Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

Governance in the NSW government sector

The system of governance in NSW which balances the responsibilities and accountabilities of government sector agencies and employees is multi-faceted and multi-layered. 

The governance framework for the NSW government sector includes:

  • Legislation
    The functions, powers, authorities, obligations and duties of agencies identified in the legislation that constitutes those agencies; and the additional responsibilities and accountabilities of agencies identified in legislation including the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 and the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983
  • Authority
    The powers of Ministers to control and direct Department Secretaries and agencies, and the limits of those powers; and the legal, procedural and operational requirements on Department Secretaries and heads of agencies to account to their Minister and the Government for the conduct, finances, operations and service delivery of their agencies
  • Directives, standards and guidelines
    The official directives (such as those made by the Public Service Commissioner on government sector employment matters), official standards of conduct (such as accounting, audit and employment standards) and guidelines that operationalise government functions, powers, authorities, obligations and duties into required procedures and practices to be carried out by employees in their daily work
  • Delegations
    The delegation of powers, responsibilities and duties within agencies; and the requirement that employees are accountable for their actions, expenditure and achievements to their managers who are in turn accountable to the Department Secretary or head of agency
  • Oversight bodies
    The Parliamentary and other authorities (such as the Public Service Commissioner, the Auditor-General, the Ombudsman and the Independent Commission Against Corruption) who oversight, investigate and recommend changes to improve the accountability and operations of the government sector.

The Ethical Framework provides the guidance and criteria to understand and comply with these multiple layers of governance.   Specifically, the Ethical Framework provides the legislated objective, values and principles for the NSW government sector to:

  • Guide priority setting and decision making
  • Determine what is acceptable conduct by agencies
  • Establish the standards of expected employee behaviour.