This blog outlines the survey responses of the Victorian community about their understanding of corruption, their perceptions of corruption and misconduct, attitudes to reporting corruption and misconduct, and attitudes towards preventing corruption.
In April 2018, IBAC released the Perceptions of corruption Survey of the Victorian community report. The report focuses on the results of a research survey IBAC conducted in 2016 on perceptions of corruption in the Victorian community. The report outlines the survey responses of the Victorian community about their understanding of corruption, their perceptions of corruption and misconduct, attitudes to reporting corruption and misconduct, and attitudes towards preventing corruption. Where relevant, major differences between the results from community respondents, and other respondent groups (namely state government, local government and Victoria Police employees) are noted and the results community respondents are also compared with the findings of other research of the Victorian community’s perception of corruption conducted by IBAC in 2013 and 2015.
In late 2016, IBAC engaged research company Urbis to conduct research on perceptions of corruption. Community members were recruited, and responses were received from 1236 members of the Victorian community. This was part of a broader research project that also surveyed employees from state and local government, and Victoria Police.
The research focused on four areas:
• understanding corruption
• perceptions of corruption and misconduct
• attitudes towards reporting corruption and misconduct
• perceptions and attitudes towards integrity and preventing corruption.
• Two-thirds of the Victorian community respondents agreed they knew what behaviour constitutes corruption (65 per cent).
• In comparison, a larger proportion of Victoria Police, local government and state government respondents stated that they understand what corruption is. This is likely due to their requirement to comply with standards or codes of conduct as a part of their job.
• Two-thirds of community respondents also agreed that corruption happens in Victoria (62 per cent).
• Nine per cent of community respondents did not believe that corruption is a problem in Victoria.
• This compares with IBAC’s 2015 research, where three per cent of respondents believed corruption had no impact on Victoria.
Perceptions of corruption
Respondents were given several scenarios and required to indicate whether they believed those scenarios involved corruption.
• Financial rewards and bribes were consistently identified as corrupt conduct by most of the respondents.
• The use of confidential information to buy land that will subsequently be rezoned (and increase significantly in value) was the only other scenario identified as corrupt conduct by most respondents (67 per cent).
• When asked to identify whether a series of police-specific scenarios involved corruption or misconduct, community respondents generally distinguished between corruption and police misconduct in a similar manner to police when they were surveyed.
Attitudes to reporting and preventing corruption and misconduct
Community members were asked what would drive them to report corruption, whether they knew how to report corruption and where to report it, and their views on protection for those who report corruption.
Most of the community respondents identified eight factors that would influence them to report corruption with the largest proportion (80 per cent) stating that they would report corruption because they deserve a public sector that is free of corruption.
Overall, the results highlighted a significant need to raise awareness.
• While three-quarters of community respondents said they would report corruption if they personally observed it, less than a quarter of respondents are confident that they know how or where to report.
• In comparison, Victoria Police, state government and local government respondents were more confident that they know how to report corruption (64 per cent, 33 per cent and 41 per cent respectively).
• The most common reasons community respondents gave for not reporting was a need to have evidence to back up the allegation (45 per cent), followed by concern that a report could affect me personally (22 per cent).
• These findings are broadly consistent with IBAC’s 2015 research, where community members cited fear of personal consequences, a concern that nothing would be done or simply that they would not be believed, as reasons for not reporting corruption.
Perceptions of protections and the impacts of reporting
• Over half (56 per cent) of the community respondents agreed with the statement, I have a responsibility to prevent corruption.
• Only one in five (19 per cent) were confident they knew how to prevent corruption.
Overall, the community respondents were well informed, aware of corruption, and demonstrated an inclination to report corruption. However, with less than a quarter of community respondents agreeing that they confidently knew how or where to report corruption, it can be concluded that there is a need for more awareness about how to report corrupt behaviour.
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Resources: full report, key findings, media release
IMAGE: Used under licence from shutterstock.com
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A participant in the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath seeks to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria.
[category courtheath’s blog]
corruption, misconduct, IBAC