ICAC wants SA office overhauled
South Australia's corruption watchdog has called for an overhaul of the state's Public Trustee office.
ICAC commissioner Bruce Lander launched an evaluation of the office earlier this year following the arrest of a Public Trustee employee on seven counts of abuse of public office.
Alana Marie Bartels has now pleaded guilty to stealing cash, cars and other goods from deceased estates.
The Trustee is in charge of around $922 million in funds on behalf of beneficiaries of estates and trustees, charitable and religious organisations.
Commissioner Lander made 19 recommendations, including splitting caseloads between staff to reduce the risk of inappropriate behaviour, and random checks of high-risk activities.
Mr Lander found staff did not cooperate enough within the office, and called on the Public Trustee to do more to “foster a culture of recognition and reward rather than the existing culture of scrutiny and blame”.
The ICAC also called for the Public Trustee's electronic systems to be entirely overhauled to reduce duplication and better manage its workload.
“The recommendations that relate to the modernisation of electronic systems depend upon Public Trustee being appropriately resourced by government to enable those recommendations to be implemented,” commissioner Lander said.
“The cost will not be insignificant. It is imperative that Public Trustee has procedures and processes that are consistent with the 21st century electronic age,” he said.