The Inspector of the Independent Commission Against Corruption
The Inspector of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (the ICAC) is an independent statutory officer whose role and functions is to hold the ICAC accountable in the way it carries out its function. This is what is known as an oversight function. The Inspector’s role are set out in Part 5A of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (the ICAC Act). The Inspector is not subject to ICAC in any way. The Office of the Inspector of the ICAC is located in physically separate premises from the ICAC.
The Inspector oversights the ICAC by:
- undertaking audits of the ICAC’s operations to ensure compliance with the law;
- dealing with complaints about the conduct of the ICAC and current and former officers; and
- assessing the effectiveness and appropriateness of the ICAC's procedures.
The Inspector has extensive powers to investigate the conduct of the ICAC and its officers including obtaining documents from the ICAC and requiring ICAC officers to attend before him and answer questions. The Inspector can also sit as a Royal Commissioner in order to conduct investigations. As a Royal Commissioner the Inspector has extensive powers to compel witnesses to provide evidence.
What kind of complaints can the Inspector deal with?
The Inspector can deal with complaints about the conduct of the ICAC or its officers which concern abuses of power, impropriety, misconduct of any kind, lengthy delays in investigation and maladministration. Under the ICAC Act maladministration is defined as action or inaction of a serious nature that is contrary to law, or unreasonable, unjust, oppressive or improperly discriminatory, or based wholly or partly on improper motives.
What kind of complaints are outside the Inspector’s jurisdiction?
The Inspector cannot deal with the conduct of public agency or public officials outside that of the ICAC, for example, employees of the Department of Community Services, the police, local council employees, Councillors and Members of Parliament. The Inspector may deal with the conduct of any former officer of the ICAC, even if that person is now employed somewhere else. However, the Inspector can only deal with complaints about conduct when that person was an ICAC officer.
The Inspector cannot deal with allegations about the conduct of any person working in a private capacity, for example a small business owner or a consultant working in a private sector firm. The only exception is if that person or person's were carrying out public functions on behalf of the ICAC.
The Inspector cannot review the ICAC’S decision either to investigate or not investigate a complaint. This is for the ICAC alone to decide. If the decision relates to misconduct or impropriety or maladministration then the Inspector can examine the decision and the context in which it was made. The Inspector may then make comments and recommendations about the ICAC's conduct in relation to the decision and decision making process. However, even in this scenario the Inspector cannot order the ICAC to either investigate a complaint or to discontinue an investigation which it is undertaking.
The Inspector’s contact details are:
John Nicholson SC, Acting Inspector
Inspector of the ICAC
PO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001
Tel: 02 9228 5260
Office is open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday