CaPE case categorisation framework

Use the conduct and performance excellence (CaPE) case categorisation framework to assess and manage poor employee conduct or performance.

Determine if the matter should be reported and addressed using the CaPE case categorisation framework.

Review the:

  • Issue: What are the specifics? What are the main concerns?
  • Behaviour: Does the behaviour relate to an employee's conduct or their performance? Does the employee know what is expected of them?
  • Breach: What is the breach of policy, procedure or accepted standards of behaviour?
  • Evidence: What information is available to support the matter at the time it is raised. Are there any gaps in the information that exists?

If, during your review, you suspect the employee of corrupt conduct, you must refer it to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). Speak to your agency’s CCC Referral Officer for help.

Identify an issue type and category for the conduct or performance matter. If you cannot find an issue type that matches, use ‘other’. You’ll need to provide your own description.

Issue type


Assault or excessive force

Can be matters defined as assault in section 245 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 or use of excessive force with or without a weapon. Can also be threats of assault or excessive force.

Category: Legal

Attendance or leave

Unauthorised absence from the workplace or a pattern of unscheduled absence.

Category: Performance and health; Breach of policy or procedure

Breach of scope of practice

Matters where a health practitioner may have undertaken a task outside of their education, registration conditions or departmental policies.

Category: Breach of policy or procedure

Bullying or harassment (not sexual)

Repeated unreasonable behaviour towards an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to the health and safety of the employee or employees. This does not include reasonable management action or an employee's perception of reasonable management action taken against them.

Category: Interpersonal

Charge or conviction (civil)

Information obtained that an employee has breached a civil law.

Category: Legal

Charge or conviction (criminal)

Information obtained that an employee has been charged or convicted with an offence under the Criminal Code Act 1899 or other relevant legislation.

Category: Legal

Conduct in a private capacity

Inappropriate or improper conduct in a private capacity that reflects seriously and adversely on the Queensland Government.

Category: Conduct or ethics; Other

Conflict of interest

The private interests of an employee interfere or appear to interfere with the employee's performance of duties, and the employee has not declared or managed the conflict appropriately.

Category: Conduct or ethics


Treatment of a person or a group of people less favourably than others because they have a particular characteristic as outlined in section 7 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. Discrimination can be direct or indirect.

Category: Legal

Drug or alcohol issues

Can involve possession or theft from the workplace of an illicit or prohibited substance or related paraphernalia. It can also involve matters where an employee presents for work whilst impaired by alcohol or drug use.

Category: Performance and health

Failure to provide adequate medical treatment

Care or treatment provided by the practitioner is at a lesser standard than what may reasonably be expected of the practitioner according to relevant standards, codes of practice, or by the public or the practitioner's peers. Can also relate to circumstances where an employee responsible for the care or welfare of others does not seek or provide medical assistance where required.

Category: Breach of policy or procedure

Failure to show courtesy and respect

Behaviours demonstrated towards another in the course of duty that contravene the standards contained in the Code of Conduct.

Category: Interpersonal; Conduct or ethics

Financial impropriety or fraud

Can include matters involving the fraudulent diversion of public funds (including the fabrication of information or dishonesty in claiming employee entitlements), theft of public funds or unauthorised use of public funds (including government resources such as work time, equipment or facilities). Can also include matters involving a dishonest attempt to obtain a benefit or entitlement.

Category: Legal

Inappropriate conduct (general)

A general behaviour that is inappropriate that may not contravene the Code of Conduct but may still give rise to corrective actions occurring.

Category: Other

Inappropriate conduct (sexual)

Conduct or unwelcome attention of a sexual nature that makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Includes uninvited physical intimacy, uninvited sexual propositions and remarks with sexual connotations.

Category: Interpersonal; Legal

Misuse of resources

Can involve unauthorised or inappropriate use of physical, intellectual, service or information technology based public resources, but does not include financial impropriety.

Category: Conduct or ethics

Non-compliance (direction)

A deviation occurring from a lawful and reasonable instruction or direction issued to an employee in the course of their duties.

Category: Breach of policy or procedure

Non-compliance (policy or legislation)

A deviation from an agency's or a profession's standards, policies or legislation relevant to the carrying out of the employee's duties.

Category: Breach of policy or procedure; Conduct or ethics

Non-disclosure of relevant information

The deliberate withholding of information relevant to an employee's employment or the carrying out of their duties.

Category: Breach of policy or procedure

Performance deficiencies

Can include performance matters that are being informally dealt with through feedback to the employee, matters that are being managed through a performance improvement plan (PIP) or that are being managed through a discipline process if a PIP is unsuccessful. This type of issue includes deficiencies resulting from a lack of knowledge, competence or appropriate care or diligence, but do not include deliberate acts or omissions in duty.

Category: Performance and health

Unauthorised access or disclosure of confidential information

Can involve accessing or disclosing official information without a legitimate reason, unintentionally disclosing official information, falsifying information or records, acquiring or retaining information or records illegally, or inadequately safeguarding information.

Issues involving unauthorised access to information or agency databases may be breaches of the criminal code. You’ll need to consider referring the matter to the Queensland Police Service or CCC.

Category: Legal; Conduct or ethics


Provide a detailed summary.

Category: Other

Consider the:

  • Frequency: Is the matter ongoing or repeated in nature? Has the employee had corrective action taken previously for similar conduct or performance?
  • Impact: What is the likely impact of the matter for the employee, the workplace, the complainant, and the Queensland Government’s reputation?
  • Outcome: If the matter is proven, what will be the most serious outcome? For example, management action, discipline process, or no further action. If proceeding to a discipline process, what is the most serious action (e.g. reprimand versus termination)?
  • Criminality: Is the matter a possible criminal matter as defined under criminal law?
  • Intent: Was the intent of the action reckless, wilful or malicious? For example, does the employee know what is expected of them and chooses not to comply or are they unaware of performance and conduct standards and expectations?

Use the CaPE case categorisation assessment tool to assign a case category. You’ll need your initial review, issue type and category, and evaluation of the seriousness of the matter. You can download and use your results as part of your assessment.

Read the assigned case category, confirm it’s suitable, and note your timeframe to respond and actions.

Category 1

These matters involve inappropriate personal conduct with colleagues, clients or other stakeholders, inappropriate behaviour relating to minor management matters, and performance requiring improvement.

You have 28 days from the date you become aware of the matter to advise the employee (verbally or in writing) of the action you or your agency will take to resolve the matter.

See Positive management practices for help addressing minor management concerns or personality clashes. See Performance managementfor more serious concerns.

Record the action you’ll take and the reasons.

Category 2

These matters involve ongoing or repeated conduct or performance that is not meeting expectations or is inconsistent with our employee standards described in the Code of Conduct. It includes careless or negligent performance of duties. It does not include wilful or malicious conduct (see category 3(a)) or unsatisfactory performance due to lack of skill (see category 1).

You have 51 days from the date you become aware of the matter to advise the employee (verbally or in writing) of the action you or your agency will take to resolve the matter.

See Performance management for help addressing management concerns. See our Discipline directive and Discipline guideline for help commencing a disciplinary process for more serious concerns.

Record the action you’ll take and the reasons.

Category 3(a)

These matters involve serious neglect of duties and performance or serious misconduct inconsistent with our employee standards described in the Code of Conduct. It includes behaviour wilful, reckless or malicious behaviour that raises concerns about an employee’s suitability for ongoing employment.

You have 139 days from the date you become aware of the matter to advise the employee (verbally or in writing) of the action you or your agency will take to resolve the matter.

See our Discipline directive and Discipline guideline for help commencing a disciplinary process

Category 3(b)

These matters involve conduct that is in breach of criminal law. It includes alleged breaches of criminal law resulting from an employee's behaviour in the workplace or in private. It does not include corrupt conduct. You must refer corrupt conduct to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

You have 200 days from the date you become aware of the matter to advise the employee (verbally or in writing) of the action you or your agency will take to resolve the matter.

Criminal cases involving police and courts could take longer and may impact on the timeframes to resolve the matter. Lodge a CaPE and HR Assist enquiry with the Public Service Commission’s CaPE Service for advice and assistance.

Notify and escalate your concerns regarding the matter to the appropriate people internally and externally (e.g. Supervisor, Director, Queensland Police Service, CCC).

Decide who the delegate decision maker is for the matter. Get them to declare any conflicts of interest and document them (or the absence thereof). Ensure the proposed decision maker has the appropriate delegation.

Determine the appropriate person to update the employee regularly. Outline how you’d like the employee to respond as you progress the matter.

Ensure safety and wellbeing

If the incident caused significant harm to another person, debrief those involved and ensure there’s no further risk.

If there’s further risk associated with the employee remaining in their role or in the workplace while you address the matter, consider placing the employee in another role or business area, or consider suspending them.

Consider if you need to refer anyone to the employee assistance program.

Secure and protect your evidence

Make sure you secure and protect any evidence you might need to address the matter (e.g. CCTV footage, timesheets, IT logins, incident report). Consider whether you need to suspend the employee’s access to the workplace or IT services.

Plan and manage towards a resolution

Consider how you’ll gather further information about the matter. It may be appropriate to conduct management enquiries, or an investigation. If the matter is a category 3(a) or 3(b) you might need to appoint an investigator for the matter.

You must report on conduct and performance matters that you categorise as 2, 3(a) or 3(b). See your intranet or speak to your HR team for help.

Agencies must provide this data to the Public Sector Commission (PSC) on a 3 or 6 monthly basis. The data must include the:

  • number of cases and their categories (i.e. category 2, 3(a) and 3(b))
  • action taken (i.e. investigation details, costs, duration, and outcome)
  • number of suspensions
  • number of disciplinary processes.

We compile this data and publish it annually. See Conduct and performance data.

We don’t collect and publish data on category 1 matters. These are less serious matters that agencies can assess and manage internally as part of standard management practices.