Assessing and investigating complaints
We assess complaints of alleged misconduct by public sector officials received from public sector agencies and the community.
Our role is to:
- investigate serious misconduct and matters where the public interest requires an independent investigation
- refer other complaints back to the appropriate agency to investigate
- oversee how agencies manage matters referred to them.
What we investigate
To make the best use of our limited resources, we investigate only the most serious or sensitive allegations of misconduct. These include suspected fraud within government agencies, police corruption, prevalent or systemic misconduct and matters of significant public interest.
The aim of an investigation may be to:
- determine whether there is evidence of criminal conduct or conduct warranting a disciplinary sanction
- find systemic or procedural weaknesses in an agency and recommend solutions to address them
- clear a person’s name of the allegations made against them.
We may also conduct joint investigations with agencies, using our in-house expertise, covert investigative techniques and our powers to:
- hold public and closed investigative hearings
- compel people to give testimony
- intercept telephone communications.
Our investigations also benefit from our specialised resources in research, prevention, intelligence, financial analysis and forensic computing.
Under the Crime and Misconduct Act, we can also assume responsibility for an investigation if the public interest requires it, or if the relevant agency is not equipped to handle the investigation.
- Read details of CMC investigations and hearings.
What we cannot investigate
The following are outside our jurisdiction:
- private sector matters, unless they arise out of dealings with the public sector
- issues arising in other states or territories
- federal parliamentarians, departments or agencies
- state parliamentarians or local government councillors, unless their conduct could amount to a criminal offence.
The CMC is not a court. We cannot find people guilty or not guilty, nor can we discipline anyone.
We can refer matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions with a view to criminal prosecution, or to the appropriate chief executive officer to consider disciplinary action. We can also charge public officers with official misconduct in a misconduct tribunal.
If your complaint does not concern official misconduct or police misconduct, we are probably not the appropriate agency to contact.
Visit the website It’s ok to complain for links to other independent complaint agencies, or contact us for advice on the agency best placed to deal with your concern if it is outside our jurisdiction.
What we refer to agencies for investigation
The Crime and Misconduct Act encourages all public sector agencies, including the QPS, to deal with the misconduct of their own staff, as long as we safeguard the public interest by overseeing how these matters are handled.
This enables us to safeguard public confidence in the integrity of government agencies while encouraging them to take responsibility for the integrity of their own workplaces. It also helps agencies identify and deal with wider systemic issues such as an inappropriate workplace culture, or deficiencies in their policies or procedures.
We base our decision to refer a complaint on:
- the agency’s capacity to deal with the matter
- the nature and seriousness of the alleged misconduct
- the likelihood of increased public confidence in the outcome if we conduct the investigation.
Guidelines for conducting an investigation
To help public sector agencies deal with suspected official misconduct, we have produced a set of guidelines that provide practical advice on planning an investigation, maintaining the integrity of the process, and ensuring confidentiality and fairness.
- Read the guidelines: Facing the facts
Monitoring agencies’ handling of complaints
Under the Crime and Misconduct Act, we are also empowered to monitor how public sector agencies handle cases of suspected official misconduct, and how the QPS handles cases of police misconduct and official misconduct.
- Read more about our oversight and monitoring role.