Frequently asked questions
Non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality provisions
Why do agencies need to consult the Commissioner before entering into an agreement settling a dispute about sexual harassment including non‑disclosure or confidentiality provisions?
The intention of this provision is to ensure greater accountability and transparency in the use of non-disclosure agreements or confidentiality provisions within the APS, and provide an advisory role for the Commissioner as a neutral party. Agency Heads retain decision-making power in these matters. Agencies can contact email@example.com for further information.
How should agencies notify the Commissioner of agreements that are for settling disputes about employment matters and include non‑disclosure or confidentiality provisions?
As part of the Commission’s annual APS Agency Survey, agencies are asked to report on the number of agreements entered into in the last financial year that is with a person who is or was an APS employee and settles a dispute about a matter that relates to the person’s APS employment and limits the person’s freedom to disclose information about the matter, the dispute or the settlement.
Can I use a merit list/ pool created before 1 February 2022 for 18 months (even where it would have expired at 12 months under the previous Commissioner’s Directions?
Under the Commissioner’s Directions 2022 where an agency makes a decision that a vacancy exists after 1 February 2022, it can be filled using a merit list/pool from a vacancy notified in the Public Service Gazette within the previous 18 months.
Does this include merit lists/ pools created by a Parliamentary Service Department?
Note: APS agencies cannot share merit lists/ pools with a Parliamentary Service Department until the equivalent of the Commissioner’s Directions are amended to enable reciprocal sharing with APS agencies.
What if an agency has only notified candidates on a merit list/pool that their details may be shared with other agencies for a period of 12 months after the date the vacancy was notified in the Public Service Gazette?
At the time of sharing a merit list/ pool, agencies will need to consider whether to confirm with a candidate their agreement for their details to be shared for the longer period.
Gazettal of employment decisions
When can a person’s name be excluded from notification of a termination decision on the Public Service Gazette?
Generally, the position is that a person’s name must be included in a notification of an employment decision (including termination decisions) in the Public Service Gazette.
The Commissioner’s Directions 2016 already provided Agency Heads with the discretion to decide not to include a person’s name in a notification because of the person’s work-related or personal circumstances.
The Commissioner’s Directions 2022 provide that, in cases of notification of termination for breach of the Code of Conduct, in deciding to exclude person’s name, the Agency Head needs to be satisfied that publishing the name is not necessary to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the APS.
This provision permits Agency Heads to exclude a person’s name in circumstances where publication of the person’s name would not be rationally connected or proportionate to achieving the objective of maintaining confidence in the integrity of the APS. Agency Heads are expected to use this provision only in limited circumstances where it may warrant it, for example, where a person’s safety may be compromised by the publication of their name.
Importantly, where a person’s name has been excluded from notification for any reason, the Commissioner’s Directions 2022 require Agency Heads to notify the Commissioner of the person’s name. This will ensure there is accountability in the process and that the exclusion of the person’s name is appropriate in the circumstances.
SES conduct matters
Why do agencies need to consult the Commissioner on SES conduct matters and sanctions?
The intention of this provision is to support greater consistency in the handling of misconduct investigations and sanctions, with the aim of strengthening trust in the SES and in the integrity of the APS. Agency Heads retain decision-making power in these matters. Agencies can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Does the requirement to engage new employees into APS on probation include non-ongoing and short-term engagements?
Yes. An Agency Head may waive the probation requirement if they are satisfied is it reasonable to do so. For example, where a short-term engagement is for timeframe less than an agency’s probation period, an Agency Head may decide to waive probation.
Do I need to apply probation to an ongoing APS employee transferring to my agency (on a section 26 transfer)?
No, probation is only a requirement for employees engaged into the APS. A condition of engagement cannot be applied once an employee is engaged, including where the employee transfers between APS agencies.
If the employee has not completed their probation period, then the condition of engagement may be transferred to the receiving agency.
Further guidance on probation can be found at Probation in the APS.
Who needs to complete integrity training and within what time period?
The Commissioner’s Directions 2022 mandate that all employees who are new to the APS need to complete foundational integrity training. New ongoing APS employees are required to complete integrity training within 6 months of being engaged. New non‑ongoing APS employees are required to complete integrity training as soon as practicable after being engaged.
Is there a specific integrity training program that needs to be completed?
The Commission has made available an integrity e-learning module – Integrity in the APS – for all agencies to use_._ This training can be accessed via APSLearn or arrangements can be made to load the module onto an agency’s learning management platform.
The Commission also recognises that some APS agencies already provide similar and/or equivalent integrity training. To provide flexibility and to ensure alignment with the Government’s commitment, the Commission has established a process to enable APS agencies to seek endorsement to use their equivalent integrity training. Agencies should contact email@example.com for further information.
Will agencies be required to report on participation rates?
Commencing in 2022, the State of the Service – Agency Survey will be used as a mechanism for agencies to report against the integrity training requirements as stated in the Commissioner’s Directions 2022. Agencies will be asked if they have met the requirement to provide mandatory integrity training to employees that are new to the APS. Participation rates will not be captured at this time.