Frequently asked questions about reporting corruption
Can I be sued for defamation as a result of lodging a complaint with the ICAC?
No. There are protections against actions for defamation afforded to those who provide the ICAC with information. However, it is an offence to deliberately provide false and misleading information to the ICAC.
Can I be victimised as a result of lodging a complaint with the ICAC?
If you are a current NSW public official or person engaged to provide services to a NSW public authority (including an employee or officer of a corporation engaged to provide services) and you make a complaint to the ICAC as a public interest disclosure, your matter falls within the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 and it is an offence for reprisal action to be taken against you for doing so. This includes such things as harassment, discrimination and dismissal from employment.
It is an offence against the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 ("the ICAC Act") for anyone to victimise a member of the public for assisting the Commission – see section 93 of the ICAC Act.
If you consider you have been victimised as a result of lodging a complaint, you should let the ICAC know immediately.
Can I report a corruption matter anonymously?
Yes; however, this can affect our ability to deal with the information. For example, we will not be able to contact you to verify or check any facts. Nor will we be able to contact you to advise you of what action the ICAC may be taking.
Can I tell others that I have reported a matter to the ICAC?
The ICAC cannot prevent you from reporting matters to others; however this is not advisable. It may affect the ability of the ICAC to take any necessary steps.
Can someone gain access to material I have provided to the ICAC under freedom of information legislation?
No. The ICAC's complaint-handling function is exempt from freedom of information legislation.
Do I need proof?
While proof is not required, the ICAC is unlikely to take any action if your allegations are based on speculation. It does assist the ICAC if you can provide information to support your allegations. While you are not expected to know the truth of the matter you are reporting, please note that it is an offence to deliberately provide false and misleading information to the ICAC.
How do I report a matter?
The ICAC accepts complaints from the general public and from public officials in the following forms:
- by the online complaint form
- in writing – GPO Box 500, Sydney NSW 2001
- by fax – (02) 9264 5364
- by telephone – (02) 8281 5999 or toll-free 1800 463 909
- TTY – (02) 8281 5773 (for hearing-impaired callers only)
- by email – email@example.com
What details do I need to make a complaint?
To assess your information fully, you should let us know:
- what happened
- when it occurred
- who was involved (including names and titles of public officials)
- why you consider the conduct corrupt
- whether you have any documents that might support your allegations
- who else you have reported it to and what response you have received, if any.
What will happen to my matter?
All reports and complaints received that are within the ICAC's jurisdiction are considered by an internal committee made up of senior officers. This is called the Assessment Panel.
This panel decides on the action the ICAC will take, which could include:
- referring the matter to another agency or take no action
- requesting an investigation and report-back by another agency
- conducting assessment enquiries
- providing corruption prevention analysis and/or advice
- undertaking an investigation.
How will I find out what has happened with my complaint?
If you provide your contact details, you will be
notified in writing of the ICAC's decision after the Assessment Panel
has made a decision.
Who can I complain about to the ICAC?
The ICAC is concerned with investigating, exposing and preventing corruption in and affecting the NSW public sector. The ICAC does not have jurisdiction over the NSW Police Force or the NSW Crime Commission, nor over private sector organisations or individuals unless their conduct involves:
• a member of the public influencing, or trying to influence, a NSW public official to use his or her position in a way that is dishonest or partial
• a member of the public engaging in conduct that could involve such matters set out in section 8(2A) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 where such conduct impairs or could impair public confidence in public administration.
Who can lodge a complaint with the ICAC?
Any member of the public, including public officials, can lodge a complaint but the matter must concern suspected corrupt conduct affecting the NSW public sector. If you are a current NSW public official or an individual contracted to a NSW public authority at the time you report your concerns, you may be entitled to the protections available under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994.
Who has a duty to report matters to the ICAC?
Section 11 of the ICAC Act provides that all principal officers of NSW public sector authorities have a duty to report all matters they suspect on reasonable grounds concern corrupt conduct. This includes general managers of local councils, secretaries and chief executives of government departments, as well as any officer who constitutes a public authority. Others with a duty to report such matters include the NSW Ombudsman, the Police Commissioner and ministers of the Crown.
For any questions about this reporting duty, contact the ICAC on 02 8281 5999.
Will I be given a copy of the information other people involved in the complaint or report give to the ICAC?
No. We can provide you with copies of any material you have sent to us but we do not release information provided by others.
Will I need a lawyer?
No, you do not need legal representation to report suspected corrupt conduct to the ICAC.
Will it cost me anything to lodge a complaint?
No, there is no charge for the ICAC to receive your information.
Will the ICAC disclose the information I provide to others?
The primary concern of the ICAC is what is in the public interest. If the ICAC decides that the information should be provided to another agency, then it will be passed on. Please notify the ICAC if you do not want your details disclosed as the source of the information. While the ICAC will consider your wishes, anonymity cannot be guaranteed.