The special nature of APS employment
Working in the Australian Public Service (APS) is different from employment in other sectors. Public confidence in the APS is essential to the proper functioning of government. Public confidence and trust in the APS relies on its professionalism and adherence to high ethical standards.
Your engagement will be made in accordance with the Public Service Act 1999. That Act also sets out the standards of behaviours required by the APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct—see Attachment A.
Your agency is bound by the Privacy Act 1988. A brief description of what this means for you is at Attachment B.
In addition, provisions of the Crimes Act 1914 and the Criminal Code Act 1995 create offences relevant to Commonwealth officials, which includes APS employees. These offences relate, for example, to disclosure of information and official secrets, abuse of public office and unauthorised access to, or modification of, data held in a Commonwealth computer.
Acknowledgement of professional behaviour
- the importance of acting fairly, impartially and courteously, when dealing with members of the public, and in a way that is sensitive to their needs and backgrounds
- that it is essential to act with respect and courtesy in the workplace
- that the role of the APS is to serve the Government of the day regardless of which political party is in power
- that it is important for everyone I deal with to be able to trust that I will respect their privacy and confidences, and
- that members of the public are entitled to expect that public servants will act ethically.
I also acknowledge that:
- My employment is subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act 1999, and that a failure to comply with any obligation of my employment may result in a finding that I have breached the Code of Conduct and may result in a sanction, including the termination of my employment.
- I am obliged to uphold the reputation of the <Agency> and abide by the APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct.
- I am aware that the <Agency> is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 and I have been made aware of how my personal information may be used and to whom it may be disclosed.
- I have been made aware of the Crimes Act 1914, in particular section 70, disclosure of information by Commonwealth officers and section 79, official secrets and the Criminal Code Act 1995 which sets out a range of offences, including abuse of public office and unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data held in a Commonwealth computer to which access is restricted by an access control system.
- I have received <agency to insert any other inclusions here. This may include key agency documents and useful information>.
- I am aware that this offer of engagement may be cancelled before it takes effect for any reason, including if I supply false or misleading information relevant to my engagement.
Signature: _____________________________________________________________ Date___/___/___
Attachment A : Obligations in the Public Service Act 1999
The APS Values articulate the parliament's expectations of public servants in terms of performance and standards of behaviour. The principles of good public administration are embodied in the APS Values. The APS Values require that we are:
Impartial : The APS is apolitical and provides the Government with advice that is frank, honest, timely and based on the best available evidence.
Committed to service : The APS is professional, objective, innovative and efficient, and works collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government.
Accountable : The APS is open and accountable to the Australian community under the law and within the framework of Ministerial responsibility.
Respectful : The APS respects all people, including their rights and their heritage.
Ethical : The APS demonstrates leadership, is trustworthy, and acts with integrity, in all that it does.
The APS Employment Principles are that the APS is a career-based public service that:
- makes fair employment decisions with a fair system of review
- recognises that the usual basis for engagement is as an ongoing APS employee
- makes decisions relating to engagement and promotion that are based on merit
- requires effective performance from each employee
- provides flexible, safe and rewarding workplaces where communication, consultation, cooperation and input from employees on matters that affect their workplaces are valued
- provides workplaces that are free from discrimination, patronage and favouritism
- recognises the diversity of the Australian community and fosters diversity in the workplace.
Code of Conduct
The APS Code of Conduct requires that an employee must:
- behave honestly and with integrity in connection with APS employment;
- act with care and diligence in connection with APS employment;
- when acting in connection with APS employment, treat everyone with respect and courtesy, and without harassment;
- when acting in connection with APS employment, comply with all applicable Australian laws;
- comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by someone in the employee's Agency who has authority to give the direction;
- maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings that the employee has with any Minister or Minister's member of staff;
- take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent) and disclose details of any material personal interest of the employee in connection with the employee's APS employment;
- use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner and for a proper purpose;
- not provide false or misleading information in response to a request for information that is made for official purposes in connection with the employee's APS employment;
- not improperly use inside information or the employee's duties, status, power or authority:
- to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or an advantage for the employee or any other person; or
- to cause, or to seek to cause, detriment to the employee's Agency, the Commonwealth or any other person.
- at all times behave in a way that upholds the APS Values and Employment Principles, and the integrity and good reputation of the employee's Agency and the APS;
- while on duty overseas, at all times behave in a way that upholds the good reputation of Australia; and
- comply with any other conduct requirement that is prescribed by the regulations.
- Regulation 2.1 imposes a duty on an APS employee not to disclose certain information without authority (i.e. information communicated in confidence or where disclosure could be prejudicial to the effective working of government). See the full text of regulation 2.1 here.
Attachment B: Privacy issues
The <Agency> is bound by the Privacy Act 1988.
Personal information collected by the <Agency> in the course of your engagement process and in the course of your employment will be treated in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles made under that Act. The information will be used to manage your employment with the <Agency>. Some, or all, of this information could be passed on to other relevant areas within the <Agency> or disclosed to the Australian Public Service Commissioner or the Merit Protection Commissioner in the exercise of their functions.
If you move to another APS agency, the personal information held by <Agency> may be passed to your new employing agency.
In addition, certain employment-related personal information is passed to the Australian Public Service Commission for the purposes of maintaining the Australian Public Service Employment Database (APSED). Your personal information may also be provided to other agencies or to service providers including the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency for use in the security clearance process.