NSW code of conduct: senior bureaucrats must now declare

Eyes are on NSW for the rare release of a completely new sector-wide code of conduct for public sector employees. Graeme Head tells The Mandarin it contains new obligations on senior executives.

Senior New South Wales public sector executives will now have to declare interests, mirroring the rules in other states under a new code of conduct.

Public service commissioner Graeme Head will release the new code as a legally enforceable directive that secretaries and agency heads must implement with a deadline of September this year.

New sector-wide mandatory behaviours require consistency with the values of integrity, trust, service and accountability that were established as a framework in the government sector employment legislation two years ago, and report breaches of that framework. They will also be required to act in the “public interest”. The new code states:

“Acting in the public interest requires leadership, courage and innovation to develop practical recommendations and actions that are consistent with the core values and will help the Government of the day achieve its objectives. Acting in ways that are expedient or convenient, but which do not promote the integrity, trust, service and accountability of the public sector, is not in the public interest.”

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