Fraud and corrupt conduct prevention

The Queensland Ombudsman is committed to a zero tolerance of fraud and corrupt conduct in the workplace.  This policy applies to all permanent, temporary and casual employees, contractors, consultants and suppliers to the Office.

Staff, consultants and suppliers are encouraged to report suspected fraud or corrupt conduct to the Deputy Ombudsman or the Director, Corporate Services Unit (who is the Office’s Fraud and Corruption Control Officer); or alternatively, contact the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Reports of fraud and corrupt conduct may also be Public Interest Disclosures.  The Office’s Public Interest Disclosure procedure is available here.

Policy Title: Fraud and corrupt conduct prevention
Records file no.: 
FMPM document no.: 2.1
Date of implementation: 31 January 2018
Date to be reviewed: 31 January 2021

Authority:

Crime and Corruption Act 2001
Criminal Code Act 1899
Integrity Act 2009
Financial Accountability Act 2009
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010
Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
Public Service Act 2008
Right to Information Act 2009

Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009

Policy statement:

It is the Office of the Queensland Ombudsman’s (the Office) policy to prevent and control fraud and corrupt conduct against or within the Office, thereby contributing to the maintenance of the Office’s integrity and reputation.

The Queensland Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Management Group (OMG) are committed to a zero tolerance of fraud and corrupt conduct in the workplace. The strategies and activities outlined in the Fraud Prevention Plan, the Risk Management Plan and Internal Control Program are designed to effectively deter, investigate and control fraud and corrupt conduct.

This policy applies to all permanent, temporary and casual employees, contractors, consultants and suppliers to the Office.

Principles:

The Financial Accountability Act 2009 s.61 places a requirement on the Office to establish and maintain appropriate systems of internal control and risk management. The Office has adopted the requirements of the Fraud and Corruption Control: Guidelines for Best Practice, Crime and Misconduct Commission, 2005 and relevant features of the revised Australian Standard Fraud and Corruption Control AS 8001-2008.

The term ‘fraud and corrupt conduct’ covers both the prospect of loss or improper gain or benefit, both financial and non-financial. Fraud and corrupt conduct can harm the Office’s credibility, the public’s confidence in the service the Office provides, and its relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Fraud is defined as dishonest activity causing actual or potential loss to any person or entity including theft of moneys or other property by employees or persons external to the entity and where deception is used at the time, immediately before or immediately following the activity. This also includes the deliberate falsification, concealment, destruction or use of falsified documentation used or intended for use for a normal purpose or the improper use of information or position for personal benefit.

(Adapted from the Australian Standard AS 8801-2008, Fraud and Corruption Control)


Corrupt conduct means conduct of a person, regardless of whether the person holds or held an appointment, that -
(a) adversely affects, or could adversely affect, directly or indirectly, the performance of functions or the exercise of powers of -

(i) a unit of public administration; or
(ii) a person holding an appointment; and

(b) results, or could result, directly or indirectly, in the performance of functions or the exercise of powers mentioned in paragraph (a) in a way that -

(i) is not honest or is not impartial; or
(ii) involves a breach of the trust placed in a person holding an appointment, either knowingly or
recklessly; or
(iii) involves a misuse of information or material acquired in or in connection with the performance of functions or the exercise of powers of a person holding an appointment; and

(c) is engaged in for the purpose of providing a benefit to the person or another person or causing a detriment to another person; and

(d) would, if proved, be -

(i) a criminal offence; or
(ii) a disciplinary breach providing reasonable grounds for terminating the person’s services, if the person is or were the holder of an appointment.

Without limiting the above definition conduct that involves any of the following could be considered corrupt conduct -

  • abuse of public office;
  • bribery, including bribery relating to an election;
  • extortion;
  • obtaining or offering a secret commission;
  • fraud;
  • stealing;
  • forgery;
  • perverting the course of justice;
  • an offence relating to an electoral donation;
  • loss of revenue of the State;
  • sedition;
  • homicide, serious assault or assault occasioning bodily harm or grievous bodily harm;
  • obtaining a financial benefit from procuring prostitution or from unlawful prostitution engaged in by another person;
  • illegal drug trafficking;
  • illegal gambling.

An attempt to engage in conduct is not excluded from being corrupt conduct if, had the attempt been brought to fruition by the taking of a further step, the further step could constitute or involve:

  • an offence or
  • is serious enough to justify dismissal.


Anyone who tries to corrupt a public sector officer can also be guilty of corrupt conduct if the matter involves a criminal offence.

(Adapted from the Crime and Misconduct Act 200)

The Office recognises that prevention, identification and control are integral components of good governance and risk management to eliminate or minimise any opportunities for employees or other stakeholders to be involved in fraud, official misconduct, and corruption. The Office is committed to:

  • taking a risk management based approach to the prevention, identification and management of fraud and corrupt conduct
  • reducing or removing the potential for fraud and corrupt conduct on the part of its employees, contractors, consultants, clients and supplier
  • implementing a robust internal control program
  • investigating and/or reporting all instances of suspected fraud and corrupt conduct
  • disciplining or facilitating the prosecution of those responsible for incidents of substantiated fraud and corrupt conduct as appropriate
  • taking recovery action for misappropriated amounts.

For effective control of fraud and corrupt conduct, staff at all levels are encouraged to report any and all potential occurrences. Staff will be supported during and post reporting by the Office, and reprisals aimed at discouraging action will meet with disciplinary proceedings under the Office’s code of conduct.

Links

Related legislation or standards:

Crime and Corruption Act 2001
Criminal Code Act 1899
Integrity Act 2009
Financial Accountability Act 2009
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010
Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
Public Service Act 2008
Right to Information Act 2009

Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009
AS ISO 19600.2015
AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009
AS 8000-2003/Amended-2004 Good governance principles
AS 8801-2008 Fraud and Corruption Control
AS 8002 Organisational codes of conduct


Related Government guidelines:
A Guide to Risk Management, Queensland Treasury 2011
Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service, Public Service Commission 2011
Facing the Facts, Crime and Misconduct Commission 2007
Financial Management Tools, Queensland Treasury 2016
Fraud and Corruption Control: Guidelines for Best Practice, Crime and Misconduct Commission, 2005
Guidelines for the Development of Agency Codes of Conduct under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994, Queensland Public Sector Management Commission, 1995
Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Sector: Guidelines and Toolkit, Crime and Misconduct Commission, 2004

Related Office policy:
Code of Conduct
Discipline Policy
Managing employee complaints policy and procedure
Privacy Plan
Public Interest Disclosure (PID) plan and procedures
Risk Management (Policy)

Forms: Nil
Rescinded policies: Nil

Approval

Original authorised by:
Phil Clarke, Queensland Ombudsman
 29 January 2018

Approved for publication:
Leanne Robertson, Director, Corporate Services
26 June 2018

Last updated: Friday, 29 June 2018 12:02:44 PM