The ICAC aims to protect the public interest, prevent breaches of public trust and guide the conduct of public officials. The ICAC deals with corrupt conduct involving or affecting most of the NSW public sector, including state government agencies, local government authorities, members of Parliament and the judiciary. Police and NSW Crime Commission corruption is dealt with by the Police Integrity Commission.

The ICAC receives and analyses complaints from members of the public and public officials, and reports made by the principal officers of public sector organisations. The NSW Electoral Commission may also refer certain possible criminal offences under election funding, election or lobbying laws for investigation by the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Act 2015).

The ICAC has extensive powers of investigation and may conduct public inquiries for the purposes of its investigations.

The ICAC also conducts research to identify specific areas of corruption risk.

The ICAC works to minimise corruption and promote the integrity and good repute of public administration (Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Act 2015) by providing advice, information, resources and training to public sector organisations to remedy existing or potential corruption problems, and helps organisations to identify and deal with significant corruption risks. The ICAC also educates the NSW community and public sector about corruption and its effects.

By law the ICAC is required to:

  • investigate only matters within the jurisdiction of the ICAC, relating to corruption involving or affecting the NSW public sector. This includes allegations of corruption in NSW local government and against NSW judges and magistrates
  • investigate all matters referred by both houses of the NSW Parliament
  • publish reports on matters investigated in a public inquiry or matters referred by both houses of the NSW Parliament, and
  • act within the powers defined in the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

The ICAC cannot:

  • resolve personal grievances
  • investigate complaints about the conduct of NSW Crime Commission or police officers
  • investigate matters relating to the public service of the other states or to the Australian public service where there is no connection to the NSW public sector or NSW public officials
  • investigate allegations of corruption in the private sector where there is no connection to the NSW public sector or NSW public officials
  • decide to prosecute those involved in corruption (recommendations to prosecute are made by the ICAC to the Director of Public Prosecutions).