– Statement by City of Ballarat CEO Justine Linley
As CEO of the City of Ballarat I have accepted, implemented, and will report on the recommendations of the IBAC “Special report on corruption risks associated with procurement in local government” tabled in State Parliament today.
Since 2016, the City of Ballarat has worked on a detailed reform agenda and continuous improvement in relation to procurement, fraud and risk identification and prevention, conflict of interest and officer conduct.
We have already considerably strengthened our procurement policies, systems and practices to address the majority of the vulnerabilities identified in the report.
IBAC is now looking at implementing some of the technology solutions Council has introduced, including a computer system that greatly improves the identification of abnormal transactions within the organisation, as best practice in local government.
However, since I began my tenure as CEO I have always accepted there is room for further improvement and, together with my Executive Leadership team, committed to a rolling program of reform over and above the annual review requirements.
This reform extended to re-setting the organisation’s culture, to greater internal communication and staff training, to ensuring that all staff are not only aware of but understand their responsibilities as public servants.
Often staff can be concerned about repercussions from calling out or questioning activity or behaviours that they feel, believe or suspect may not be right.
There are significant protections provided for people who do the right thing and report their concerns.
The City of Ballarat has a Protected Disclosure policy and procedure, a Coordinator and a number of trained officers able to receive a Protected Disclosure.
However, all staff have been reminded today that if they don’t feel comfortable reporting to the organisation, it is possible to make contact with any or all of the integrity bodies to lodge or report a concern.
IBAC itself provides the best summary about reporting corruption and the City of Ballarat is committed to this approach.