Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff consistently maintain high standards of professionalism, probity, accountability and conduct. The department can maintain these high standards by continuing to commit to a strong ethical culture, where staff have a clear understanding of the ethical implications of their actions, based on:
- the APS Values and APS Code of Conduct;
- the DFAT Code of Conduct for Overseas Service; and
- the LES Code of Conduct in place at each post overseas.
To support this, the department has created this Conduct and Ethics Manual.
This Manual is the principal source of departmental guidance and policies on conduct and ethics issues for all categories of staff- APS (i.e. A-based) employees, LES employees and contractors. Staff are also encouraged to seek advice on conduct and ethics issues from the department's Conduct and Ethics Unit.
The department expects a high degree of accountability from all staff. Accountability is one of the foundation values of the APS, helping to define its role as a key institution in Australia's democratic system. Ethically sound decisions are made by exercising good judgment and by ensuring appropriate reflection, disclosure and discussion about any action which may be in conflict with our Codes of Conduct or with departmental instructions. While recognising that in ethical decision-making, there is sometimes no one "right" answer for a situation, we should nevertheless strive for an answer which is justifiable, accords with our Codes of Conduct and meets departmental objectives.
At the same time, the department has a responsibility to provide staff with effective guidance and procedures for managing conduct and ethics questions which arise in the workplace. The Manual supports these aims.
We work in an international environment where differences in cultural norms and legal systems can complicate conduct and ethics issues. The department's policies, guidance and directions, including the DFAT Code of Conduct for Overseas Service and the LES Code of Conduct at each post overseas, are designed to ensure that appropriate standards of conduct are maintained in all the different environments where we operate.
The department takes misconduct very seriously. Alleged misconduct is investigated promptly and fairly. When appropriate, sanctions are applied to individuals who are found to have breached the APS Code of Conduct, the DFAT Code of Conduct for Overseas Service or a post's LES Code of Conduct.
We all share an important responsibility to support and promote a workplace culture which does not tolerate unethical behaviour. This Manual is an important tool in achieving our shared objective.
Document Revision History
|Version Number||Date||Revised by (name & position)||Changes (location & nature)|
|2||08/10||A/g DIR MCS||
|3||10/10||EO MCS||Revised Ch 8 to take account of APSC/Ethics Advisory Committee comments|
|4||12/10||Ethics Committee||Manual revised and Version 2 approved|
|5||03/11||EO MCS||Revision to Whistleblowing in DFAT section 10.2.12|
|6||11/11||EO MCS||Amendments to sections 11.2.24; 11.1.45; 11.1.52(a) to clarify operation of these provisions.|
The original version of this Manual and all superseded versions of this Manual are archived in MCS and CEU.
The Administrative Circulars replaced by the original version of this Manual were:
- P0308 Public Service Act 1999 - New Departmental Procedures for Determining Breaches of the APS Code of Conduct
- P0352 Making a Whistleblowing Disclosure and Protection for Whistleblowers
- P0397 Acceptance of Gifts or Other Benefits: Sponsored Travel
- P0400 Reporting Fraud or Misconduct
- P0458 Procedures for Dealing with Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality
- P0526 Outside Employment for APS Employees and Locally-Engaged Staff
- P0591 Revised Code of Conduct for Overseas Service
- P0704 Conduct and Ethics: Use of Department-Licensed Computer Software for Work Purposes at Home
- P0826 Conduct and Ethics: Revised Policy Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest
- P0830 Code of Conduct: Movement of APS Staff between Agencies
- P0861 Use of Internet Social Networking Tools by Departmental Staff
- P0950 Lobbying Code of Conduct and Post-Separation Employment
- N625/09 APSC Ethics Advisory Service and DFAT Conduct and Ethics Unit.
- Other documents replaced by the original version of this Manual were:
- Human Resources Manual Volume 1 Chapter 13
- Locally Engaged Staff Management: A Better Practice Guide Chapter 14.