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APS Values and the Code of Conduct

Australian Public Service (APS) employees are expected to display high standards of ethical behaviour. APS employees hold positions of trust and have an obligation to ensure that their behaviour, inside and outside the workplace, does not bring their agency or the APS into disrepute.

All APS employees are required to comply with the Code of Conduct. A breach of the Code of Conduct can result in sanctions, ranging from a reprimand to termination of employment.

Code of Conduct investigations involving 717 employees were finalised by agencies during 2015–16. This represents less than 0.5 per cent of the total workforce. This is up from the 557 employees investigated in 2014–15, which represented less than 0.4 per cent of the workforce at the end of that year.

Of the Code of Conduct investigations undertaken in 2015–16, 87 per cent resulted in a finding that the Code of Conduct had been breached. For the previous year, 85 per cent of investigations resulted in a finding of a breach.

The number of Code of Conduct breaches by element in 2015 and 2016 is shown below.

Elements of Code of Conduct breached 2015-16

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 1.

Of the Code of Conduct investigations in 2015–16, 87 per cent resulted in a finding of a breach. Sanctions were imposed in 66 per cent of cases.

In a small number of instances there were some employees who were investigated and sanctioned more than once during the year.

Outcomes of investigations into suspected breaches of the Code of Conduct 2014–15 and 2015–16

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 2.

Seventy-four per cent of employees in cases where a breach was found and a sanction applied in 2015–16 received a reprimand. In most of the cases this was accompanied by another sanction as well.

Thirty-eight per cent of employees who received a sanction for a breach of the Code of Conduct were given a reduction in salary. This result was similar to the previous year.

In the most serious cases a breach of the Code of Conduct results in termination of employment. In 2015–16 87 employees had their employment terminated. This was up from 81 in the previous year.

Sanctions imposed for breach of the Code of Conduct, 2014–15 and 2015–16

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 3.

Results from the 2016 APS employee census show that an overwhelming majority of APS employees believe their colleagues and supervisors act in accordance in with the APS Values. The majority of employees agreed their senior leaders do the same. These results are consistent with last year.

Do colleagues in your immediate workgroup act in accordance with the APS Values in their everyday work? 2015-16

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 4.

Does your supervisor act in accordance with the APS Values in his or her everyday work? 2015-16

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 5.

Do senior leaders (i.e. the SES) in your agency act in accordance with the APS values? 2015-16

Learn more about this chart: view data for Figure 6.