An investigation has found gaps in how the ACT Integrity Commission assessed and dismissed corruption reports and, in some cases, did not follow its own procedures.
The inspector of the ACT integrity commission found instances where the commission did not demonstrate the basis for dismissing corruption reports.
The report said there were instances where the grounds relied upon to dismiss reports may not have been appropriate for the dismissal.
The review also found the commission kept insufficient records around the reasons it had dismissed complaints.
Integrity commissioner Michael Adams KC has accepted all seven recommendations put forward by the inspector but said he was satisfied all reports had received appropriate consideration.
The inspector, Iain Anderson, delivered the findings in a special report investigating the dismissals.
This review was prompted following a complaint from a former staff member in the Integrity Commission who alleged reports had not been properly assessed and was concerned about the commission's governance and procedures.
The former staff member said they had raised concerns with the commission about this but "they did not observe action by the commission to address their concern".
Mr Anderson reviewed several dismissed complaints in his report.
One complaint was about fire alarms in a high-rise complex that were malfunctioning on a regular basis but there had been no enforcement action undertaken by ACT Fire and Rescue, the fire marshal or building inspectors.
This report was dismissed as the commission was unable to determine if the fire marshal or the building inspector met the definition of a public official under the Integrity Commission Act.
The assessment officer recommended the complaint be dropped for "ease of administration" as a "lack of contact detail" made the report "impracticable to be referred or investigated".
But the inspector recommended this report be reassessed
"It is not clear what was meant by 'for ease of administration' as stated in the assessment officer's recommendation to the assessment panel," Mr Anderson said.
"Further, I consider there was no evidence before me outlining why the information was insufficient to be investigated, noting the act permits reports to be made anonymously."
In another instance, the commission received a complaint about an alleged "intimate relationship between a senior ACT public servant and a private entity that resulted in the public sector entity not carrying out its functions in respect of the private entity".
The commission dismissed the report on the basis the subject matter of the complaint was unrelated to the functions of the commission. But the review found there were no recorded reasons about the decision to dismiss the complaint. The inspector also recommended this complaint be re-assessed.
"There was no evidence before me to assess what informed the commissioner's decision that the corruption report was unrelated to the functions of the commission," Mr Anderson said.
"The decision record signed by the commissioner makes it evident the allegations were directed towards a public official and a public entity."
It is the first time the inspector has conducted a special report into the commission. Mr Anderson, who is also the ACT Ombudsman, said he was able to write a special report if he considered the report needed to be brought to the attention of the Legislative Assembly ahead of the regular reporting period.
Integrity Commission response
Mr Adams provided a response to the inspector, which was included in the report. The Integrity Commission accepted all recommendations but the commissioner pointed to a series of challenges faced by the commission. He said he was satisfied all complaints had been appropriately considered.
"The commission acknowledges that it faced difficulties with the operation of the assessment function, including during the 2021-22 financial year, the period on which the findings of this report are based," Mr Adams said.
"These difficulties included insufficient resourcing to handle the volume of corruption reports received during the period of COVID lockdowns and immaturity in the commission's policies and practices related to the assessment of corruption reports.
"Notwithstanding these difficulties, I am satisfied that every corruption report received appropriate consideration and appropriate decisions made to either dismiss, refer or investigate a corruption report or conduct a preliminary inquiry."