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Committee Name:

Anti-Corruption Commission Joint Committee (1997 - 2001)


Report Type:Report


Report on the Operational Accountability of the Anti-Corruption Commssion and the Protection of Rights Under the Anti-Corruption Commission Act 1988
Report No:4
No of Pages:41
Physical Location:State Law Publishers

Presentation Date:


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Hide details for Executive SummaryExecutive Summary

The ACC is responsible for investigating corruption and serious improper conduct in the public sector and, under the Act, it functions independently of the executive arm of Government. While the Committee acknowledges that independence and operational integrity are necessary for the effective functioning of the ACC, the Committee maintains also that, because of the nature of powers it may exercise, the ACC must be accountable for its operations.

At present there is no continuing, independent mechanism through which the ACC’s operations can be audited. Apart from resort to judicial redress of grievances, there is no mechanism for ensuring that the powers of the ACC are exercised lawfully. Nor is there authority for reviewing the appropriateness of operational procedures, or for addressing complaints against the ACC or its officers.

The lack of independent scrutiny is a significant gap in accountability. If a mechanism is not established through which the operations of the ACC can be fully and independently scrutinised the ACC will remain vulnerable to criticism that it functions as a “star chamber” and that complaints about the fairness of its procedures or the conduct of its officers cannot be answered.
After examining agencies operating in New South Wales and Queensland, and reviewing responses to the Discussion Paper, including those from the Chairman of the ACC, Commissioner of Police and the President of the WA Police Union of Workers, the Committee has concluded that the most appropriate way to provide for the operational accountability of the ACC is to establish an independent office with extensive powers to - –
      audit the operations of the ACC;
      investigate complaints against the ACC or its officers; and
      evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the ACC’s procedures.

Such an office should have full access to the operational files and the staff of the ACC, and be established in such a way as to protect the operational integrity of the ACC and the confidentiality of witnesses and informants.

To achieve these ends, the Committee recommends that an Office of Parliamentary Inspector of the Anti-Corruption Commission be established.