Two main factors affected ACLEI's capacity to deliver outcomes during the year—namely, the increasing complexity of ACLEI's investigations workload and challenges in recruitment.
Increasing complexity of workload
As ACLEI's investigative capacity continues to mature and gain from the benefit of experience, deeper levels of corruption within LEIC Act agencies are being uncovered. A number of these investigations show connections with organised criminal entities. Additionally, ACLEI is seeing an increase in the number of public officials being influenced by non-financial motivators—such as through relationship grooming, social connections or familial relationships—which are often characterised by high levels of secrecy and concealment.
Corruption investigations require the deployment of specialist resources and a great degree of coordination across ACLEI's investigative, intelligence, legal and corruption prevention areas, as well as additional resources often provided by State police and the AFP. Further, with the introduction of DIBP into ACLEI's jurisdiction in July 2015, an increasing number of ACLEI's investigations involve an international element, requiring a higher degree of coordination with international partners.
Overall, ACLEI's investigations are increasing in complexity, requiring an increase in covert capabilities deployed (such as telecommunication interception, surveillance devices and assumed identities) as well as the use of the Integrity Commissioner's statutory coercive powers. This high level of activity needs to be carefully managed and prioritised with a constant eye on ACLEI's strategic and legislative focus on serious and systemic corruption.
Recruitment and retention
ACLEI's focus has been to recruit very high quality staff members who will not only make a strategic difference to achieving outcomes, but provide a balance of skills within the small teams that comprise ACLEI. With the increasing complexity of investigations, there has been a greater need to recruit staff with specialist skills and considerable law enforcement experience. Additionally, all ACLEI staff members are required to obtain a high-level security clearance through AGSVA. This approach to recruitment—which aims to ensure that ACLEI employs a highly capable workforce—has led to some delays in recruitment.
Some recruitment and retention risk in the year is attributable to the temporary accommodation arrangements for ACLEI staff in Sydney. Uncertainty about the future of the office, as well as concerns around existing accommodation, affected the choices of some staff. ACLEI took the strategic decision in the year to appoint people to ongoing positions, where appropriate, to help mitigate this risk. Drawing lessons from the productivity improvements experienced when Canberra staff moved to purpose-built accommodation, resolving the long-term accommodation arrangements in Sydney are a management priority for 2017–18.