Signs of financial misconduct – can you recognise them?

Western Australia’s Public Sector Commission has released information to help public officers recognise signs of financial mismanagement, including staff living above their apparent means, destroying records or becoming overly controlling of financial processes in their remit.

Sharyn O’Neill

Other red flags include playing down conflicts of interest, being overly-friendly with suppliers and regularly overspending budgets.

The list is contained in a set of resources released by Public Sector Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill this month to help public sector agencies manage public money with integrity and prevent corruption and financial misconduct.

The  Strengthening integrity in financial management toolkit also provides examples of how weaknesses in financial controls can be exploited and tips on developing a “prevention first” approach.

It contains a self-assessment checklist to help strengthen controls and eliminate integrity risks.

Ms O’Neill says many high profile corruption cases in WA and across the nation have involved public officers taking advantage of poor financial management systems.

It is every public officer’s responsibility to ensure financial management is beyond reproach.

Sharyn O’Neill

Ensuring the security of public money and maintaining the community’s trust in public authorities requires commitment from public officers at every level, she said, and good financial management controls and practices, coupled with a culture of integrity, was vital for public authorities to reduce risks.

“Integrity in our financial management systems is non-negotiable for all authorities in the government sector and we must be comprehensive in our approach to ensuring the security of public money,” Ms O’Neill said.

“The information and self-assessment checklist will support authorities reduce the risk of misconduct and corruption during procuring, contracting, general expenditure and cash handling.

“It is every public officer’s responsibility to ensure financial management is beyond reproach.”

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