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Annex 2 – Executive summary of IGIS Inquiry into ONA's Statutory Independence

  • This formal inquiry (conducted pursuant to section 8 of the Inspector–General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986) examined matters relating to the statutory independence of the Office of National Assessments (ONA) in the period January 2008 – December 2009.
  • The Inspector–General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 requires periodic reviews of the statutory independence of the Office of National Assessments (ONA) to be conducted.
  • The inquiry included:
    • examination of selected assessments and associated records
    • analysis of ONA’s internal reviews of assessments
    • examination of selected communications between the Director–General and the Prime Minister
    • an open invitation to all ONA staff to speak confidentially with me if they wished
    • analysis of relevant questions asked in ONA staff surveys
    • interviews with selected staff.
  • I found no indication or evidence of improper attempts to direct or influence ONA assessments (including by any policy department).
  • Analysts have high levels of confidence in the independence and integrity of the assessments, a confidence which has strengthened over a number of years.
  • Record keeping on the development of each assessment has improved (as has endnoting (ie. source referencing).
  • The Director–General is taking initiatives to enhance ONA’s engagement with experts outside ONA.
  • The Director–General is refining the internal process for review of key judgements so that longer term judgements are reviewed at a more appropriate time.
  • Given these findings no formal recommendations are necessary.

Ian Carnell
Inspector–General
4 March 2010

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