The Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector ('the Code'), to which all public sector employees are bound by, is issued in accordance with the Public Sector Act 2009 ('the PS Act'), where it is referred to as the Code of Conduct.

The Code, which came into effect in July 2015, builds on the principles outlined in the PS Act and sets out the professional standards expected of every employee.

Code of Ethics

Please note that the Code of Ethics is currently under review following changes to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption 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:

  1. The public officer’s breach contravened a code of conduct.
  2. The breach was intentional and serious.
  3. The breach happened while acting in their capacity as a public officer.
  4. 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.

online learning module

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.

Public Sector Code of Ethics, Erma Ranieri, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, talks about the importance of the Public Sector Code of Ethics.

The Code costs $2.00+GST per copy, plus a delivery fee that will be determined based on the size of the order and the delivery address. The minimum order quantity is 20. Please contact us if you would like to order more than 2,000 copies.

Once your order has been placed, you will receive a confirmation email, and we will contact the nominated billing person to confirm the invoice total.

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