Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

Open Speak-Up Cultures and Work Practices

Difficult discussions that deliver good outcomes will not occur unless agencies have corporate cultures, systems and work practices that encourage and legitimise open, 
speak-up discussion

Actions to develop and promote open speak-up cultures, systems and practices in agencies include:

  • Leadership and culture: Senior management who “walk the talk” by showing they:
    • Are personally receptive to and act on suggestions, alternative points of views, and others’ opinions
    • Expect their agency to have an open speak-up culture and practices that enable and legitimise the provision and discussion of frank and fearless advice without fear of intimidation or other negative repercussions, and that they personally encourage employees to provide frank and fearless advice
    • Expect employees to recognise that, once the advice is given (to the Government, Minister or agency head) and a decision is made, then it is the responsibly of employees to implement those decisions
  • Governance arrangements: The agency has ethics policies and procedures and specified executives who are responsible for leading their implementation and monitoring
  • Human Resources: Recruitment, professional development and promotion practices encourage open speak-up practices (including dialogue, feedback and giving frank and fearless advice)
  • Communications within the agency and to customers and stakeholders outside the agency that reinforce the importance of open speak up practices including dialogue, feedback and giving frank and fearless advice
  • Measurement: The agency measures indicators of an open, speak up culture and practices.  For example, three indicators (employees’ views about the provision of frank and impartial advice to government; senior management listening to the views of employees; and managers encouraging and valuing employee input) are measured every two years in the Public Service Commission’s sector-wide People Matter Survey
  • Continuous improvement: The agency has a culture, leaders and practices that actively learn from best practice within and outside the agency, and implements that best practice throughout the agency