Type 1: A public body or public officer behaves in a way that involves one or more of the characteristics in Column A and one or more of the characteristics in Column B.
|Column A |
(degree of seriousness)
(kind of behaviour)
|Conduct that could result in the person being charged with a criminal offence.|
Conduct that could result in the person’s employment being terminated.
|Seeking / accepting a bribe or inducement|
A breach of trust
Misuse of confidential information
Type 2: A public body or public officer does something which involves:
Type 3: A public body or public officer does something which adversely affects someone’s interests in a significant and specific way and that conduct is one or more of the following:
Type 4: A person (not necessarily a public officer) does something to another person:
To see the definition of improper conduct as it appears in the legislation, click here.
We can investigate regardless of whether the improper conduct occurred in the past, is occurring at the moment, or may occur in the future. For allegations of future conduct, there must be information to suggest a public body or public officer intends to engage in improper conduct in the future.
Information about improper conduct is known as public interest information.
We can also investigate conspiracies and attempts to engage in improper conduct, provided that the alleged conduct would be a criminal offence.
The following bodies are public bodies if they are located in the Territory:
The Commissioner can also investigate a body where at least the majority of members are appointed by the Administrator or a Minister. For example, the Hospital Management Board for each hospital consists of 8 persons, 5 of whom are persons appointed by the Minister (see the Hospital Management Boards Act s 6). In the future, the Public Interest Disclosure Regulations may list additional organisations as public bodies.
The definition ‘public body’ does not include courts or boards, commissions, tribunals or other bodies established under an Act that have judicial or quasi-judicial functions in the performance of their deliberative functions. This is interpreted to mean that the administrative functions of some boards or tribunals may be subject to scrutiny under the Act but that their judicial or quasi-judicial functions will not be.
If you are unsure whether or not a specific agency or organisation falls within the definition, you should consider seeking legal advice or contacting this Office. Any such communication will remain confidential and may be made anonymously.
Click here for the statutory definition of a public body.
A public officer includes:
It is important to recognise that we are not here to help you with your personal grievances (eg. ‘I didn’t get a promotion’ or ‘The government has been slow in responding to my request’). Our role is to expose and eliminate improper conduct in the public sector, not for personal benefit, but for the good of the Territory community.
If you believe your personal grievance reveals an example of improper conduct by a public body or public officer, then we encourage you to report it to us. It may be that the improper conduct is an issue we can investigate separately to the issue of your personal grievance. However, we are unlikely to investigate the matter if the impropriety relates to a minor technical or procedural mistake.
We also operate in a way that acknowledges the Territory has a democratically elected government. As our elected representatives, the government is entitled to make decisions about what policies to pursue, and which projects should be funded. Not everyone will agree with every policy. It is not our role to investigate policy decisions that were made in a proper, legal way. Our job is to investigate decisions and actions that were taken improperly or illegally.
If we are unable to help, here is a useful list of other avenues for pursuing your issue.