The Queensland Government is committed to high ethical standards for all public officials.
Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (Qld) (the Ethics Act) establishes four ethical principles which underpin public administration in Queensland and apply to all public service employees:
- integrity and impartiality
- promoting the public good
- commitment to the system of government
- accountability and transparency.
Each principle is supported by a set of values which describes the behaviour that will demonstrate that principle. The principles and values are both equally important.
All public service entities and employees must demonstrate, promote and comply with these principles and values in their work.
Ethics principles and values
Integrity and impartiality
In recognition that public office involves a public trust; public service agencies, public sector entities and public officials seek to promote public confidence in the integrity of the public sector and:
- are committed to the highest ethical standards
- accept and value their duty to provide advice which is objective, independent, apolitical and impartial
- show respect towards all persons, including employees, clients and the general public
- acknowledge the primacy of the public interest and undertake that any conflict of interest issue will be resolved or appropriately managed in favour of the public interest
- are committed to honest, fair and respectful engagement with the community.
Promoting the public good
In recognition that the public sector is the mechanism through which the elected representatives deliver programs and services for the benefit of the people of Queensland; public service agencies, public sector entities and public officials:
- accept and value their duty to be responsive to both the requirements of government and to the public interest
- accept and value their duty to engage the community in developing and effecting official public sector priorities, policies and decisions
- value and seek to achieve excellence in service delivery
- value and seek to achieve enhanced integration of services to better service clients.
Commitment to the system of government
In recognition that the public sector has a duty to uphold the system of government and the laws of the State, Commonwealth and local government; public service agencies, public sector entities and public officials:
- accept and value their duty to uphold the system of government and the laws of the State, the Commonwealth and local government
- are committed to effecting official public sector priorities, policies and decisions professionally and impartially
- accept and value their duty to operate within the framework of Ministerial responsibility to government, the Parliament and the community.
This does not limit the responsibility of a public service agency, public sector entity or public official to act independently of government if the independence of the agency, entity or official is required by legislation or government policy, or is a customary feature of the work of the agency, entity or official.
Accountability and transparency
In recognition that public trust in public office requires high standards of public administration, public service agencies, public sector entities and public officials:
- are committed to exercising proper diligence, care and attention
- are committed to using public resources in an effective and accountable way
- are committed to managing information as openly as practicable within the legal framework
- value and seek to achieve high standards of public administration
- value and seek to innovate and continuously improve performance
- value and seek to operate within a framework of mutual obligation and shared responsibility between public service agencies, public sector entities and public officials.
What is the Code of Conduct?
Based on the four ethical principles and values of the Ethics Act, the
Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service (the Code) sets out the standards of conduct expected of you as a public sector employee. The Code applies to all public service employees. The standards of conduct identify the ethical behaviour expected of you.
What is the Standard of Practice?
Standard of Practice (the Standard) is a Department of Education publication which supports the Code. The purpose of the Standard is to establish a common understanding of the minimum standards of behaviour expected of all Department of Education employees. It applies the principles of the Code to the occupational circumstances of the department. It also provides you with additional, practical ethical guidance on applying the Code’s principles, values and standards of conduct to your daily work.
The Standard gives you, and all Department of Education employees, greater detail, guidance and clarity around the expected standards of behaviour set out in the Code. The Standard does not attempt to provide you with a detailed and exhaustive list of what to do in every ethical scenario or aspect of your work. Instead, it provides a broad framework that will help you decide on an appropriate course of action when you are faced with an ethical issue.
The Standard places an obligation on all of us as department employees to take responsibility for our own conduct and decisions, and to work collaboratively with colleagues to establish cooperative workplaces, where people are happy and proud to work.