What is a direction?

A direction is a legal instrument given pursuant to section 13 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act).

The Public Service Commissioner may, for the purposes of exercising his or her functions or ensuring compliance with the GSE Act or its associated Regulation or Rules, give a direction in writing to the head of a government sector agency on a specific matter in relation to the employees of that agency.

Before giving a direction, the Public Service Commissioner must consult the relevant agency head(s) to whom the direction is to be given and such other persons affected by the direction as the Commissioner considers appropriate.

The head of the government sector agency to whom a direction is given under section 13 of the GSE Act must comply with the direction. However, the head of a separate Public Service agency (as listed in Schedule 1 to the GSE Act) is not required to comply with a direction if the head considers that the direction is not consistent with the independent exercise of statutory functions by the head and the agency. The head is required to report to any Parliamentary Committee that oversees the exercise of those functions on the reason for any non-compliance with the substantive employment outcomes sought by a direction.

Directions given under section 13 of the GSE Act must not be inconsistent with the GSE Act (or its associated Regulation and Rules) or with the principal objectives of the Public Service Commissioner; and must be made publicly available by the Public Service Commissioner a soon as practicable after being given.

Prior to the commencement of the GSE Act on 24 February 2014, Public Service Commissioner directions were issued pursuant to section 3J of the now-repealed Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002.

Note that a ‘directive’ is not a direction, but a policy document which provides mandatory policy guidance. Directives are available in the Policy Directory.

Directions given to date

The Public Service Commissioner has given the following directions:


Public Service Commissioner Direction No 1 of 2015 - requiring agency heads to implement The Code of Ethics and Conduct for NSW government sector employees and to require employees to comply with the Code.

Public Service Commissioner Direction No 2 of 2015 - requiring agency heads to implement the NSW Government Sector Executive Relocation Expenses Framework.


Public Service Commissioner Direction No 1 of 2014 - requiring agency heads to implement minimum standards for the management of gifts and benefits in the NSW government sector by 1 September 2015.


Public Service Commissioner Direction No 1 of 2013 - requiring public sector agency heads to provide advice of organisation-specific approaches taken to understand the extent of, and respond to, bullying in agencies.