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Managing risks to do with former employees

It's a good idea for agencies to develop procedures to highlight any conflicts that may arise when an employee intends to separate from the APS.

4.1 What are the risks?

Former employees might reach back to the agency to seek inside information, favours or assistance from previous work colleagues. A post-employment job or contract may be given to them in exchange for an advantage they have provided while still a public servant. They may inappropriately disclose information.

Risks can also arise when separating employees are not properly removed from access to IT systems or have not returned equipment such as passes or laptop computers. Other risks arise due to the increasing numbers of employees who bring their own IT equipment, such as laptop computers and USB drives, into the workplace, or undertake work from home.

Risks relating to post-separation employment include former employees who might:

  • use their position to influence decisions and advice in favour of the prospective new employer while still employed
  • reveal confidential Commonwealth information to their new employer or provide other information that might give the new employer a business advantage
  • use their knowledge of the APS and other areas of the Commonwealth public sector and the Government to lobby for their new employer in dealing with the Commonwealth.

4.2 Mitigating the risks

Steps can be taken to mitigate any conflict of interest while the individual who has decided to leave is still employed in the APS, including:

  • re-allocation of the employee's duties
  • temporary movement to a different work area
  • taking leave until the new appointment commences.

The Lobbying Code of Conduct prevents former Senior Executive Service, or equivalent, employees from engaging in lobbying Government representatives on any matters in which they have had official dealings in their last 12 months of APS employment. This restriction applies for a 12 month period after their separation from the APS.

Having sound exit protocols in place, including exit interviews and ensuring employees know the rules prohibiting release of certain information, can help reduce the risk.