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Code of Conduct

A code of conduct plays a key role in demonstrating the government’s commitment to the highest levels of integrity and accountability, whether you work in a Queensland government department, local council or university.

A code of conduct reflects the principles and values underlying good public administration for the public sector and should identify consistent standards of conduct for all employees. It is designed to provide a framework for ethical culture within the sector.

A code of conduct is aspirational and clarifies for the public what they, and we, as employees of the Queensland public sector, expect of ourselves, our colleagues and our organisation.

The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (PSEA) outlines the ethical obligations of employees within the Queensland Public Sector. The PSEA provides four (4) ethics principles for the public sector:

  • integrity and impartiality
  • promoting the public good
  • commitment to the system of government and
  • accountability and transparency.

The PSEA also incorporates a range of "ethical values" which describe the behaviours that demonstrate each of the four ethics principles.

The PSEA applies to:

  • public service agencies which include departments, public service offices, TAFE Queensland, an administrative office of a court or tribunal, an entity prescribed under a regulation that is not a public service agency
  • public sector entities which include the parliamentary service, a local government, a university, an entity established under an Act or under a State or local government authorisation for a public, State or local government purpose, and an entity prescribed under a regulation.

The PSEA does not apply to:

  • a government-owned corporation
  • a corporation owned by a local government, or a subsidiary of a corporation owned by a local government
  • entities under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 – a parents and citizens association, a non-State school, an advisory committee and an international educational institution.

The PSEA requires public service agencies and public sector entities to develop and implement a code of conduct which includes standards of conduct based on the ethics principles and values prescribed in the PSEA:

  • all public service agencies:
    • are covered by the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service which applies to all public officials of the agency as well as contractors and their employees, volunteers, students on work experience with the entity.  
    • may have their own policies and procedures that provide further information about expectations of employee conduct.
    • have the capacity under the PSEA to develop Standards of Practice which identify additional expectations of standards of conduct for particular employees due to the nature of the role they perform or because of critical business requirements that impact on employee conduct.
  • each public sector entity’s code of conduct:
    • is specific to their entity
    • applies to all public officials of the entity and can apply to others such as contractors and their employees, volunteers, students on work experience with the entity.
    • must be approved by the relevant authority responsible for the entity as prescribed in the PSEA (e.g. Chief Executive of the Local Government Council or for a University, the University Council).

The PSEA sets out the requirements for the development of, and consultation on, codes of conduct and standards of practice.

A public sector entity (e.g. a local government council or university) may seek to have the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service applied to them, as a prescribed agency under a regulation.

Further information

For government employees: contact your supervisor or human resource areas.

For government human resource and industrial relations practitioners in public sector entities: contact the Public Service Commission Advisory Service, t: 1300 038 472 or e: pscenquiries@psc.qld.gov.au.

Last updated:
24 December, 2014

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