Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

1.2 The Ethical framework for the government sector

Part 2 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 establishes the Ethical framework for the government sector.


Section 6 of the Act identifies the overarching objective of the Ethical Framework, namely to:

  1. recognise the role of the government sector in preserving the public interest, defending public value and adding professional quality and value to the commitments of the Government of the day, and
  2. establish an ethical framework for a merit-based, apolitical and professional government sector that implements the decisions of the Government of the day.

Government sector core values and principles

Section 7 of the Act identifies the core values and the principles that guide their implementation:

General Provisions

Section 8 of the Act specifies three general provisions:

  • The Public Service Commissioner has the function of promoting and maintaining the government sector core values
  • There is no hierarchy among the core values and each is of equal importance
  • Nothing in the Framework gives rise to, or can be taken into account in, any civil cause of action.

Secretaries, heads of agencies and other senior executives

Secretaries of Departments (section 25) and heads of Public Service agencies (section 30) are responsible for the general conduct and management of their organisations in accordance with the government sector core values of the Ethical Framework. Other senior executives have similar obligations in their areas of responsibility as specified in senior executive contracts, work level standards etc.