Further to the priorities identified in section 3, and subject to any further delays caused
by COVID-19, any remaining resources will be directed towards the delivery of one or more of the integrity activities outlined below. The VI will continue to take a risk based approach, noting that more urgent activity may arise from an issue identified during the 2021–22 financial year.
As set out in the VI’s Operations Model, the VI may respond to issues with a spectrum of appropriate activities such as stakeholder engagement, education programs and/or the provision of integrity resources such as published practice or guidance notes or reference materials. The VI recognises that a fundamental part of effective oversight is education and communication which are also preventative strategies.
Developing an education strategy as a key tool in supporting compliance recognises
the recommendations from the report tabled in November 2017 by the former Accountability and Oversight Committee of the Parliament – Inquiry into Education, Training and Communications Initiatives of Victorian Oversight Agencies. The VI also notes the Integrity and Oversight Committee’s current Inquiry into the Education and Prevention Functions of Victoria’s Integrity Agencies.
In 2021-22, the VI plans to publish guidance notes on the following issues:
- an issue relating to the adverse comments process during the drafting of investigation reports
- access by lawyers to notes taken during coercive examinations.
Publication will be preceded by consultation with relevant bodies within the integrity system.
As at June 2021, the VI has identified four monitoring projects across four integrity bodies that could lead to improvements to the integrity system:
- A targeted project arising from multiple complaints about an integrity body’s handling of complaints referred to another body for investigation.
- A project focussed on two integrity bodies’ compliance with particular statutory requirements, as well as their policies and procedures.
- A targeted project arising from notifications about an integrity body’s processes for exercising coercive powers.
- A targeted project arising from multiple complaints about search and seizure activities.
Multi-body integrity program
Coercive power notifications are an important source of information for monitoring how each integrity body exercises their coercive powers. The VI receives around 1000 notifications each year.
To enable integrity bodies to learn from issues identified about other bodies, the VI proposes to produce a multi-body report on findings and learnings across integrity bodies relating to a particular coercive power, such as a confidentiality notice. Without identifying the source of the finding, the VI could provide integrity bodies with a report that would provide a preventative benefit across the integrity system.