Ethics Advisory Service: Client Service Charter
This Client Service Charter sets out the services that the Ethics Advisory Service (the Service) will provide, and the standard clients can expect of those services.
This charter will be reviewed as needed, including in response to significant policy changes or government priorities.
The Service aims to support ethical decision-making in the Australian Public Service (APS), in line with Australian Public Service Commissioner’s statutory functions, and the Australian Public Service Commission’s strategic priorities to uphold high standards of integrity and conduct in the APS.
The Service is available to all APS employees, including Agency Heads and senior executives.
- Information, policy advice and guidance on the application of the APS Values and Code of Conduct, and the APS misconduct framework, consistent with the:
- Options, considerations, and strategies to help APS employees work through ethical issues and dilemmas, and to assist them to make sound judgements and choices.
We do not provide:
- An avenue for:
- Reporting, handling, investigating, or resolving complaints or allegations of misconduct (unless the matter falls within the remit of the Commissioner’s statutory functions).
- Reviewing, disputing, or providing determinations on:
- The merits or outcome of any misconduct, allegations, investigations or decisions; or
- Whether a particular scenario is ethical or could be a breach of the APS Code of Conduct.
- Case management or advocacy.
- Advice on:
- Fields requiring specialised consideration of ethical issues (eg: via ethics boards).
- Legal, technical and operational aspects of APS employment policy.
- Other aspects of public sector legislation, policy or management.
- Internal agency policies and processes (unless the request comes from an Agency Head, a senior executive or an agency corporate management area).
- Counselling, nor can we act as a replacement for an agency’s Employee Assistance Program.
The service you can expect from us
when we serve you, we will:
- Respond to:
- Telephone calls promptly.
- Emails by close of business the next working day.
- If we cannot fully answer your query in that time, we will advise you of when a substantive response can be expected. In doing so, we may need to conduct further research or seek advice from other staff in the Commission prior to providing you with a response.
- Treat you with respect and courtesy.
- Explain our role and what we can and cannot do.
- If we cannot assist you, we will try to direct you to other avenues of assistance, where appropriate and practicable.
- Respect your right to remain anonymous, if you wish*.
- Provide advice on a confidential basis, and treat information that is disclosed with respect*.
- Collect, store, use and disclose personal information only in accordance with Australian law.
(* Other than in exceptional circumstances – see below).
In ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ we may need to:
- Refer an issue to the relevant Agency Head or body. For instance:
- Where claims of a serious nature and/or involving an imminent risk have been identified, we may refer an issue to an Agency Head, the Australian Federal Police or other such relevant body.
- Where a pattern of calls or inquiries from an agency raises concerns that a serious problem might exist, the Australian Public Service Commission may also draw the matter directly to the attention of the relevant Agency Head.
- Limit or cease engagement with clients who abuse or harass us; or who continue to engage with the Service after being advised that the service is unable to provide further assistance on a particular matter.
You can help us by:
- Providing your name (or a pseudonym), agency, classification level and location.
- This is not mandatory, and as noted above, the Service will accept anonymous calls.
- This data is primarily collected for statistical purposes and is stored on the Commission’s protected network. The Commission produces statistical reports for internal monitoring and reporting purposes, and data is aggregated in such a way that individuals cannot be identified.
- Providing accurate and complete information.
- Treating our staff with respect and courtesy.
- Advice provided by the Service is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
- Additionally, the Service cannot direct you to seek legal advice, or refer you to legal services.
- Agency Heads remain responsible for ethical standards in their agencies; conducting Code of Conduct investigations in accordance with their own Code of Conduct procedures; and for determining breaches of the Code of Conduct and any relevant sanctions.
- Any decision or action taken on the basis of advice provided by the Service will be the responsibility of the individual or agency client.
Feedback about our services
We are committed to continuing to improve our work processes and services and encourage your feedback so that the Service can improve and grow, and to continue to meet the needs of the Australian Public Service. If you would like to provide feedback on the service you have received, please inform us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A review of our performance against this Service Charter will be undertaken periodically.
Enquiries: Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm AEST
Phone: 02 6202 3737
If you would like us to contact you, please call or email us with your contact details.