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Frequently asked questions about the NSW ICAC

What is the role of the ICAC?

The ICAC's principal functions are to:

  • investigate and expose corrupt conduct in the NSW public sector
  • actively prevent corruption through advice and assistance
  • educate the NSW community and public sector and corruption and its effects.

Does the ICAC investigate every report of suspected corruption that it receives?

Every report the ICAC receives is carefully assessed, but investigation is only one of the options open to the ICAC. Reports may also be referred back to the relevant public authority for action, referred to other agencies if they are outside the ICAC's jurisdiction or used as the basis for corruption prevention work with the relevant public authority.


Can the ICAC deal with allegations of corruption against Members of the NSW Parliament and NSW judges and magistrates?

Yes, because NSW Members of Parliament, magistrates and holders of judicial office in NSW are public officials within the meaning of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.


Can the ICAC deal with allegations of corruption in NSW local government?

Yes, because NSW local government authorities are included within the definition of a "public authority" in the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988. The ICAC can investigate conduct involving councillors as well as employees of local government.


Can the ICAC deal with allegations of corruption in the NSW Police?

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct, including corrupt conduct, involving members of the NSW Police Force (including administrative employees) and the NSW Crime Commission. The ICAC may only investigate corrupt conduct involving staff of the NSW Police Force and NSW Crime Commission provided the matter involves other NSW public officials.


Can the ICAC deal with allegations of corruption in the private sector?

No, not unless NSW public officials and/or public authorities are involved or affected. In some circumstances, private contractors and consultants can be considered to be public officials if they are exercising public official functions in NSW.

Does the ICAC have the power to prosecute people?

No.  The ICAC can obtain the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with respect to the prosecution of persons for specified criminal offences.

The ICAC has power to commence proceedings for a criminal offence, but only on advice from the DPP.  In practice, court attendance notices are taken out in the name of the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions.

What can the ICAC not do?

Unless the NSW public sector is involved, the ICAC does not have the power to investigate the private sector, issues arising in other states or territories, federal parliamentarians, departments or agencies, NSW police officers, NSW police administration officers or NSW Crime Commission officers.

The ICAC is not a complaints resolution service and its role is limited to receiving information about suspected corrupt conduct and acting accordingly.

The ICAC is not an appeals body concerning the merits decisions made by other public agencies. The ICAC cannot review decisions about compensation by other bodies, and it cannot review judicial rulings or judgments.  

There are other public agencies with specialised functions to receive and manage complaints about planning decisions, health care, privacy issues, access to government information and discrimination. Unless the matter also involves alleged corrupt conduct, the ICAC does not have a role in reviewing such complaints.