This document is part of the Code of Conduct for Employees resource.
1.1 A Binding Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct prescribes the behaviour expected of public sector employees.
Public sector employees are required to familiarise themselves and act in accord with the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is binding on those employees to whom it applies and a contravention of it may constitute misconduct.
1.2 Purpose of the Code
The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to promote adherence to the public sector values prescribed in the Public Administration Act 2004. Given the broad and diverse nature of public sector organisations this Code prescribes standards of required behaviour rather than detailed policies and procedures.
The heads of individual public sector bodies are to develop and implement policies and procedures tailored to their own operating environment, to support the application of the Code. Public sector employees are required to comply with these policies and procedures.
The Code is designed to help public sector employees understand the responsibilities and obligations of working in the public sector. The behaviours described in the Code are essential in our relationships with the Government, community and other public sector employees.
The Code of Conduct can only bind public sector employees from the commencement of their employment. Public sector bodies need to establish policies and procedures that include provisions for dealing with false, incorrect or misleading information provided in relation to applications for employment.
1.4 Contractors and Consultants
Public sector employers are to require contractors or consultants engaged in or by their public body (including contractors or consultants engaged through an employment agency) to comply with this Code of Conduct and relevant policies and procedures, where the contractors or consultants:
- supervise public sector employees;
- undertake work that is of a similar nature to the work
- undertaken by public sector employees at a premise or location generally regarded as a public sector workplace; or
- use or have access to public sector resources or information that are not normally accessible or available to the public.
1.5 Other Available Guidance
In addition to conduct prescribed in this Code, there may be specific issues which are covered by other legislation, an industrial agreement or award, or a policy or procedure set down by the public sector employer, or by some other relevant authority. Public sector employees who are unsure of the appropriate action to take in a particular situation should seek advice from their employer.
The Victorian Public Sector Commission issues notes to provide additional guidance on obligations under the Code. These guidance notes can be accessed on the VPSC website (www.vpsc.vic.gov.au).
Certain professions have professional codes of conduct that establish specific behaviours relevant to that profession.
This Code of Conduct specifies the behaviour expected of individuals as public sector employees and should be read in conjunction with any professional code of conduct. Relevant employees need to be aware of their professional code of conduct as well as the provisions of this Code.
Professional codes set out a range of matters relating to the profession including dealing with breaches of the professional code. A breach of a professional code may affect the capacity of a relevant employee to continue to act in that profession and may also affect the ability of that employee to undertake their duties as a public sector employee. However a breach of the public sector Code and any sanctions arising can only be determined in accordance with procedures established for this Code.
1.7 Breach of this Code
This Code is based on the Victorian public sector values and therefore relates to both performance and conduct behaviours.
Failure to behave in the ways described in the Code of Conduct may lead to action under relevant performance management or misconduct processes. These processes need to be consistent with the public sector employment principles (Public Administration Act 2004, s. 8), standards issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commission and any relevant industrial instruments; and communicated to all employees.