Declaration of interests
In accordance with section 13(7) of the Code of Conduct contained in the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act), an APS employee must:
- take reasonable steps to avoid any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with the employee's APS employment; and
- disclose details of any material personal interest of the employee in connection with the employee's APS employment.
Agency heads and Senior Executive Service (SES) employees are subject to a specific regime that requires them to submit, at least annually, a written declaration of their own and their immediate family’s financial and other material personal interests.
To be ‘material’, a personal interest needs to be of a type that can give rise to a real or apparent conflict of interest.
- While there is no standard list of items that must be disclosed, the types of interests and relationships that may need to be disclosed include real estate investments, shareholdings, trusts or nominee companies, company directorships or partnerships, involvement in self-managed superannuation funds, other significant sources of income, significant liabilities, gifts, private business, employment, voluntary activities, or social or personal relationships that could or could be seen to impact on an employee’s responsibilities.
- Employees should declare their immediate family’s material personal interests where these could influence, or could reasonably be seen to influence, the decisions taken or the advice given by the employee. This requires the consent of the family member to the collection by the employee’s agency of personal information, and a declaration that the family member is aware of the purpose for which the personal information has been collected and the third parties to whom the personal information may be disclosed.
To whom this declaration must be made will depend on the employee’s role. Generally, SES employees declare their interests to their agency head, and agency heads declare their interests to the Minister. Statutory office holders generally declare their interests to the Minister and in accordance with any requirements in legislation specific to their office.
Declarations need to be revised and resubmitted whenever there is a change in personal circumstances and/or a change in work responsibilities that could involve a new real or apparent conflict of interest.
Agency heads may also require other employees to complete a declaration of interests.
A template that agencies may wish to adapt for this purpose is available below.