Victoria's integrity portal to keep public servants on the right path

By Stephen Easton

June 6, 2017

Integrity signposts designed to keep Victorian public servants on the straight and narrow will be brought together online in a “clear, accessible and easy-to-navigate” format, as the Public Sector Commission turns to awareness-raising.

This year, the VPSC decided to shift focus “from systems and compliance-based projects towards building the awareness and understanding of public sector officials to demonstrate integrity at work”, according to a recent integrity update.

The commission is working on its web resources, which will be accessible through a new integrity portal, and taking a new “more strategic approach” to promoting public sector values and engagement on the topic of integrity.

Specific upcoming projects will focus on encouraging positive workplace culture that reduces bullying, advice on how to turn down gifts from suppliers, and improving how misconduct allegations and grievances are handled.

With resources limited for any public sector commission or anti-corruption commission, there is a lot to be said for a positive approach to public sector integrity that aims to foster a culture of following the rules and doing the right thing, through education and prevention. As the VPSC comments:

“Integrity is often most evident in its absence, and can be eroded quickly by a lack of leadership, by poor organisational culture, or by being considered optional rather than a core responsibility.”

The commission will evaluate its integrity strategy next year using its annual staff surveys, web analytics from the integrity portal, uptake of “values reviews” by agencies and related follow-up surveys. The aim is to see how well it is designed to build “sustained community and government trust” in the VPS:

“This is expected to be demonstrated by better awareness of, and higher responsiveness to, integrity as a core professional responsibility and integral value-based system, beyond a series of policies and processes.”

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