Public service ethics

The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 outlines the ethics principles fundamental to good public administration. It requires public service agencies and public sector entities to develop and implement a code of conduct based on these ethics principles:

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

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has developed and implemented the Public Service Code of Conduct for Queensland Government agencies. For the purposes of the Code of Conduct, agencies are:

  • departments
  • TAFE institutes or statutory TAFE institutes
  • administrative offices of a court or tribunal
  • entities prescribed by regulation.

See the Public Service Code of Conduct for more.

Public service agencies can develop and implement their own policies and procedures with additional standards of conduct.

Public sector entities must develop and implement a Code of Conduct. Public sector entities are:

  • parliamentary service
  • local governments
  • universities
  • entities established under an Act or under a State or local government authorisation for a public, State or local government purpose
  • entities prescribed under a regulation.

Your Code of Conduct:

  • must be specific to your entity
  • must be applicable to all public officials in your entity
  • can be applicable to contractors and their employees, volunteers, and students on work experience with your entity.
  • must be approved by the relevant authority responsible for the entity as prescribed in the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (e.g. Chief Executive of the Local Government Council or for a University, the University Council).

You can use the Public Service Code of Conduct as your Code of Conduct. Contact the Public Service Commission’s CaPE and HR Assist team for approval and we’ll note this in the Public Sector Ethics Regulation 2010.

The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 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 (parents and citizens associations, non-State schools, advisory committees, international educational institutions).

Public service agencies and public sector entities have annual reporting obligations under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994. This includes information about the implementation of the Code of Conduct and any standards of practice, and details of education and training provided to employees during the reporting period.

Talk to your HR or ethical standards team for more.