Following the Council meeting on Tuesday 12th November Councillors will be meeting with ICAC officers. The nature of the meeting is unknown and such visits are not uncommon as ICAC officers often visit regional areas to advise and guide Council in their role as public authorities, especially around the recent changes to the rules pertaining to gifts. One of the many foci, in the role of ICAC, is their continual pursuit of undetected and unchecked corruption (including 'gifts') in the public sector that can cause serious damage including:
undermining public trust in government
wasting public resources and money
causing injustice through advantaging some at the expense of others
inefficiencies in operations
reputational damage which makes it difficult to recruit and retain quality staff or obtain best value in tender processes. It may also be more difficult to attract business investment, adversely affecting prosperity. All of the above are just some of the many key elements that Local Government councillors need to be aware of in the performance of their role of representing the community. The ICAC visit to Eurobodalla and their continued guidance plays a vital role in overseeing the compliance of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 that describes, in part,
8 General nature of corrupt conduct
(1) Corrupt conduct is:
(a) any conduct of any person (whether or not a public official) that adversely affects, or that could adversely affect, either directly or indirectly, the honest or impartial exercise of official functions by any public official, any group or body of public officials or any public authority, or
(b) any conduct of a public official that constitutes or involves the dishonest or partial exercise of any of his or her official functions, or
(c) any conduct of a public official or former public official that constitutes or involves a breach of public trust, or
(d) any conduct of a public official or former public official that involves the misuse of information or material that he or she has acquired in the course of his or her official functions, whether or not for his or her benefit or for the benefit of any other person.
(2) Corrupt conduct is also any conduct of any person (whether or not a public official) that adversely affects, or that could adversely affect, either directly or indirectly, the exercise of official functions by any public official, any group or body of public officials or any public authority The meeting, scheduled for 2:30pm, should be well attended by Councillors who will be keen to learn more of the new regulations.