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OmbudsmanNT Investigation Report Matters arising from allegations of inappropriate conduct by a former Commissioner of Police and another police officer May 2015



OmbudsmanNT Investigation Report Matters arising from allegations of inappropriate conduct by a former Commissioner of Police and another police officer May 2015

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Tabled paper 1378


Tabled Papers for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Adam Giles


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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22 132. The Premier and a relevant minister or chief executive can seek advice on issues relating to a designated person for whom they have responsibility (sections 16, 17, 20). 133. The number of requests for advice relating to designated persons received in Queensland over the past five years has ranged from 41 up to a high of 687. One would imagine a Commissioner operating in the Northern Territory would receive substantially fewer requests given the comparative size of the two jurisdictions, so a sessional or part-time appointment would seem realistic. 134. An office of this kind might provide useful advice on ethics and integrity issues to senior public officials in the Territory. 135. It might also act as a circuit breaker in cases where concerns are raised about a potential issue or proposed course of action by a public official. The official could, either on their own initiative or following prompting by a colleague, refer the issue to the Integrity Commissioner for advice, which would hopefully resolve the issue. Other options An integrity committee 136. An alternative to the Integrity Commissioner model would be to have the same referral and advice function performed by a panel of, say three, senior public officers or former officers who have the experience and standing in the public sector to be able to give sound and respected advice. 137. The first step would be to identify a group of suitably qualified advisors from whom a panel could be drawn. Having a larger group to choose from would be important in order to avoid situations where a panel member is a close friend of the person seeking advice or there is another potential conflict of interest. 138. The group of potential panel members might, for example, include the Commissioner for Public Employment, the Chief Executive of the Department of the Chief Minister and other senior and respected chief executives. 139. Independent integrity officers such as the Auditor-General, Commissioner for Public Interest Disclosures or Ombudsman would have the background and experience for inclusion on such a panel. However, the potential for concerns I have expressed about the dual role of advisor/investigator in paragraphs 125-126, would have to be carefully considered before including one of those officers on a particular panel. 140. To the extent that such a panel comprised current chief executives from within Government, its utility would be open to challenge because of the potential for public perception that a panel was susceptible to peer and political pressures. And, as noted above, an integrity advisor of any description must not be seen as an alternative to a robust reporting and investigation regime. ---------------------------------------------------------------- 7 Queensland Integrity Commissioner, Annual Report 2013-14, p.20. Recommendation 4 The NT Government consider the need for, and benefits of, alternative options for reporting, investigating and seeking advice on integrity issues.

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