Pre-separation conduct

Pre-separation conduct relates to the period when you apply for a position outside of the Queensland public sector and decide to accept it. During this time, it is important that you continue to act in the public interest as set out in the Code of Conduct.

Separation risks during this period can include:

  • using your knowledge of and contacts within your agency to seek advantage for your prospective new employer in dealing with the Queensland public sector (undue influence)
  • using your position to influence decisions and advice in favour of your prospective new employer (conflict of interest)
  • revealing confidential or sensitive Queensland Government information to your new employer (information security)
  • providing other information that would give your new employer an advantage in dealing with agencies and/or a competitive advantage in the market generally (information security).

It is important to remember that separation risks don’t just relate to actively contravening the Code of Conduct, but also the perception that you could act against the public interest.

What you can do to reduce the risk

Accept responsibility

You are personally responsible for your conduct as part of the Queensland public sector and when leaving it. You should be proactive in ensuring that your choices and actions are always in the public interest.

Be open

You should inform prospective employers about the limitations that the confidentiality provisions of your current role place on future employment, and any conditions that might be specific to employment with your new organisation.

At the first opportunity, you should inform your agency in writing of your intention to accept a new job opportunity outside the Queensland public sector, so that any separation risks can be addressed.

Declare and manage any conflicts of interest

A conflict of interest occurs when your private interests interfere, or appear to interfere, with the performance of your official duties as part of the Queensland public sector.

All conflicts of interest (actual, potential and perceived) must first be identified and declared. Steps can then be taken to appropriately manage and resolve the matter in the public interest.

Find out more about conflicts of interest and how to manage them.

Once you have notified your agency of your decision to leave the Queensland public sector, they will assess the likelihood and level of any actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Depending on the level of separation risk and the nature of your role and responsibilities, steps to mitigate this may include:

  • re-allocation of duties
  • excluding you from certain decision-making processes
  • placing restrictions on the flow of information to you, including supervised access to files and systems to deal with personal information
  • reviewing or auditing what access you have, or have had, to specific information with relevance to your future employment
  • temporarily moving you to a different work area or discussing the option to take leave until your new appointment commences.

Ensure appropriate use and disclosure of official information

As a Queensland public sector employee, you have an obligation to ensure the lawful collection and handling of personal information and should always:

  • treat official information with care and use it only for the purpose for which it was collected or authorised
  • store official information securely, and only access it for legitimate, work-related purposes
  • not use confidential or privileged information to further personal interests.

When leaving the Queensland public sector, you must not:

  • take hard copy documents
  • email electronic files to yourself or others
  • download electronic materials to memory devices
  • retain remote access to the computer network after separation. 

Remain committed to the highest ethical standards

You should always ensure:

  • any advice you provide is objective, independent, apolitical and impartial
  • your decision making is ethical
  • any conflict of interest that may arise between your personal interests and your official duties is resolved in favour of the public interest
  • you only use your official powers or position properly
  • you meet your obligations to report suspected wrongdoing, including conduct not consistent with any aspect of the Code of Conduct.

Seek advice

Protect yourself by seeking advice from your supervisor, governance, ethical standards or human resources area if you perceive there is even a slight possibility you may have a conflict of interest.

Confidential advice on ethics and integrity can also be sought from the Queensland Integrity Commissioner if you are:

  • a member of the Legislative Assembly
  • a statutory office holder
  • a chief executive of a government agency or a public sector office;
  • a senior executive officer or senior officer
  • a chief executive of, or a senior officer equivalent employed in a government entity, who is nominated by the minister responsible for administering the entity
  • a ministerial staff member who gives, or a person engaged to give, advice to a minister
  • an assistant minister staff member who gives, or a person engaged to give, advice to an Assistant Minister
  • a person, or a class of person nominated by a minister or assistant minister—including all Queensland mayors and councillors.

Read more about post-separation employment.

Further advice

Employees can seek advice about these matters from their manager or local HR team.

Public sector agency HR and IR practitioners may seek advice about these matters from the PSC advisory service.

Chief executives, senior executives and senior officers may contact the Queensland Integrity Commissioner for written advice about conflict of interest matters. However they are encouraged to first seek advice from their agency.