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Checklist—creating an ethical culture

What an agency can do

Develop and release a policy on the agency's commitment to the APS Values and Code of Conduct and to promoting a strong integrity culture. The policy should:

  • state that unethical conduct and behaviour which breaches the Values and Code will not be tolerated
  • set out the responsibilities of the agency head, senior executives, other managers and employees to create a culture that supports ethical conduct
  • provide a clear view of, and strategies to promote, appropriate standards of behaviour for employees at all levels.

Ensure all employees have easy access to the agency's policies on ethical conduct and behaviour and regularly remind employees of their responsibilities.

Develop and implement policies on:

  • declaring gifts and benefits
  • using social media
  • reasonable use of information and communications technology and other Commonwealth resources
  • conflicts of interest
  • outside and post-separation employment.

Put in place effective risk management policies and procedures.

Develop clear channels for employees to report unethical or corrupt conduct. As far as you are able, keep employees aware of action you have taken to deal with their reports.

Integrate expectations of appropriate behaviour and adherence to the Values and Code into the performance management process.

Provide training in ethical decision-making for all employees, making sure they understand and apply the Values and Code.

Nominate ethics contact officers to provide points of contact for employees to raise ethical issues and to provide a forum for discussion of ethical issues being raised across the agency.

What managers can do

Make sure that your own actions model the Values and the Code, sending clear messages to staff about expected behaviour.

Make sure that you're able to provide advice on:

  • ways for employees to report concerns, including formal and informal processes and external avenues
  • where to go for advice and/or support, for example, employee assistance or counselling services, agency contact officers
  • relevant internal and external review mechanisms.

Assist employees to manage real or potential conflicts of interest.

Report and address misconduct and other unacceptable behaviour in a fair, timely and effective way.

Use induction and probation to ensure new employees clearly understand what is expected of them and the standards of professional behaviour.

Openly discuss ethical dilemmas in the workplace and how you would resolve them.

Be a source of inspiration and guidance, helping other employees resolve ethical issues.

Declare personal interests that may get in the way of ethical decision making.

Reward ethical conduct and the promotion of zero tolerance towards inappropriate behaviour.

What employees can do

Uphold the APS Values and comply with the Code of Conduct.

Display personal integrity and professionalism.

Consider whether you have any conflicts of interest.

Seek guidance when you have difficulties resolving ethical issues.

Raise concerns when you observe conduct that does not appear to conform to ethical standards.