Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page
Examination of the Annual Report
Annual Report is the fourth Annual Report of the Integrity Commissioner and
covers the third full year of operation.
The report details ongoing efforts by the agency as it continues to develop its
practices and procedures.
The committee's concurrent inquiry into the operation of the Law
Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 has provided an important
avenue for the committee to consider, in detail, a number of legislative,
administrative and broader matters of interest concerning the work of ACLEI. Issues
canvassed in that inquiry have not been reiterated here. The committee's examination
of the 2009–10
Annual Report focuses principally on:
- ACLEI's compliance with reporting requirements (see Appendix 1);
- changes to ACLEI's performance reporting framework; and
- certain issues arising from ACLEI's reported performance in
The performance reporting framework
ACLEI's outcome and output structure changed for the 2009–10 budget
year, as part of the general transition of General Government Sector (GGS)
agencies to a program reporting framework. The updated agency outcome statement
also captures revisions made under the Operation Sunlight Outcome Statements
The table below, taken from the Attorney-General's Portfolio Budget
Statement (PBS) for 2009–10, outlines the change to a more detailed outcome
statement. The new program statement closely mirrors the previous output group
statement from 2008–09.
Table 1: Changes to the
2008–09 Budget year
2009–10 Budget year
Outcome 1: Assurance that
Australian Government law enforcement agencies and their staff act with
Outcome 1: Independent
assurance to the Australian Government that Commonwealth law enforcement
agencies and their staff act with integrity by detecting, investigating and
Output Group 1.1: Detect,
investigate and prevent corruption in prescribed Commonwealth law enforcement
agencies; assist law enforcement agencies to maintain and improve the
integrity of staff members
Program 1.1: Detect,
investigate and prevent corruption in prescribed law enforcement agencies;
assist law enforcement agencies to maintain and improve the integrity of
In addition to these changes, the 2009–10 PBS also documented
significant alterations to the performance reporting structure for the agency.
A new set of 'program deliverables' was included under Program 1.1, as follows:
- corruption issues are promptly brought to the attention of the
Integrity Commissioner for independent assessment and decision on how each
issue should be dealt with (either by ACLEI, the agency to which the issue
relates, or another agency);
- where appropriate, ACLEI independently investigates corruption
issues, giving priority to serious or systemic corruption;
- where appropriate, the Integrity Commissioner uses statutory
coercive and intrusive information-gathering powers to assist in investigations;
- ACLEI analyses and reports on patterns and trends in law
- ACLEI recommends changes to laws and to agency practices and
procedures to improve integrity in law enforcement, and to detect and prevent
corruption more effectively;
- ACLEI contributes to corruption prevention initiatives such as
the assessment of corruption risk and raising awareness about corruption
deterrence, thereby helping to build corruption-resistant work cultures; and
- staff members of law enforcement agencies are made aware that
information about corruption can be referred with confidence to the Integrity
In addition to these program deliverables, the PBS also outlines a
series of key performance indicators (KPI). These indicators, together with the
measures used to assess each KPI, are reproduced below, together with a summary
of performance as reported by ACLEI.
The Integrity Commissioner, Mr Phillip Moss, informed the committee that
ACLEI's own measure of its performance had moved beyond quantitative measures
to include more qualitative measures. According to the Integrity Commissioner,
this would more successfully demonstrate the value that ACLEI brought to the
corruption deterrence framework.
KPI One: The corruption
notification system is effective
Performance against KPI One is assessed with reference to the following
- law enforcement agencies notify ACLEI of corruption issues in a
- other agencies provide information about corruption issues to
- ACLEI is seen as viable for reporting information about
ACLEI reported that the number of notifications received from the ACC
and AFP increased to 40 in 2009–10, and that the agency had no concerns with
the timeliness of these notifications. In addition, two referrals were received
from other government agencies. The number of referrals from whistleblowers
increased substantially, from one in 2008–09 to eight in 2009–10. This last
fact may indicate a growing confidence in ACLEI's ability to handle sensitive
KPI Two: ACLEI assess all
notifications and referrals of corruption issues in a timely way
KPI Two is measured by reference to the following:
upon receipt, ACLEI assesses information about corruption to
determine how each issue should be dealt with. Credible information about
corruption is prioritised.
ACLEI reported that all notifications and referrals were subject to
initial assessment upon receipt, in order to determine their priority. ACLEI's performance
in finalising assessments is dealt with below in the section on workload.
KPI Three: ACLEI's investigations
are conducted professionally and efficiently, and add value to the integrity
Measures for KPI Three include:
- investigations adhere to the Integrity Commissioner's
ACLEI investigations are properly managed;
investigation reports provided to the Minister are of high
- advice is provided to the minister in a timely way.
ACLEI reported on a variety of measures undertaken in 2009–10 aimed at
improving the governance of ACLEI's investigative procedures.
Additionally, ACLEI described internal management procedures aimed at
ensuring efficient deployment of investigative resources. The committee is
pleased to see that the agency is developing more efficient and effective
procedures as the agency matures.
Three investigation reports were completed in 2009–10 and provided to
the Minister, while all requests for Minister's Office Briefings were met to
appropriate standards within agreed timeframes.
KPI Four: ACLEI monitors the
quality of corruption investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies
Measures for KPI Four include:
- all agency corruption investigation reports provided to ACLEI are
assessed for quality and completeness; and
- ACLEI liaises regularly with the agencies' professional standards
ACLEI received six reports for review during 2009–10, from a total of 47
external agency investigations. This issue is addressed further below.
ACLEI reported that it met monthly with the professional standards areas
of the ACC and the AFP, and more often as the case-work required.
KPI Five: ACLEI contributes to
policy development and law reform in accountability and corruption prevention
relating to law enforcement
Measures for KPI Five include:
- each investigation addresses corruption risk and, where
warranted, makes recommendations for systemic improvement in corruption
prevention or detection measures; and
submissions that relate to corruption prevention or enhancing
integrity may be made to government or in other relevant forums.
ACLEI reported that one investigation report included consideration of
potential corruption risks. The ACC used this analysis to strengthen its
corruption resistance strategies.
Additionally, the agency made four formal submissions to Australian
Government or parliamentary inquiries, including to this committee.
KPI Six: Staff members of law
enforcement agencies are made aware of ACLEI's role
Measures for KPI Six include:
- marketing and other awareness-raising activities are in place,
including joint initiatives with other agencies; and
targeted presentations about integrity are made to diverse
A substantial number of awareness-raising presentations were provided to
staff members of the ACC and AFP in 2009–10, while the Integrity Commissioner
and senior staff made 13 presentations to public or special interest audiences.
KPI Seven: ACLEI handles personal
KPI Seven is measured by reference to the following:
- regular privacy audits are undertaken to ensure compliance with
legal obligations and better practice policy for information-handling.
The completion of the ACLEI secure operations facility has enhanced the
agency's ability to handle information securely. In addition, ACLEI's auditors,
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd, commenced an internal audit of ACLEI's
information handling practices.
Direction of ACLEI
The committee commends the Integrity Commissioner and ACLEI on another
year of positive development. The report demonstrates a number of improvements
in the way ACLEI conducts its business, as more 'building blocks' are put in
We began the 2009-10 financial year with three building
blocks in place: new funding for five staff, a near completed secure operations
facility and an important conceptual advance, namely, a new strategic orientation
towards countering the possible relationship between corrupt law enforcement
agency staff members and organised criminal groups—the so called ‘corruption
The Integrity Commissioner noted that the completion of the secure
operations facility, combined with additional staff had enhanced ACLEI's
independent abilities. Prior to the construction of the facility, ACLEI had had
to request technical assistance from agencies such as the Australian Federal
Police in order to exercise certain powers. The secure operations facility has
enabled ACLEI to undertake these functions itself. As a result, in 2009–10, the
agency was able to independently exercise certain intrusive and covert
information-gathering powers for the first time.
The agency continues to develop the two-level engagement approach with
the AFP and ACC, whereby information is exchanged regarding threats to
integrity from organised crime groups. The Integrity Commissioner explained
Although the two-level approach is still in its infancy,
already ACLEI’s intelligence and investigation teams are engaging with key
operational areas of the ACC and AFP that deal with organised crime in relation
to individual corruption issues. The introduction of this two-level approach is
a marker of the flexibility of the LEIC Act framework and of the enhanced way
in which ACLEI approaches the corruption risk environment and its own role in
the deterrence framework.
Importantly, the two-level engagement approach should help to protect
law enforcement agencies from infiltration by organised criminal networks. Mr
Stephen Hayward, Executive Director, informed the committee that:
Nationally, there have been practices that other state
integrity agencies have seen where there have been deliberate recruitment
practices taken within law enforcement agencies to put people in those agencies
from an organised criminal network to truly infiltrate. It is through
investigation reporting and our ongoing liaison with the agencies that we can
then feed that information in so that their preventative processes, their
recruitment processes and their security processes can continue to improve to
defeat that type of activity.
Finally, ACLEI noted that after four years of developing investigative
and detection capacity, the agency could begin to focus on prevention measures.
The Integrity Commissioner was of the opinion that a greater emphasis should be
given to prevention, stating:
Prevention is about turning the information and the outcomes
that we achieve through investigations and notifications back to the agencies
so that they are informed by the activities we undertake in those other areas
and therefore can make adjustments to their own frameworks.
The committee is encouraged by the milestones reached in 2009–10, and
the performance of the agency to date, while being cognisant that significant
challenges remain ahead.
One such challenge is the expansion of ACLEI's jurisdiction, as a result
of the government's acceptance of a recommendation made by the committee in the
Interim Report for the inquiry into the operation of the Law Enforcement
Integrity Commissioner Act 2006. The Australian Customs and Border
Protection Service (Customs) came under ACLEI's jurisdiction as of January
2011. As a result, this development does not affect the agency's 2009–10
The main issue arising from ACLEI's reported performance for 2009–10 is
the agency's ongoing capacity to successfully manage a growing workload. This
issue has been canvassed in the committee's previous reports on ACLEI's annual
A diagram depicting the agency's workflow is provided at Appendix 2, which
may be of assistance in following the various statistics provided below.
Increasing numbers of notifications
The number of corruption issues notified or referred to the agency has
grown consistently since the establishment of the agency. ACLEI noted that the
increase in both agency notifications and referrals from other sources reflects
the growing profile of the agency and the success of corruption awareness
raising activities conducted by the agency.
A record total of 80 notifications and referrals were received in
2009–10, representing an increase of 57 per cent from the 51 occurrences in the
previous year. ACLEI also commenced an 'own initiative' investigation, with a
resulting total of 81 new corruption issues in 2009–10.
The growth in the number of notifications and referrals is depicted in Chart 1
(please note that these figures do not include 'own initiative' investigations).
In addition to new issues raised during the 2009–10 financial year, 49
issues were carried over from previous years. Of these, one issue dated back to
2006–07, 16 to 2007–08 and 32 to 2008–09.
The number of issues being carried over each year has also grown steadily as
shown in the chart below.
ACLEI's total workload for 2009–10, comprising both new and continuing
issues was therefore 130 corruption issues. This represents a 62 per increase
from the previous year. As is clearly demonstrated in Chart 2, the overall
annual workload has grown each year through a combination of both new issues,
and continuing issues from previous years.
The committee is aware that of the 130 issues considered in 2009–10, 89
will be carried over to 2010–11. While recognising that a substantial
proportion of these issues are likely to have been raised towards the end of
2009–10 and that a number of the issues raised will be complex, the committee
is concerned that ACLEI's workload may become less manageable if issues are not
able to be finalised in a timely manner. As noted below, the committee was able
to question ACLEI regarding these concerns.
Once ACLEI has been notified of, or referred, a corruption issue, it
assesses that issue to determine how to proceed. Not all issues proceed to the
investigation stage, for a number of reasons. As noted in the annual report:
All information provided to ACLEI is assessed for its
reliability, that is the likelihood that the allegation or information is true.
ACLEI's role is to obtain intelligence or evidence that may corroborate,
exclude or contextualise the information provided.
Once an assessment of the information is complete, the
Integrity Commissioner decides whether the issue should be dealt with as an
investigation under the LEIC Act framework.
In order to improve the timeliness of the assessment of corruption
issues, the agency applied additional staffing resources to the assessment
role. In addition, some assessment related decision-making powers were
delegated to the Executive Director in order to expedite the process in certain
As a result, 60 per cent of assessments were completed within 90 days of
receipt, a substantial improvement on the previous year. While this did not
meet the agency's stated aim of achieving 75 per cent of assessments within 90
days, the committee is satisfied by the improvement and encourages the agency
to continue to aim for the 75 per cent target.
At the end of 2009–10, 29 corruption issues were yet to be assessed.
However, of these, only seven were older than 3 months.
Seventy issues were under investigation in 2009–10, with the majority of
these being conducted by the affected agencies themselves, rather than ACLEI.
ACLEI has two choices in how an investigation of a corruption issue is
undertaken. ACLEI can either investigate the matter itself, or (more commonly)
refer it back to the agency concerned, for investigation by that agency's own
professional standards unit (described here as an external investigation).
In total, 48 investigations were undertaken by agencies other than
ACLEI, with one of these overseen by ACLEI. In these situations, ACLEI is
required to receive a report from the agency conducting the investigation.
The committee is concerned that of the 48 relevant inquiries, only six
reports were received by ACLEI in 2009–10. The rate at which external agencies
conclude inquiries appears to contribute significantly to the large number of
unresolved issues at the end of each financial year.
The Integrity Commissioner informed the committee that this was an issue
that ACLEI was addressing together with the agencies.
ACLEI noted in the annual report that it will appoint a manager of assessment
and review from July 2010 in order to better facilitate external inquiries. The
committee agrees with this course of action and will monitor developments in
In addition to referring corruption issues to law enforcement agencies
for investigation, ACLEI conducts its own investigations into serious
corruption issues. ACLEI commenced 12 investigations into corruption issues in
2009–10, with a further 10 investigations ongoing from previous years. Of these
22 ACLEI investigations, three investigations were finalised during the year
and one investigation was discontinued. This represents an annual closure rate
for ACLEI investigations of approximately 20 per cent. The 18 ongoing
investigations represent a significant portion of ACLEI's workload. The
committee understands that many of the issues involved are complex and
Additional workload arising from
As noted above, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has
come under ACLEI's jurisdiction, as of January 2011. The Integrity Commissioner
noted that the long term impact of the added jurisdiction is unclear, but that
funding for five new staff members had been provided, together with an
agreement to review the need for further resources to inform the 2012–13
The committee was informed that ACLEI has so far been notified of ten
initial corruption issues by Customs. Of these, four are being jointly
investigated by ACLEI and Customs, five are being investigated by Customs
itself, and one remains under assessment by ACLEI.
ACLEI's response to workload
The workload statistics listed above gave rise to committee concerns as
to ACLEI's ability to handle the large and growing number of notifications and
referrals each year. The committee therefore took the opportunity at its public
hearing in February to question ACLEI about the adequacy of its resources to
tackle the increasing volume of corruption issues.
In response to the committee's specific concerns about the growing
number of active ACLEI investigations, Mr Nicholas Sellars, Director Strategic
Support, noted that the current number was within the agency's expectation,
Many of those investigations take longer than a financial
year to finalise. We would expect to see between 20 and 30 investigations going
on in ACLEI at any one time. Those investigations are now getting to the point
where some will be newly commenced; some will be at 30 June of the report; some
may be at a stage of needing to be reassessed as to whether they should be
closed because the evidence has not disclosed corrupt conduct; some may be
waiting for a report to be made to the minister and then be closed. Out of that
stock of 22 or so, there are a number of corruption issues in each of those
stages of development. So, while 22 sounds like a lot compared to the number of
ACLEI staff, when you think of it in terms of the pipeline it is not quite as
dramatic as it seems at first.
The Integrity Commissioner noted that five new staff members were
recruited into ACLEI's assessment, intelligence and investigation teams early
in 2009–10, and that these staff had made an immediate difference to ACLEI's
ability to complete assessments and investigations in a more timely way.
As noted above, the expansion of the jurisdiction to include Customs will bring
a further five positions to ACLEI in 2011.
The committee notes that this significant increase in the number of
assessment, intelligence and investigation staff is likely to deliver greater
economies of scale, enabling increased specialisation and efficiency. With this
increase in staff, combined with the appointment of a dedicated manager of
assessment and review noted above, the committee accepts that ACLEI has
sufficient resources to handle its current investigations workload.
The committee will maintain a close interest in ACLEI's investigation workload
and resourcing, in particular to monitor the impact of Customs and any other
new additions to ACLEI's remit, and make appropriate recommendations where
The Committee notes further that ACLEI’s role in prevention has been of
a lower priority while ACLEI has used its resources to date to focus on
establishing its detection and investigation capabilities. The Committee considers
prevention and education to be necessary components of building and maintaining
cultures of integrity within law enforcement agencies and is concerned that
ACLEI’s current resources, while adequate for the investigations workload, do
not extend to fulfilling its important prevention role.
ACLEI's staff has grown in number over the agency's lifetime, with
another five staff members added to deal with the new Custom's jurisdiction.
The committee therefore sought information on ACLEI's ability to attract a
qualified workforce over time. The Integrity Commissioner noted that despite
the competition for skilled investigators and intelligence analysts, ACLEI had
successfully recruited qualified new staff, stating:
I am pleased to say, the expressions of interest in those
positions was very high and we had considerable fields from which to choose the
four staff—as I said, soon to be five. As to terms and conditions, I think we
have to be competitive in relation to other employers who are seeking such
staff and the skills that they have. In that sense, ACLEI just have to be
attractive to such people, and we are.
The committee was also informed that recent appointments were equally
divided along gender lines, resulting in a more gender-balanced workforce
Freedom of Information
In 2009–10, ACLEI received two requests for access to documents under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982.The committee sought information as
to whether the recent changes to freedom of information legislation and the
commencement of the Information Commissioner requests would affect ACLEI's
operations. The Integrity Commissioner informed the committee that the agency
had yet to understand the full implications of the changes and to test the
system. As Mr Nicholas Sellars explained:
The Information Commissioner commenced in, I think, November
last year, as did amendments to the Freedom of Information Act. It has changed
a lot of the rules and assumptions about freedom of information. We are yet to
see in detail how those changes will look on the ground. The Information
Commissioner is busy as we speak, no doubt, writing guidelines about how the
various exemptions will play out. It is an area we are keeping a watching brief
on, as would other law enforcement agencies.
The committee is aware of the potentially conflicting ideals of
transparency and investigation integrity and will monitor this situation into
Review of ACLEI's administrative arrangements
In the committee's report on law enforcement integrity models, tabled in
February 2009, it recommended that the government undertake a review of ACLEI's
funding levels. As a result of this recommendation, a review of ACLEI's
business practices and funding structure conducted by Mr Peter Hamburger is
underway. The committee looks forward to the review's findings.
The committee is encouraged by the achievement of a number of milestones
for ACLEI in 2009–10. These milestones have included the completion of the
secure operations facility, the independent exercise of special investigative
powers and the development of the two-level approach to investigation of
organised crime and law enforcement integrity.
The number of notifications and referrals of corruption issues continues
to grow, reflecting ACLEI's growing public profile and an ongoing engagement
with the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police. ACLEI
has grown to meet this workload, although continuing effort will no doubt be
required to ensure timely and effective assessment and investigation of
The committee is satisfied by the direction ACLEI has taken through the
building-block approach. This gradual implementation of capabilities and strategic
direction continues apace, including the development of the two-level approach
The committee notes that the adoption of the two-level approach to law
enforcement agencies is necessary to meet the potential risk of infiltration of
those agencies by organised criminal networks. The committee considers that
this is a useful direction for ACLEI to follow and will assess the
effectiveness of this approach in subsequent years.
However, the committee is also mindful of the desirability of ACLEI focussing
more closely on corruption prevention. ACLEI was established to investigate,
detect and prevent corrupt conduct in law enforcement agencies. As stated by
the Integrity Commissioner, after four years of developing investigative and
detection abilities, it is now time to put a greater emphasis on the third
The committee agrees with this objective and will be working with ACLEI to
explore how it can further develop its corruption prevention role in the future,
and to ensure ACLEI's resources are appropriate for the task.
The committee commends the Integrity Commissioner and the staff of ACLEI
for the publication of a comprehensive and accessible annual report. ACLEI
continues to evolve and develop, in terms of both process and strategy. The
committee looks forward to continuing to engage with ACLEI and to observe the
performance of the agency in 2010–11.
Ms Melissa Parke MP
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page
Back to top