Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

Relationship to department and agency codes of ethics and conduct

This Code applies to NSW government sector employees and heads of government sector agencies, irrespective of the department or agency for which they are working. Agency heads may choose to extend this Code's application to contractors and volunteers engaged by the agency, if appropriate.

Agency heads may choose to extend this Code's application to contractors and volunteers engaged by the agency, if appropriate.

Departments and agencies may supplement this Code – but not alter or subtract from it - with requirements and advice specific to their organisation’s operating environment and business risks. This material may be incorporated into this Code to form a single consolidated document, or published separately.

The Public Service Commission (02 9272 6000) is available to advise on how to integrate agency codes of ethics and conduct with this sector-wide Code.


The Code may be amended from time to time by the Public Service Commissioner.


A principle of the Ethical Framework for the government sector is to uphold the law.  The law includes, but is not limited to:

  • Government Sector Employment Act 2013 sections 25 and 30 (regarding the general conduct and management of organisations in accordance with the core values) and section 63 (regarding workforce diversity and the integration of workforce diversity into agency workforce planning)
  • Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 sections 11 and 45C (regarding the system of internal control over the financial and related operations of agencies)
  • Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (regarding equal employment opportunity and equal access
    to services)
  • Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (regarding public access arrangements to agency information)
  • Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (regarding receiving, assessing and dealing with public interest disclosures)
  • Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (regarding reporting of any matter suspected on reasonable grounds to involve corrupt conduct and to comply with any requirement or direction of the ICAC in relation to a referral of matters by the ICAC)
  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (regarding the protection of personal information, and the protection of the privacy of individuals generally)
  • Public Works and Procurement Act 1912 (regarding the procurement of goods and services by government agencies)
  • Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (regarding the fair and responsible handling of health information)
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (regarding the health and safety of employees and the maintenance of healthy and safe workplaces)
  • Government Advertising Act 2011 (regarding requirements to issue advertising compliance certificates)
  • Ombudsman Act 1974 (regarding obligations to cooperate with investigations by the Ombudsman and obligations relating to reportable conduct concerning child protection matters)
  • State Records Act 1998 (regarding the creation, management and protection of agency records and public access to those records)
  • Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (regarding obligations relating to the care and protection of, and provision of services to, children and young persons, including obligations relating to exchange of information and co-ordination of services between agencies)
  • Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (regarding obligations to obtain checks and clearances for employees engaged in child-related work)
  • Crimes Act 1900 (regarding criminal offences).