The Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) has issued codes of conduct in relation to the values and has issued standards in relation to the employment principles. These are binding on employers and employees alike and are explained in more detail below.

Further information:

8.1 Public Sector Values

Public sector values underpin and reflect the behaviours essential to employees’ relationship with Government, the community and colleagues. All public sector employees and other public officials must adhere to the values. Employers must promote the values in their organisation. They must also ensure that any statement of values adopted or applied in their organisation is consistent with the public sector values.

The values outlined in the Public Administration Act state that public officials should demonstrate:


  • providing frank, impartial and timely advice to government
  • providing high quality services to the Victorian community
  • identifying and promoting best practice.


  • being honest, open and transparent in their dealing
  • using powers responsibly
  • reporting improper conduct
  • avoiding real or apparent conflicts of interest.
  • striving to earn and sustain public trust at the highest level.


  • making decisions and providing advice on merit without bias, caprice, favouritism or self- interest
  • acting fairly by objectively considering all relevant facts and applying fair criteria
  • implementing government policies and programs equitably.


  • working to clear objectives in a transparent manner
  • accepting responsibility for their decisions and actions
  • seeking to achieve best use of resources
  • submitting themselves to appropriate scrutiny.


  • treating others fairly and objectively
  • ensuring freedom from discrimination, harassment and bullying
  • using their views to improve outcomes on an ongoing basis.


  • actively implementing, promoting and supporting these values.

Human Rights

Public Officials should also respect and promote the human rights set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 by:

  • making decisions and providing advice consistent with human rights
  • actively implementing, promoting and supporting human rights.

8.2 Codes of Conduct

Codes of conduct guide behaviour within an organisation. They are a public statement of how an organisation and its employees interact with the government, community and each other. They promote adherence to the public sector values. A code is binding on any person to whom it applies and breaking the code may constitute misconduct.

The Victorian Public Sector Commission has issued three binding codes of conduct for the Victorian public sector:

Employers are to develop and implement policies and procedures tailored to their own operating environment to support application of the code. Employees are required to comply with these policies and procedures.

8.3 Employment Principles

The employment principles outlined in section 8 of the Public Administration Act provide public sector employees and employers with a framework for ensuring all employment actions and outcomes are fair. They also ensure the public sector values are applied to employment related decisions and actions.

The employment principles require a public sector employer to establish processes to ensure:

  • employment decisions are based on merit
  • employees are treated fairly and reasonably
  • equal employment opportunity is provided
  • human rights as set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 are upheld
  • public sector employees have a reasonable avenue of redress against unfair or unreasonable treatment; and
  • a career public service is fostered (in the case of public service bodies).

8.4 Standards

Standards are issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commission to identify and define the essential elements of the employment principles (merit, fair and reasonable treatment, equal employment opportunity, and reasonable avenue of redress).

They outline binding, minimum requirements for the application of the principles and support translation of the principles into sound and workable policies and processes.

Employers must establish policies and processes that will ensure the employment principles apply in their organisation. They must also ensure that their employees are informed about the application of the employment principles and standards.