Integrity

Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

Scenario 10 - Direction by ministerial staff

Ahmed is in charge of an agency rolling out a new service to the community. Rita is a key and valued member of Ahmed’s team but is getting behind in her work despite working long hours.

Ahmed talks to Rita and becomes aware, for the first time, that Cherie, a new adviser in the Minister’s office, is asking Rita to resolve complaints from constituents about the rollout. Rita says she knows Cherie socially and is happy to help, but fixing the problems is very time consuming and disruptive. 

What should Ahmed do?

  1. Tell Rita that she needs to do whatever Cherie wants?
  2. Advise Cherie that all requests should be made to him, consistent with the protocol with the Minister’s office?
  3. Discuss the matter with the Minister’s Chief of Staff requesting that all incoming ministerial staff are aware of the protocol?
  4. Advise the Minister’s office that all requests must be made by the Minister to the agency head?
  5. Tell Rita to pass on Cherie’s requests to him. Raise the matter at an agency executive meeting to gauge whether there are problems with the rollout program or protocol, then discuss with the Minister’s Chief of Staff?


About the possible answers

Re: a.

No; Government sector employees are under the direction of their department/agency head and cannot be directed by ministerial staff. Departments and agencies should have agreed protocols for transparent working relations with the Minister’s office. This should provide guidance on when a formal process is required or mandatory, and include actions to be taken by employees when directed by ministerial staff.

Re: b.

Departments and agencies should have agreed protocols for transparent working relations with the Minister’s office. This should clearly identify the appropriate contact officers.

Re: c.

Departments and agencies should have agreed protocols for transparent working relations with the Minister’s office. This should clearly identify the appropriate contact officers.

Re: d.

No; Government sector employees are under the direction of their department/agency head and cannot be directed by ministerial staff. However, requiring all requests to be made through the Minister to the department/agency head would be impractical, inefficient and an impediment to good government.

Departments and agencies should have agreed protocols for transparent working relations with the Minister’s office.

Re: e.

THE BEST ANSWER FOR YOUR WORKPLACE?

Departments and agencies should have agreed protocols for transparent working relations with the Minister’s office, which include regular meetings. The protocols should be reviewed and improved in consultation with the Minister’s office.