Public sector conflicts of interest: New ICAC guidelines released

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which this week began hearings in Operation Eclipse - an investigation in the regulation of lobbying, access and influence in NSW – has recently published new guidelines specifically on the topic of conflicts of interest in the public sector.

The Guidelines, titled ‘Managing Conflicts of Interest in the NSW Public Sector’, adopt a more succinct and flexible approach to managing conflicts of interest compared to that of its predecessor ‘Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector Toolkit’ which was a joint publication prepared by ICAC and the Crime and Misconduct Commission in Queensland in 2004.

In particular, the new ICAC Guidelines offer guidance to public officials in NSW by:

  • providing a clear definition and test to assist in the identification of a conflict of interest
  • recommending an easy-to-find conflict of interest policy with clear requirements for all relevant groups of people and other entities
  • suggesting risk-based management by locating vulnerable units and branches
  • advising the avoidance of unnecessary conflicts of interest in their private capacities
  • encouraging disclosure and registration of personal interests
  • urging regular and proactive review and monitoring of the conflicts of interest
  • outlining procedures for investigation of alleged breaches and complaints of conflicts of interest.

In the media

How councils are future-proofing themselves against shrinking regional media Locals and journalists are the two main casualties that come up in conversations around regional media closures, but what about the councils which rely on local titles to get their messages out into the community (01 August 2019). More...

Have your say on the response to data breaches The Department of Communities and Justice is inviting feedback on how NSW public sector agencies respond to privacy breaches and manage personal information. In NSW, the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) governs how public sector agencies manage personal information (25 July 2019). More...

In practice and courts

Consultation paper: Mandatory Notification of Data Breaches by NSW Public Sector Agencies The paper aims at seeking feedback on: whether NSW public sector agencies should be required to notify the NSW Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals if a breach of privacy occurs; and how the key elements of a mandatory notification scheme should operate (if implemented in NSW). The discussion paper is available here Submissions close on 23 August 2019. More...

NSW Justice: New Guided Pathways to help solve everyday legal issues Navigating legal information about recovering money and resolving fencing disputes has become easier with the release of new Guided Pathways on the LawAccess NSW website. Expansion of Guided Pathways is one of the initiatives under the Civil Justice Action Plan released in late 2018. The Plan contains a suite of reforms designed to address key issues experienced by people with civil legal problems. To view the full range of Guided Pathways, visit the LawAccess NSW website (26 July 2019). More...

ICAC public inquiry into lobbying starts Monday The ICAC's public inquiry into the regulation of lobbying, access and influence in NSW (Operation Eclipse) will start next Monday, 5 August 2019 (02 August 2019). More...

ICAC: Public inquiry into allegations concerning political donations The NSW ICAC will hold a public inquiry starting Monday 26 August 2019 as part of an investigation it is conducting into allegations concerning political donations, the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), members of Chinese Friends of Labor and others (31 July 2019). More...

ICAC: Operation Ember public inquiry continues Thursday 1 August 2019 The NSW ICAC Operation Ember public inquiry will continue on 1 August 2019. The inquiry was scheduled to sit on Friday 2 August, and then next week on 8 and 9 August (30 July 2019). More...

Adoption of mandatory data breach notification The Department of Communities and Justice is seeking feedback on whether a mandatory reporting scheme for data breaches should be adopted under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. Submissions close on 23 August 2019. More...

NSW LRC: Open Justice Review - Court and tribunal information: access, disclosure and publication The Attorney General has asked us to review the operation of suppression and non-publication orders and access to information in NSW courts and tribunals. More...

Published - articles, papers, reports

Data is a development issue Susan Ariel Aaronson; Centre for International Governance Innovation: 24 July 2019 This paper uses a wide range of metrics to show that most developing and middle-income countries are not ready or able to provide an environment where their citizens’ personal data is protected and where public data is open and readily accessible. More...

Evidence-based policing: a survey of police attitudes Adrian Cherney, et al: Australian Institute of Criminology: 23 July 2019 Evidence-based policing (EBP) advocates the use of scientific processes in police decision-making. This paper examines results from a survey of officers in the Queensland Police Service and the Western Australia Police on the uptake of and receptiveness towards EBP research. More...


Lemon v Department of Planning and Environment [2019] NSWCATAD 148 ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – Government Information (Public Access) – application for review by person aggrieved by decision to refuse to release information – public interest considerations

Johnston v TAFE NSW [2019] NSWCATAD 152 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – freedom of information – access to information – legal professional privilege – whether respondent holds further information – access charges – whether information personal information

DKV v Southern NSW Local Health District [2019] NSWCATAP 189 Administrative Law – NCAT internal appeal – Health Privacy Principles – scope of review by NCAT

Sydney AC Pty Ltd v Commissioner for Fair Trading, Department of Finance, Services and Innovation [2019] NSWCATOD 116 ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – Home building – Where respondent decided not to grant application for renewal of applicant’s contractor licence – Where applicant was subject to Tribunal order which had not been satisfied within required period – Where applicant had not complied with order after that period – Meaning of “satisfied”

Dubow v Mid-Western Regional Council [2019] NSWCATAD 142 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW — Particular administrative bodies — NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal – administrative review jurisdiction – no jurisdiction to administrative review abatement under s125 of the Local Government Act 1993 – no jurisdiction to administratively review impounding of stock under s 116(3) of the Local Land Services Act 2013

Commissioner of Victims Rights v Dobbie [2019] NSWCA 183 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – judicial review – victim’s compensation claim – primary victim of domestic violence – claim for “severely disabling” psychological disorder – challenge to rejection by delegate – whether the delegate attributed incorrect meaning to “severely disabling” ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – judicial review – expert psychologists designated by Director – assessment of disability by designated expert – whether delegate obliged to follow expert’s assessment absent countervailing evidence – whether delegate’s rejection of assessment manifestly unreasonable APPEAL – leave to appeal – precondition of grant – small amount at stake in individual case – relevance to large number of claims – whether matter of principle or public interest – error identified without setting aside judgment below


Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments

Subordinate Legislation (Postponement of Repeal) Order 2019

(2019-366) — published LW 2 August 2019

Bills introduced - Government

Fines Amendment Bill 2019