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Corporate goal 3: Promote integrity and accountability

Promote integrity and accountability


Providing leadership to the APS on integrity

[Source of criteria: APSC Corporate Plan 2016–17, page 16.]

Measure: Support the Integrity Agencies Group to ensure that integrity is embedded in the conduct and values of employees. This includes identifying gaps in existing arrangements for dealing with integrity risks.

Result: The Integrity Agencies Group met twice during 2016–17, with support provided by the APSC. Topics discussed included fraud against the Commonwealth, problems and irregularities in government procurement practices, and testing of employees using an insider threat tool.

Measure: Publish practical tools to help managers identify and deal with behaviours that could pose risks to integrity by March 2017.

Result: In November 2016 the Commission published Managing Integrity Risks in the Workplace: a Toolkit.

Measure: Establish a dedicated online presence on the APSC’s website, providing easy access to relevant information and promoting the value of acting with integrity.

Result: The Integrity in the APS webpage is a separate area on the Commission’s website. It provides links to relevant legislation and integrity standards such as the APS Values and Code of Conduct. It also offers a mechanism for APS employees and others to ask questions on the APS Values and Code of Conduct, with de-identified questions and answers posted on the webpage.


Performance analysis—corporate goal 3

The Commission published Managing Integrity Risks in the Workplace: a Toolkit in November 2016. The toolkit is designed to help APS managers identify and deal with workplace behaviours that could pose integrity risks. It does not focus on misconduct; rather, it takes a broad view of integrity and how this quality is fostered in a workplace. It recognises that risks to integrity often come from accidental or thoughtless actions or are the result of inexperience or inadequate policies. The toolkit is a web-based publication that provides tools and resources, information sheets and case studies. It was designed to complement current integrity publications by other agencies.

In November 2016 the Commission consulted with APS agencies and employees as part of a review of our guidance on use of social media and making public comments. Among other things, this review involved the publication of a discussion paper and creation of a dedicated webpage to support consultation with APS agencies and employees. Submissions were received from 15 agencies and 123 employees. In response to the review, revised guidance will be issued in 2017–18. This will include advice targeted directly at the responsibilities of employees and a policy template for agencies.

The Integrity webpage provides answers to employees’ questions as well as links to useful information and guidance material. It is also used to publish short articles on matters relating to public service ethics—for example, conflict of interest, reporting misconduct, applying for jobs in the APS, disclosing information, and reasonable personal use of work IT.

The Ethics Advisory Service received 339 contacts during 2016–17. Numbers were slightly down on the previous year for all categories of query except those concerning management of information. Queries in this area increased from 18 in 2015–16 to 28 in 2016–17. This could be a result of some significant privacy breaches in previous years that raised awareness of data security and privacy in relation to Commonwealth record keeping.