Tasmanian Integrity Commission delivers report on state service misconduct

The state’s Integrity Commission has advised the government to close a legislative loophole which prevents investigation of a state service employee once they resign.

Premier Will Hodgman

Premier Will Hodgman

The recommendation follows a two-year investigation by the anti-corruption watchdog into management of misconduct in state and local governments.

The subsequent report also recommends that records be kept for up to seven years of investigations into misconduct, whether they were substantiated or not, and a confidential register be kept across the public sector to address misconduct-related patterns of an individual.

Integrity Commission chief executive Richard Bingham said giving the public service the ability to make disciplinary findings about an employee after they resigned would bring Tasmania in line with other states.

The study of 12 organisations found there was insufficient record-keeping which lacked clarity about why matters were investigated.

Documents also exposed problems in the way matters were handled, including not having matters referred to people outside the organisation, like for alleged assault and theft cases.

“At times, this involved going straight to the respondent with a potentially criminal allegation,” the report said.

Premier Will Hodgman said the government will look at the recommendations and good practice suggestions.

He said the government was “strongly supportive” of enabling the state service to make disciplinary findings after an employee had left.

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the recommendations were overdue given recent allegations of nepotism and other misconduct within the public service.

Opposition Leader Rebecca White said Labor in government would adopt each of the committee’s recommendations and legislate changes to the State Service Act.

“We’ve seen high profile examples recently where individuals have resigned from the public service prior to a proper investigation into allegations of misconduct.”