Go to top of page

Ethics in the public service

Queensland public service agencies and their employees are required to make ethical decisions, be accountable for their actions, and demonstrate integrity.

Employee obligations

You have the responsibility to:

  • deliver responsive and efficient services
  • earn the community’s trust through ethical behaviour
  • create pride in public service workplaces
  • support the government of the day in serving Queenslanders.

Your decisions should be guided by the:

  • ethics principles and values
  • work performance and personal conduct principles in Section 26 of the Public Service Act 2008
  • public service values.

Ethics principles

The ethics principles and values are the basis of the Code of Conduct:

Performance management framework

The Queensland Government’s Performance Management Framework provides guidance on planning processes. The framework assists agencies to:

  • use performance information to drive improved service delivery and outcomes
  • improve the quality and consistency of performance information and monitoring
  • better align performance information across the planning and reporting cycles use performance information to drive improved service delivery and outcomes.

Confidentiality

You must follow the confidentiality obligations in the:

  • Information Privacy Act 2009 (PDF, 833KB): sets out how personal information is to be managed, including ensuring it is protected against unauthorised use or disclosure
  • Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service: specifies the obligation to ensure the appropriate use and disclosure of official information, including confirming that such information cannot be used for personal benefit
  • Criminal Code Act 1899 (PDF, 1.8MB): provides a criminal offence for a public official to use information gained in the course of their employment to obtain a dishonest benefit or to cause detriment to another person. 

Reporting requirements

Public service agencies and public sector entities have annual reporting obligations under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994. Reporting must include information about the implementation of the code of conduct and any standard of practice, and details of education and training provided to employees during the reporting period.

Read more about the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994.

Integrity agencies

These agencies provide advice about integrity and accountability matters.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is administratively responsible for the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 and:

  • reviews the Code of Conduct
  • considers requests for approval of agency standards of practice
  • provides ethics advice and support to public service agencies.

Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) is a statutory body that investigates both crime and corruption, has oversight of both the police and the public sector, and protects witnesses.

Queensland Ombudsman’s Office is an independent complaints agency that:

  • provides a fair and effective investigative service for people who believe they have been adversely affected by a decision or action of a public sector agency
  • monitors and reviews the management of public interest disclosures under the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
  • provides training about ethical decision making.

Integrity Commissioner is an independent Officer of the Queensland Parliament under the Integrity Act 2009:

  • provides written advice to Ministers, MPs, senior public servants, and others about ethics or integrity issues including conflicts of interest
  • maintains a Register of Lobbyists and monitors interaction between lobbyists and government representatives.

Office of the Information Commissioner is an independent statutory body that:

  • promotes greater access to government-held information and appropriate information privacy practices
  • conducts external reviews of decisions of Queensland Government agencies and ministers about access to and amendment of documents under the Right to Information Act 2009 and the Information Privacy Act 2009
  • mediates privacy complaints about Queensland Government agencies
  • provides advice, assistance, and training about information rights and responsibilities.

The Queensland Audit Office provides Parliament with an independent assessment of the financial management related activities of public sector entities to enhance public accountability.

Queensland Independent Complaint Agencies - various independent complaint agencies in Queensland and across Australia that investigate complaints about government departments, local councils and private organisations.

More information

Employees should contact their supervisor or human resource team.

Human resource and industrial relations practitioners can contact the PSC Advisory Service.