Is monitoring implementation the key to preventing repeated workplace corruption?

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Ray Plibersek
Alexandria Mills


Survey results published in 2009 by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of New South Wales reported that most public sector organisations in its jurisdiction have established integrity policies and procedures – or ‘organisational integrity systems’ (ICAC 2009). Despite this, many of the public inquiries conducted by the ICAC that find corrupt conduct often also find a failure to implement or enforce existing anti-corruption mechanisms in agencies. More recently an ICAC inquiry reported that similar patterns of repeated corrupt conduct had been pervasive in one government agency since the early 1990s despite being prohibited by organisational policy (ICAC 2008). These findings are also consistent with the anecdotal experience of integrity practitioners that public sector agencies are experiencing repeated workplace corruption despite the presence of apparently adequate organisational integrity systems. When workplace corruption is exposed, it may be professionally investigated and reforms to address the problems proposed and attempted, yet the same or similar workplace corruption reoccurs. As Barber suggests, ensuring successful delivery requires a “long grind” of “steady, persistent implementation” and “gentle pressure, relentlessly applied” (Barber 2008:112 and 119).

This paper examines cases of low-level non-compliance in a municipal waste collection services and a state owned railway to identify some of the factors that could be contributing to reoccurring workplace corruption. The analysis suggests that a major factor in repeated workplace corruption is the failure to monitor and implement reforms recommended by investigations and existing organisational integrity systems.

Article Details

How to Cite
Plibersek, R., & Mills, A. (1). Is monitoring implementation the key to preventing repeated workplace corruption?. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (7), 153-167.
Author Biography

Ray Plibersek, Sutherland Shire Council

Research Officer