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Corruption in the public service

By johnboy - 4 October 2011 44

whistle

The SMH has an excellent article on the scope of corruption in the Public Service and the lack of mechanisms to properly investigate it.

RiotACT has long lamented the lack of a dedicated corruption fighting body in the ACT and it seems the less savoury types have also noticed.

The SMH is looking for more stories and we’re sure some of you have got them. Just tell them we sent you:

investigations@smh.com.au

[Photo by stevendepolo, CC BY]

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44 Responses to
Corruption in the public service
I-filed 9:39 pm 04 Oct 11

I vividly recall an APS boss years ago – highly corrupt – who had fled another agency during a major contracts scandal. Her underling was actually jailed, and she got off scot free through having avoided any paperwork (scarily clever woman). At her new agency she turned a blind eye while amateur musician colleagues purchased thousands and thousands of dollars worth of full-sound professional PA gear – supposedly to amplify the sound of a single speaker. The gear was, um, found to be too heavy to lug around the country on planes on speaking tours, hiring amplification locally was found to be cheaper (duh) and the high-end concert gear was stashed in a store-room for weekend borrowing by the musos. Eventually it quietly “disappeared”. I expect that was the plan from the beginning. Meanwhile an “old mate” was paid some 20 times the going rate for various tasks for the team as a supplier, sans tender.

Wily_Bear 9:31 pm 04 Oct 11

Jack out of the box said :

eyeLikeCarrots said :

This is a start in the right direction.

Next – can we put something in place to audit staff productivity ?

How about we audit public sector productivity just as soon as shareholdes in private sector firms gain the right to audit private sector productivity?

The presumption that all public sector workers are lasy and unproductive is utterly untrue. These people work hard to provide quality services to their communities, in line with the priorities of the government of the day (that you get to elect). Even more, consider that many public sector workers are significantly underpaid (in the order of $24,000!, see http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/ps-worth-24000-more-in-private-sector/2289777.aspx) compared to their private sector counterparts, yet they still go on. How about we shelve the “public servants are lasy” idea until there is an actual reason to doubt their productivity.

I completely agree with Jack-in-the-box. I have met a great many public servants, and not one of them was lasy.

LSWCHP 8:15 pm 04 Oct 11

Jeez, this brings back memories. It’s too late to be relevant now, but…

About 20 years ago I was contracted to a government agency. There was an entrepreneurial junior APS bloke who was running an IT business from his government desk during business hours. I knew this because posters advertising his business were stuck up on noticeboards around the place, and his company phone number was his APS phone number! I was astounded, but none of the organisations management seemed to care.

His main product was pirated software. He used departmental media to make the pirate software copies, and he used departmental photocopiers to make the pirate manuals. I well remember how once or twice a week he’d use up 6 or 7 reams of government paper late in the evening after most of the other staff had gone home. He would also regularly meet with his customers in the foyer during business hours and conduct his transactions in front of the security guards and passing staff.

As you can imagine, the guy never actually did any of the work he was being paid to do by the APS. The one thing he produced in a period of 2 years was a dismal failure.

I wonder how many similar stories there are out there.

Jack out of the box 7:36 pm 04 Oct 11

eyeLikeCarrots said :

This is a start in the right direction.

Next – can we put something in place to audit staff productivity ?

How about we audit public sector productivity just as soon as shareholdes in private sector firms gain the right to audit private sector productivity?

The presumption that all public sector workers are lasy and unproductive is utterly untrue. These people work hard to provide quality services to their communities, in line with the priorities of the government of the day (that you get to elect). Even more, consider that many public sector workers are significantly underpaid (in the order of $24,000!, see http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/ps-worth-24000-more-in-private-sector/2289777.aspx) compared to their private sector counterparts, yet they still go on. How about we shelve the “public servants are lasy” idea until there is an actual reason to doubt their productivity.

eyeLikeCarrots 4:44 pm 04 Oct 11

This is a start in the right direction.

Next – can we put something in place to audit staff productivity ?

Holden Caulfield 3:50 pm 04 Oct 11

johnboy said :

Or maybe, I don’t know, read the friggin headline: “Federal agencies lack firepower to deal with fraud”

Haha, JB taking a leaf from the GASP book of customer management.

devils_advocate 3:38 pm 04 Oct 11

BethiePrice said :

I thought there was a Government agencies that conducted exteranl audits?

Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). See also: Godwin Grech.

BethiePrice 3:30 pm 04 Oct 11

“Of about 500 internal investigations conducted within Immigration in the past two years, only six matters were referred to the federal police. In the same period, the Education Department referred two.”
and
”Internal audit may find documentation does not match up or there’s been a breach of compliance ..”
Makes you wonder who is doing the internal audit…a friend of a friend? Yep definately a problem…I thought there was a Government agencies that conducted exteranl audits?

johnboy 3:08 pm 04 Oct 11

only one story was the one linked to.

The Frots 3:02 pm 04 Oct 11

johnboy said :

Or maybe, I don’t know, read the friggin headline: “Federal agencies lack firepower to deal with fraud”

Settle down JB – there were two articles in the SMH, both on corruption and one dealing with ICAC, which very sadly and unfortunetly was the one I read and referred to. It’s headline reads ‘Systematic corruption in the Public Sector’.

My bad – sure it is. My bad reading – well, not really but there you go.

johnboy 2:56 pm 04 Oct 11

Or maybe, I don’t know, read the friggin headline: “Federal agencies lack firepower to deal with fraud”

johnboy 2:54 pm 04 Oct 11

Read the article again, or maybe learn to read.

DEEWR and Immigration are not state government departments.

The Frots 2:53 pm 04 Oct 11

johnboy said :

RTFM Frots, that’s entirely what it’s about.

The article covers state government corruption issues, not federal unfortunetly. In fact, ICAC can’t address Federal corruption as it’s a NSW State body.

johnboy 2:49 pm 04 Oct 11

RTFM Frots, that’s entirely what it’s about.

The Frots 2:45 pm 04 Oct 11

Excellent news – hopefully, really hopefully, it will also capture the Federal Public Service – there are many stories there yet to unfold!

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