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Local Government & Municipalities

Investigation of a Public Interest Disclosure

A Workplace, Conduct & Risk case study

The project

The Procedures for the Administration of The Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (2020) requires every council and joint organisation to adopt procedures for the administration of their code of conduct that incorporate the provisions of the Model Code Procedures.

The OCM Team have a thorough understanding of the issues and sensitivities that local government faces. We understand the context in which Local Councils work and are acutely aware that as in previous years, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) reported that the sector most frequently complained about was local government, which accounted for 40% of the total volume of complaints received.

OCM is a recognised Conduct Reviewer for numerous Local Councils in NSW and QLD and supported Councils through numerous Preliminary Assessments of complaints made is respect of Code of Conduct issue.

Our role

OCM was engaged by a Council to investigate a Public Interest Disclosure (PID) in respect to the conduct of a Councillor that was alleged to be in breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct.

OCM conducted the investigation in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 and the PID Policy and guidelines for that particular Council.

OCM worked closely with the Council’s Complaints Coordinator in respect to the investigation which required the review of a large quantity of Council documents and interviews with PID witnesses to establish the full extent of the allegations.

As a part of this investigation, OCM worked closely with Council’s Code of Conduct Review Coordinator and took the following steps:

  • Interviewed the complainant
  • Reviewed Council’s relevant policies and procedures and had regard to the procedural obligation identified under the Administration Procedure.
  • Interviewed witnesses, including three Councillors
  • Worked with Council to draft correspondence which contained allegations to put to the affected Councillor
  • Interviewed the affected Councillor
  • Prepared an Investigation Report that contained findings and recommendations.

The investigation found that one of the allegations was substantiated and constituted a breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct in respect to failing to appropriately declare a conflict of interest. OCM recommended that the Council consider counselling and providing further training for the Counsellor in this area.

For other Workplace, Conduct & Risk case studies see Critical Incident Investigation, Parramatta Square Redevelopment, Investigation into alleged corrupt conduct, Department of Justice Taskforce; A Data Breach Investigation
; Investigation of a Public Interest Disclosure.

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