Investigations

Inspectorate and jurisdiction

As outlined in section 223B of the Act, the Inspectorate may investigate any matter relating to council operations and possible offences under the Act involving:

  • councillors
  • senior council officers
  • a person subject to the conflict of interest provisions within the Act
  • any individual where the matter relates to electoral provisions within the Act.

Find out more information on the Chief Municipal Inspector and Inspectorate staff.

Which matters become investigations?

Complaints made to the Inspectorate will be examined carefully to confirm if they require further investigation.

The compliance team can also refer matters that may arise during the audit process to the investigation team for further examination.

Due to the volume of complaints received and the often complex nature of investigations, the process can take some time. Each case is different and therefore specific timeframes cannot be provided.

Where possible, the Inspectorate will keep complainants informed of the progress of the investigation.

The investigation process

Step 1

When a complaint is received, the Inspectorate will determine if the matter is within its jurisdiction.

What is outside of the Inspectorate's jurisdiction:

  • if there is insufficient information to investigate or the matter falls within another agency or council jurisdiction, the complainant will be advised in writing.

What is within the Inspectorate's jurisdiction:

  • if there is sufficient information to investigate, the matter will be allocated to an investigator when resources become available. Due to the volume and complexity of complaints received, specific timeframes cannot be given
  • once the complaint has been allocated to an investigator, the complainant will be contacted to discuss the matter further if further information in required for more information

Step 2

Who is called to participate in an investigation?

  • complainant
  • witness (if relevant)
  • person of interest/accused.

Unless a lawful excuse exists, it is an offence to:

  • refuse or fail to comply with a requirement of an Inspector
  • to give information which is false or misleading
  • to make a false statement
  • to refuse to take an oath or affirmation

Any person appearing before the Inspectorate is entitled to be represented by another person.

During an investigation, if criminal or administrative matters are discovered that fall outside of the Inspectorate's jurisdiction, these will be referred to the appropriate agency such as Victoria Police or Ombudsman Victoria.

Step 3

Formal interviews may be recorded and if this occurs, participants will receive a copy for their records.

Step 4

After the investigation is complete, the Inspectorate will determine if the complaint is substantiated.

Step 5

Investigators will advise relevant parties of the outcome in writing.

Where there is sufficient evidence to substantiate an alleged offence under the Act and a penalty applies, the Inspectorate may undertake a prosecution.

The Inspectorate uses the Victorian Government Solicitors Office to provide advice on prosecutions and, if necessary, to manage the court proceedings.

Submit a complaint

Our secure online complaint form is the easiest way to submit a complaint to the Inspectorate.

Using the form will ensure you have provided us with information vital to our assessment of your complaint.

Submit your complaint