The duty to report suspected corrupt conduct

Under section 11 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 ("the ICAC Act"), a principal officer of a NSW public authority has a duty to report to the ICAC any matter where there is a reasonable suspicion that corrupt conduct has occurred or may occur.

A NSW Government minister is required to report suspected corrupt conduct to either the ICAC or to the head of an agency for which he or she is responsible.

A principal officer is the person who heads the public authority, its most senior officer or the person who usually presides at meetings. This is most commonly the chief executive officer or secretary of a state authority, or the general manager of a local council.

Reasonable grounds for suspicion means there is a real possibility that corrupt conduct is, or may be, involved. No proof is required. If, as a principal officer, you are uncertain about whether or not to report a matter under section 11, please contact the ICAC's Manager Assessments on 02 8281 5999. In general, the ICAC encourages principal officers to err on the side of caution and report the matter.

The ICAC Act contains no provision permitting delay in reporting. To delay can result in the loss of investigative opportunities for the ICAC. The duty to report overrides any duty of confidentiality. As it is a statutory duty, a principal officer is protected in making such a report from any civil or criminal liability.

All reports and complaints regarding suspected corrupt conduct are considered by a panel of senior ICAC officers, who make decisions about what action the Commission will take.

Reporting a matter to the ICAC under section 11 does not affect any obligations to report the matter to bodies such as the NSW Police Force, Auditor-General or NSW Ombudsman or to be prepared to carry out any warranted disciplinary action.

Once a section 11 report has been submitted, you should generally wait until you have received the ICAC's decision prior to taking any further steps. This is because, if the ICAC decides to take action, any steps taken by the reporting agency may hamper the ICAC's progress. If you would like to take certain steps, but are yet to hear from the ICAC, please contact the Manager Assessments on 8281 5999 to discuss the status of your reported matter and whether those proposed steps can be taken.

Section 11 checklist

Section 11 reports can be submitted to the ICAC using the electronic form or as a hard copy report.  

Please ensure a section 11 report includes:

  • a complete description of the allegations
  • the full name, date of birth and position of any public official/s alleged to be involved 
  • the name of the person/s who made the allegation/s 
  • the name and role of anyone relevant to the matter 
  • the date and/or timeframe in which the alleged corrupt conduct occurred 
  • an indication as to whether the conduct appears to be a one-off event or part of a wider pattern or scheme
  • the date the allegation was made and/or the date you became aware of it 
  • how your agency became aware of the matter
  • what your agency has done about the suspected conduct (bearing in mind the ICAC requests that it is preferable to wait until you have received its decision before taking further steps)
  • details of any other agency you have notified about the issue, for example, the NSW Police Force or the NSW Ombudsman
  • what action you propose to take and why 
  • the approximate amount of money or value of resources involved, if any 
  • any other indicators of seriousness
  • if the allegation arose from information provided by an employee or independent contractor, whether your agency is treating the matter as a public interest disclosure 
  • any other information you consider of relevance 
  • the name and contact details of the appropriate contact officer 
  • any documents that are relevant to the matter.

If you would like to discuss whether a matter should be reported to the ICAC, or if you have any questions about your reporting obligations, please contact the Manager Assessments on (02) 8281 5999.

Links to the ICAC's section 11 report guidelines for both principal officers and ministers, and a tip sheet for principal officers, can be found below.

Section 11 - report guidelines for principal officers: reporting corrupt conduct to the ICAC (309 KB)

Section 11 - tip sheet for principal officers (234 KB)

Section 11 - reporting guidelines for ministers: reporting corrupt conduct to the ICAC (301 KB)


Complete and submit section 11 report electronically


Complete and submit section 11 report hard copy