This document provides implementation guidance and sets out high-level processes for management of consensual personal relationships in the workplace.

1.1 Scope

The Victorian Secretaries Board has agreed that compliance with the updated Policy is required for public service departments.

Public sector entities should aim for workplace policies that provide consistency across the sector.

Public sector entities are encouraged to revise their policies and procedures in relation to identifying, reporting and managing conflicts of interest. They should ensure that policies and procedures are informed by the Victorian Public Sector Commission’s (VPSC) Model Policy and this Practice Guide.

1.2 Context

Victorian Public Sector employees are free to engage in consensual personal relationships. Lawful sexual activity is a protected attribute under Section 4 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Discrimination on these grounds is prohibited in the context of employment.

Employees are required to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the public sector values and employment principles set out in the Public Administration Act 2004. These values and principles are further defined through the Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees and the Code of Conduct for Employees of Special Bodies and Standards issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner. Local policies and procedures may also include specific expectations for staff in particular roles.

1.3 Application of the Conflict of Interest Model Policy

The Model Policy sets out processes for the management of consensual personal relationships between employees to promote clarity and provide consistency. The Model Policy has been written at a high level to accommodate the diverse nature of different organisations while also providing key considerations for managing employee relationships.

Taking a risk-based approach, organisations may wish to tailor the Model Policy to recognise specific requirements to suit their own organisation. For example, to reference specific requirements in relation to residential settings (eg Victoria Police Academy) or a hierarchical power imbalance that may exist in a particular organisational context.

Public sector organisations may wish to consult with employee groups, unions and associations. It is important to note that this is not a requirement but may be considered in specific settings to support the communication and application of policies and processes.