The Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector to which all public sector employees are bound, and is issued in accordance with the Public Sector Act 2009.
The Code of Ethics was updated to reflect the changes to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 that came into effect on 7 October 2021.
Further information about the changes to the Act, which is now the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 (ICAC Act), can be viewed on the Attorney-General’s Department website.
The Code is divided into four sections:
- Application of the Code, including the roles of chief executives and other organisational leaders
- Four foundations of public service: Democracy, Impartiality, Accountability, and Diversity
- The Public Sector Values
- The Professional Conduct Standards – the Code’s disciplinary provisions, contravention of which may constitute misconduct under the PS Act.
Changes to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (ICAC Act) came into effect on 7 October 2021, making the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) a standalone independent body and creating an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
All public sector employees still have a responsibility to report corruption, misconduct, and maladministration.
Under the legislation, public sector employees must report to the OPI any conduct in public administration that they think is corrupt. This includes a public officer breaching their duty to act honestly in their role at all times, as well as:
- abuse of public office
- bribery or corruption of public officers
- threats of reprisals against public offices
- demanding or requiring a benefit on the basis of public office
- offences relating to appointment of public office.
Misconduct and maladministration
ICAC will no longer investigate complaints about misconduct and maladministration in public administration, but instead these are to be referred to the South Australian Ombudsman for investigation.
Public sector employees are also no longer mandated to report misconduct or maladministration in public administration.
However, for the benefit of the public sector and the South Australian community, all public sector employees are strongly encouraged to report any breaches of these matters to the OPI.
The definition of misconduct has also changed and must meet all four criteria:
- The public officer’s breach contravened a code of conduct.
- The breach was intentional and serious.
- The breach happened while acting in their capacity as a public officer.
- The public officer’s breach could result in disciplinary action.
The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment will update information on the Code of the Ethics and the online Code of Ethics awareness program shortly in light of this legislative change.
Further information about the changes to the Act, which is now the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012, can be viewed on the Attorney-General’s Department website.
Each person employed in the public sector is responsible for familiarising themselves and following the Code. To assist in developing this understanding, an online Code of Ethics Awareness Training Presentation has been developed.
While the program is now available at the link below, South Australian public sector agencies are responsible for advising their employees as to how they should access and record their completion of the program, as well as any other agency requirements that may be applicable.