ICAC Investigations

ICAC Investigations

We are authorised by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2017 to investigate public bodies and public officers. This includes private individuals and organisations that are in receipt of government funds, such as those who provide a service on behalf of the NT Government, those who have a procurement contract with NT Government, or those who are recipients of grant funding.

More information on what a public body is, and who is and is not a public officer can be found here.

We are able to investigate anything that may be reported to us. More information on what you can report to the Office of the ICAC can be found here, noting that we must prioritise investigating the most serious and systemic improper conduct.


Strict protections are in place for those who report improper conduct if it is considered a protected communication. More information on protected communications (formerly known as whistleblower protections) can be found here.

Only a small number of reports may be investigated

The Office of the ICAC is required by law to prioritise investigations into the most serious and systemic improper conduct. There are a number of options available when an allegation of improper conduct is received by the office.

Reports may not be investigated because they:

  • do not involve improper conduct
  • are outside the scope of who we investigate
  • lack substance or credibility, or were frivolous or vexatious
  • have been dealt with by the ICAC or another agency.
We may first conduct preliminary inquiries

To help us decide whether to investigate, we can ask you to produce information and documents, or other items as part of a preliminary inquiry.

We may conduct an audit or review

We may, at any time, audit or review the practices, policies or procedures of a public body or public officer to identify whether improper conduct has occurred, is occurring or is at risk of occurring. The only exemption is that we cannot audit or review the practices, policies and procedures of a court or judicial officer in relation to the performance of judicial functions.

For an audit or review, we may exercise all of our investigative powers.

If we conduct an audit or review, we must provide a report in relation to the results to a person with responsibility for the public body or public officer that is the subject of the audit or review. However, we are not required to include any information in the report that may prejudice a current or future matter.

The Office of the ICAC can investigate without receiving a report

These are called ‘own motion’ investigations and are initiated by the Commissioner. We do not need to receive a report to investigate a matter.

We may refer your matter to another agency to investigate

As we must prioritise the most serious and systemic improper conduct, we may refer your matter to another agency to investigate if it does not fall within our jurisdiction or whether it is more appropriately dealt with by another organisation. The referral may be directed to any agency deemed by the Commissioner to be appropriate. This includes:

  • NT Government agencies;
  • law enforcement agencies;
  • agencies of other jurisdictions that have similar functions (eg an interstate ICAC-equivalent); or
  • an entity that regulates or has oversight of a profession, trade, occupation or group or a type of organisation such as incorporated and unincorporated corporations.

We may refer your matter to more than one agency, or different parts of the same matter to different agencies. We may choose to consult with an agency in deciding whether or not to make a referral.

In referring a matter to another organisation for investigation, the ICAC has discretion in respect of what information is included in that referral. The ICAC is under no obligation to disclose the original source of information.

The referral may also include directions as to how the matter is to be dealt with, and the reporting requirements of that agency back that to the office of the ICAC.

We cannot give directions to independent entities such as the Ombudsman, other than the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. However, we may require them to report back on actions taken arising from  the referral and the outcome of those actions. Those receiving referrals are not obliged to comply with directions if they are incompatible with its functions.

Joint investigations

In specified circumstances, and by agreement, we may conduct joint investigations with another agency.

Involved in an investigation?

Find out what you need to know here.