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Activity 7 Engagement With the Intelligence Agencies and the Public


Each year, the office engages with new and current members of intelligence agencies to increase their awareness of their compliance responsibilities as well as their understanding of the role of this office. In addition to discussions with agency heads and senior staff the Inspector-General and IGIS staff have given presentations to new and current staff explaining this office's approach to compliance issues and illustrating this with reference to some of the more common problems that we encounter.

This office also has a regular program of presentations to the broader intelligence community, and public groups with an interest in national security and intelligence matters. This program is designed to create greater public awareness of the role and activities of this office and "to assist the Government in assuring the Parliament and the public that intelligence and security matters relating to Commonwealth agencies are open to scrutiny, in particular the activities and procedures of intelligence agencies"; section4(d), IGIS Act.


Undertaking presentations to new and existing employees of intelligence agencies to ensure awareness and understanding of their responsibilities and accountability.

Raising awareness of the role and functions of the office outside the Australian intelligence agencies in order to increase public awareness of the scrutiny applied to the agencies.

Performance criteria: completion of at least 15 outreach activities per year.

Target: frequency of presentations to staff in intelligence agencies, frequency of outreach activities delivered to audiences outside the intelligence community.

Source: Portfolio Budget Statements, p.257; IGIS Corporate Plan 2017-2021, p. 6.

Figure 2.9: Number of presentations by year and audience

number of presentations by year and audience: 13 and 14 in 2015-16, 15 in 2016-17, 16 and 16 in 2017-18


In the reporting period the office exceeded the performance target for outreach activities delivering 31 presentations, 15 of which were to members of the intelligence agencies and 16 were provided to external groups to raise public awareness of the office. On average, the office delivered at least one presentation a month to members of the intelligence community as well as to audiences outside the intelligence community. Over the last three reporting periods the office has increased the number of presentations as part of a deliberate strategy to increase understanding of our role both within the agencies we oversee and the public.


Presentations delivered to staff in the intelligence agencies, and other related bodies, provide an opportunity to explain the role and functions of the office and to discuss matters relating to compliance, professionalism, accountability and ethical conduct.

The Inspector-General meets regularly with intelligence agency heads and their senior staff to discuss current issues or concerns and to highlight issues arising from inspection and inquiry activities. Typically agencies use these discussions to brief the office on emerging risks or potential concerns and how they plan to respond to these challenges. These discussions enhance our understanding of each intelligence agency's operational environment and also provide a forum to resolve issues informally. The Inspector-General continued the practice of meeting with ASIS heads of station and other officers from intelligence agencies to remind them of the functions of the office, to explore any particular challenges they encounter and to increase our understanding of their activities. These may vary depending on the particular locations and operations at their post.

Each agency has also established regular points of contact to facilitate our visits and to coordinate our various requirements, while within our office, designated officers lead interactions with each intelligence agency.


In the reporting period there were 16 outreach activities delivered to audiences outside the Australian intelligence agencies. In October 2017, the Inspector-General presented to a meeting of the Integrity Agency Heads and to the Five-Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council Conference in Canada (additional detail regarding this conference is provided later in this report). The Inspector-General was invited to address a number of leadership groups external to the intelligence agencies, including the Senior Executive Development Program at the National Security College in November 2017 and the National Public Sector Managers and Leaders Conference in March 2018. In May 2018 the Inspector-General delivered a keynote address at the 5th General Counsel Summit and to the Australian Government Solicitor Forum. The Inspector-General and Deputy Inspector-General also delivered guest lectures at universities and presentations to government departments during the reporting period.

A similar program of presentations will continue in the coming year.


The 2017 Independent Intelligence Review recommended that the jurisdiction of the office be expanded to include the intelligence functions of the ACIC, AFP, AUSTRAC and Department of Home Affairs. While the commencement of this expanded oversight is contingent on legislative change, during the reporting period the office commenced engagement with key contacts and senior leaders in those agencies to expand our understanding of their intelligence functions and to ensure the agencies understand our approach prior to commencement of legislative changes. Proactive engagement ahead of legislative changes to the jurisdiction of the office provides a strong foundation for our future oversight program.

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