary entitled ‘Assessing complaints of corrupt conduct: a guide for assessors and decision-makers’. This guide reminds assessing officers and decision-makers of the obligations to always consider, assess, and maintain complaint records and decisions consistent with the CC Act, as well as emphasising the importance of maintaining clear and appropriate policies and processes.
In our experience, there are significant cost and resource consequences that can flow from an agency failing to properly assess an allegation of corrupt conduct. It is important that only those allegations that properly satisfy the definition of corrupt conduct are considered for referral, and that a referral to the CCC is only made once a suspicion of corrupt conduct has been reasonably formed. In many instances a CCC referral is unnecessary, and the matter can be appropriately dealt with through internal grievance/disciplinary processes or the referral of the complaint to a body such as the Queensland Ombudsman or the Office of the Independent Assessor.
At Gadens, we have extensive experience in assessing, referring and investigating allegations of corrupt conduct and providing legal advice as to whether the definition of ‘corrupt conduct’ can be established in response to a complaint. Please don’t hesitate to contact Daniel Maroske, Director or Angela Szczepanski, Director should you require any assistance.
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Angela Szczepanski, Director
Daniel Maroske, Director