Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

3.1 Difficult Decisions - Introduction

Every day NSW government sector employees make difficult decisions that take into account government policies, agency business priorities, resource availability, employee requirements, stakeholder interests and/or customer needs. 

This guide has been designed to assist government sector employees to make two common types of difficult decisions ethically:

  • Where there is a clearly defined objective and choice of actions, but disagreement about which to choose
  • Where there are multiple, apparently conflicting, objectives, and uncertainty about how to achieve those objectives.

This guide provides simple, practical decision-making tools for these two situations:

  • The Decision Process Tool – for use when there is clarity about the objective to be achieved, but disagreement about the means to meet that objective
  • The Complex Decisions Tool – for use when there is uncertainty about the objective or objectives to be achieved.

These tools are designed so they:

  • Will assist all employees to make better, ethically-informed decisions that are consistent with the Ethical Framework for the government sector
  • Will help to articulate, defend and provide transparency for decisions
  • Can be tailored to meet specific circumstances 
  • Can be used by individual decision makers or by groups.