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 Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (ICAC Act) within time periods specified by the legislation.
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. 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 their 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 their 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.
Who is the Inspector of ICAC?
Ms Gail Furness SC commenced her appointment as the Inspector of the NSW ICAC on 1 July 2022.
Gail Furness graduated from the University of Queensland in 1982 (BA) and from the University of Melbourne in 1985 (LLB (Hons)) and in 1989 (Masters of Laws). Ms Furness was called to the NSW Bar in 1997 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2010.
The Inspector’s contact details are:
Ms Gail Furness SC
Inspector of the Independent Commission Against Corruption
PO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001
Phone: (61) 2 9228 3023