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 is to oversee the operations and conduct of the ICAC so as to ensure that it complies with the law and does not abuse the considerable powers which Parliament has vested in it.
The Inspector is appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Executive but Parliament’s Committee on the ICAC is empowered to veto such appointments by the ICAC Act within time periods specified by the legislation.
The current inspector is Bruce McClintock SC whose appointment became official on 1 July 2017.
The role of the Inspector is set out in Part 5A of the ICAC Act. The legislation states that the Inspector is not subject to the ICAC in any way and the Inspector’s Office is located in different premises from those of the ICAC.
The Inspector oversees the ICAC and its activities by:
- auditing the operations of ICAC for the purpose of monitoring compliance with the law of the State, and
- dealing with complaints about abuse of power, impropriety and other forms of misconduct on the part of the Commission or officers of the Commission, and
- dealing with conduct amounting to maladministration (including, without limitation, delay in the conduct of investigations and unreasonable invasions of privacy) by ICAC or officers of ICAC, and
- assessing the effectiveness and appropriateness of the procedures of ICAC relating to the legality or propriety of its activities.
Section 57C of the ICAC Act grants the Inspector extensive powers to perform his functions. The Inspector:
(a) may investigate any aspect of ICAC's operations or any conduct of officers of ICAC, and
(b) is entitled to full access to the records of ICAC and to take or have copies made of any of them, and
(c) may require officers of ICAC to supply information or produce documents or other things about any matter, or any class or kind of matters, relating to ICAC's operations or any conduct of the officers of ICAC, and
(d) may require officers of ICAC to attend before the Inspector to answer questions or produce documents or other things relating to ICAC's operations or any conduct of the officers of ICAC, and
(e) may investigate and assess complaints about ICAC or the officers of ICAC, and
(f) may refer matters relating to ICAC or officers of ICAC to other public authorities or public officials for consideration or action, and
(g) may recommend disciplinary action or criminal prosecution against officers of ICAC.
For the purpose of conducting his functions, the Inspector may make or hold inquiries and in doing so the Inspector has the powers, authorities, protections and immunities conferred on a commissioner by the Royal Commissions Act 1923.
What kind of complaints can the Inspector deal with?
The Inspector can deal with (by reports and recommendations to parliament) complaints of abuse of power, impropriety and other forms of misconduct on the part of the ICAC or officers of the ICAC; and deal with (by reports and recommendations) conduct amounting to maladministration (including, without limitation, delay in the conduct of investigations and unreasonable invasions of privacy) by the ICAC or officers of the ICAC. 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 agencies or public officials outside that of the ICAC, for example, employees of the Department of Family and 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 officer of ICAC.
The Inspector cannot review the ICAC’S decision either to investigate or not investigate a complaint, unless the decision by ICAC relates to misconduct or impropriety or maladministration. In such circumstances, the Inspector may examine the decision and the context in which it was made. The Inspector may then make comments and recommendations to ICAC or Parliament about ICAC's conduct in relation to the decision and decision making process.
How does the Inspector deal with complaints in his Office?
When the Inspector receives a complaint it is assessed to determine whether it raises allegations of abuse of power, impropriety, conduct amounting to maladministration or other forms of misconduct on the part of ICAC or officers of ICAC, which the Inspector is empowered to deal with. If it does, then in most cases a response is sought from ICAC to the allegations raised. In some instances, further particulars are also sought from the complainant.
Once the Inspector has received the response from ICAC and (if it was requested) further details from the complainant, the Inspector will deal with the complaint in one of two ways: by letter to the complainant notifying them of the outcome of their complaint (which the Inspector will make reference to in his annual report) or by a report to Parliament which may or may not include a recommendation concerning the conduct of ICAC or one of its officers.
Who is the Inspector of ICAC?
Mr McClintock SC was appointed as the Inspector of the NSW ICAC on 1 July 2017 .
On 28 September 2018 Mr McClintock was appointed as the inaugural Inspector of the Northern Territory ICAC.
Mr McClintock graduated from the Australian National University in 1975 (BA, LLB(Hons)) and Columbia University in 1978 (LLM).
He was called to the Bar in 1983 after practising as a solicitor in Sydney and an attorney in New York. He was appointed Senior Counsel in 1996.
The Inspector’s contact details are:
Mr Bruce McClintock SC
Inspector of the ICAC
PO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001