Ethics, Integrity and Professional Standards Policy Manual
Chapter 2: Corporate Governance in DFAT and the Australian Public Service
The department has an overarching corporate governance framework to foster and support ethical behaviour and to limit, monitor and manage the occurrence of misconduct. This chapter sets out the role of units and committees in the department which make up this framework. It also provides information on the Australian Public Service Commission and its Ethics Advisory Service. Staff should contact the Ethics, Integrity and Professional Standards Section (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they require clarification on the contents of this Manual or if they are uncertain about the ethical implications of a proposed course of action.
2.1 Ethics, Integrity and Professional Standards Section
2.1.1 The Ethics, Integrity and Professional Standards Section (EES) in the People Division provides advice on conduct and ethics issues, investigates allegations of misconduct, and refers allegations of criminal behaviour in the department to relevant law enforcement authorities.
2.1.2 EES actively promotes the APS Values and Employment Principles, APS Code of Conduct, LES Code of Conduct and the DFAT Code of Conduct for Overseas Service by:
- providing and supporting conduct, ethics and fraud training in Canberra, at STOs and at posts overseas; and
- providing advice to staff and work units on conduct and ethics, conflicts of interest and fraud management policy; and on possible responses to identified or alleged misconduct in the workplace.
2.1.3 EES’s ethical advisory role is central to its work. Staff and work units are encouraged to contact EES if they are uncertain about the ethical implications of a proposed course of action or about whether they have a real or apparent conflict of interest. This is sound risk management practice, and consistent with the department’s culture of appropriate reflection, disclosure and discussion on ethical issues.
2.1.4 In addition to its advisory role, EES investigates allegations of misconduct in the department in response to reports from staff, members of the public, media and other sources (including anonymous reports). It also refers allegations of criminal or other unlawful behaviour in the department to relevant law enforcement authorities. Staff wishing to report alleged misconduct should contact EES via email@example.com.
2.1.5 Staff can be assured that any information provided to EES in good faith will be treated confidentially in accordance with relevant Commonwealth legislation.
2.1.6 Staff may contact EES on exts 1557, 3713, 2318 or 9467, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com for conflict of interest issues). EES is located at 44 Sydney Avenue on the ground floor.
2.2 Discussing Ethical Issues at Post
2.2.1 Post management is encouraged to set aside a regular agenda item in their staff meetings for discussion of conduct and ethics issues and implementation of conduct and ethics policies at their post.
2.3 Audit and Risk Committee
2.3.1 The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) provides independent assurance and advice to the Secretary and the Performance, Risk and Resourcing Committee (PRRC) on the department’s risk management and fraud control arrangements, internal control framework, public accountability responsibilities and internal and external audit activities.
2.4 The Australian Public Service Commission
2.4.1 The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) is an APS agency which provides policy advice on accountability, ethics, probity and openness, and promotes systems and approaches to deliver these objectives.
2.4.2 The APSC actively promotes the APS Values and Employment Principles and the APS Code of Conduct and has a significant role in contributing to public interest disclosure legislation and information law.
2.4.3 The APSC's website (www.apsc.gov.au) provides a range of useful publications relevant to the APS Values and Employment Principles and the APS Code of Conduct.
APSC Ethics Advisory Service
2.5.4 The APSC’s Ethics Advisory Service complements the services and arrangements the department has in place (including EES) to promote ethical behaviour and manage conduct and ethics issues in the APS.
2.5.5 The Ethics Advisory Service is available to all APS employees, including agency heads and SES staff, who wish to discuss and seek advice on ethical issues that occur in the workplace and who wish to make sound decisions around these issues. The Ethics Advisory Service includes a call and e-mail centre where APS employees can seek advice on ethical issues, on a confidential basis if necessary. The call and e-mail centre is open Monday-Friday 0830-1700 AEST. Its contact details are: