The Inspector's functions and powers as set out in Part 6 of the Police Integrity Commission Act 1996 (the PIC Act).
Key sections of the Police Integrity Commission Act 1996
- Section 56 sets out secrecy and confidentiality provisions under the Act which apply to the Inspector’s staff. The effect of this section is to require the Inspector’s staff not to disclose information to anyone except for a purpose relevant to the Inspector’s functions.
- Section 89 sets out the principal functions of the Inspector, namely, to undertake audits of the PIC and deal with complaints by way of reports and recommendations.
- Section 90 sets out the Inspector's powers such as, being able to investigate any aspect of the PIC’s operations, requiring production of documents from the PIC and requiring PIC officers to appear before him to answer questions.
- Section 91 sets out the Inspectors powers to make or hold inquiries in order to carry out the prescribed functions and provides that for the purposes of such inquiries, the Inspector will have the powers, authorities, protections and immunities conferred on a commissioner by Division 1 of Part 2 of the Royal Commissions Act 1923.
- Section 92 gives the Inspector the ability to employ staff under both public sector and private employment arrangements so that any assistance relevant to carrying out the Inspector’s functions can be obtained.
- Section 93 provides for the Inspector to have powers to do all things necessary or reasonably incidental to the Inspector’s functions.
- Section 93A provides that the Inspector’s jurisdiction covers former officers of the Commission.
- Section 101 allows the Inspector to make special reports to the Presiding Officer of each House of Parliament on any matters concerning the Commission including its operational effectiveness or needs and any administrative and general policy matter relating to the Inspector’s own functions.
- Section 102 provides that within four months after 30 June each year the Inspector must provide an annual report of the Inspector's operations during the year ended 30 June and furnish the report to the Presiding Officer of each House of Parliament.
- Section 104 makes it an offence to wilfully obstruct, hinder, resist or fail to comply or mislead the Inspector or officer of the Inspector without there being a reasonable excuse for doing so.
Other relevant legislation
The Royal Commissions Act 1923
Under S91 of the PIC Act the Inspector can make or hold inquiries. For the purposes of any inquiry held under S91, the Inspector has the powers, authorities, protections and immunities conferred on a Commissioner under the Royal Commissions Act 1923.
Protected Disclosures Act 1994
A public official who makes a disclosure for the Inspector about the PIC or an officer of the PIC will have the disclosure treated as a protected disclosure. This means that confidentiality considerations will be applied in the management of the disclosure. The Inspector will also take appropriate, necessary steps to protect a person who has made a disclosure to him from actual or potential risk of reprisal.
Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002
Staff employed on a permanent basis in the Inspector's office are employed as public sector employees under the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002. Rights and entitlements governing conditions of employment are therefore regulated under this and other legislation and awards applicable to New South Wales public servants.
Government Information Public Access Act 2009 No 52
From 1 July 2010 the Government Information Public Access Act 2009 No 52 (GIPA Act) replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989. Under section 20 of the GIPA Act, the Inspector, as are other public agencies, must publish the information that he can make publicly available. Under Schedules 1 and 2 of the GIPA Act, information concerning the Inspector's statutory functions is exempt from being the subject of an access to information request, i.e. such information cannot be the subject of an access request.
Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1987 (NSW)
The Inspector is an eligible authority for the purposes of this Act. The Inspector provides an annual report to the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department about the use of any telephone intercepts made under the Act.