Trust in government underpins effective democracy. There is a strong level of public interest in integrity issues following a series of state and national investigations and reports into integrity failings by parts of the public sector. Integrity in government was reported as one of the top three issues of most importance to the public in a pre-2022 Victorian election poll. It follows that integrity failings are a direct contributor to the erosion of trust in government, and to poor performance by the public sector.

VPSC’s role in setting, maintaining and monitoring integrity expectations and performance of the Victorian public sector is as important as it has ever been.

We are responsible for delivering a series of core legislative functions that aim to strengthen the integrity culture of the public sector. As part of this, we will review and if required reissue core guidance, including on conflicts of interest and managing and recording offers of gifts, benefits and hospitality, and address any pressing issues associated with the codes of conduct or employment standards. 

Prevention is better than cure – avoidance of integrity breaches is better for maintaining or building public trust, and it costs significantly less than responding to issues after they have occurred. Working collaboratively with our partners in integrity areas across the sector, we will draw on data and intelligence to better understand where integrity risks lie, so that we can target interventions early, and prevent integrity issues before they arise. We will develop and refine a monitoring framework to support and guide this work, so we can properly monitor the sector’s compliance with the code and employment standards, and the public sector values and principles which these are derived from.

We will advocate for reforms that will set Victoria up better to meet the community’s expectations around public sector integrity. To complement this, we will act on reports, reviews and recommendations undertaken by the Commission or other agencies across Victoria’s integrity system. We will also inform our work and advocacy by keeping abreast of research, reviews and recommendations in other Australian jurisdictions, so we ensure Victoria is ideally placed to be the apolitical, accountable and trusted public sector the community deserves. 

Strengthen the integrity culture and capability across the public sector in accordance with legislative requirements

  • Develop and maintain guidance, training and tools around core integrity policies and processes to enable public sector agencies to embed integrity into day-to-day practice.
  • Perform legislative functions including reviews of action and maintenance of the lobbyist register.
  • Support and maintain a range of key executive employment functions.

Lead work across public sector organisations and other integrity agencies to identify and prevent integrity risks

  • Collect and analyse data and intelligence to identify integrity risks, consistent with the legislative obligation to monitor compliance with the codes and standards, and the values and principles in the PAA.
  • Identify and share information about good practice in integrity, and gaps including (over time) holding public sector agencies to account for improvement.
  • Drawing on data and intelligence, work proactively with public sector organisations to target interventions at an early stage to prevent integrity risks before they arise.

Advocate for reforms to support a progressive, impartial, apolitical public sector

  • Advocate for improvements to integrity legislation and systems, including reforms to the PAA.
  • Respond to known and future recommendations arising from external integrity reviews (e.g., from IBAC, Ombudsman Victoria and VAGO).