As part of its scrutiny of the activities of intelligence agencies and its public assurance role, IGIS can investigate complaints made about intelligence agencies. Complaints can be made by a member of the public, or by a current or former employee of an intelligence agency, about the activities of an intelligence agency.
IGIS has access to all records of intelligence agencies and can examine the full set of circumstances of any complaint. With access to this information, complaints and other matters can often be quickly resolved. Where there are issues requiring more investigation, the Inspector-General can conduct a formal inquiry into the complaint.
In response to someone making contact regarding a complaint, IGIS will initially assess whether the matter is within the jurisdiction. IGIS then determines whether the matter constitutes a complaint – that is, whether it is a credible allegation of illegal or improper conduct by an intelligence agency, or an abuse of human rights.
Typically the types of complaints received relate to:
- Delays relating to visa and citizenship applications,
- Security assessments for employment purposes, or
- Employment matters of an intelligence agency.
A particular type of complaint is a public interest disclosure. Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, IGIS can receive and, where appropriate, investigate authorised disclosures about suspected wrongdoing within an intelligence agency.
Details about individual complaints and their resolution are not made public. However the complainant is always provided with as much information about the outcome as possible, within security restrictions.
Further information about making a complaint, or public interest disclosure, is available at Make a complaint.
IGIS provides details on the number of complaints and public interest disclosures made, and its performance in handling complaints in its Annual Report.