Codes of Conduct

Principles of Official Conduct

The Public Sector Principles, part 2 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (the Act), outline the principles of public administration and management, human resource management and conduct.

In particular, section 9 of the Act states:

The principles of conduct that are to be observed by all public sector bodies and employees are that they —

(a) are to comply with the provisions of —

(i) this Act and any other Act governing their conduct; and

(ii) the Commissioner’s instructions, public sector standards and codes of ethics; and

(iii) any code of conduct applicable to the public sector body or employee concerned;


(b) are to act with integrity in the performance of official duties and are to be scrupulous in the use of official information, equipment and facilities; and

(c) are to exercise proper courtesy, consideration and sensitivity in their dealings with members of the public and employees.

The Public Sector Commissioner's functions in relation to official conduct are set out in sections 9, 21 and 22D of the Act. These functions include:

  • establishing public sector standards and ethical codes
  • assisting agencies to comply with those standards and codes
  • monitoring compliance with those standards and codes
  • reporting to Parliament annually on compliance.

The Conduct guide is based on the principles of the Code of Ethics.

All public sector agencies covered by the Public Sector Management Act 1994 must develop, implement and promote a code of conduct. Codes of conduct must be consistent with the Code of Ethics. The Conduct Guide assists agencies to practically apply the Code of Ethics within their workplace.

The PSC’s Conduct Guide provides a framework to assist agencies to develop their own codes of conduct. It sets out the accountability framework established by legislation and across-government requirements such as Premier’s Circulars, Commissioner’s Instructions and Treasurer’s Instructions.

This guide sets out common conduct categories where a public sector employee needs to display the most appropriate behaviour.  Employees  have a responsibility to comply with the accountability framework established by legislation and by Government. These conduct categories areas need to be reflected in your agency’s code of conduct.

Conduct Guide for Boards and Committees

Government requires high standards of all its officers, and these are documented clearly through the Western Australian Public Sector Code of Ethics. Boards and committees that are created for a public purpose must observe and comply with the WA Public Sector Code of Ethics.

The Conduct Guide for Boards and Committees is based on the Western Australian Public Sector Code of Ethics and will assist you to prepare a code of conduct binding on the Board.

Developing a code of conduct: Guide for local government

Under the Local Government Act 1995 all local governments are required to prepare or adopt a code of conduct to be observed by elected members, committee members and employees. This guide is a resource that will assist local governments to develop or review their codes, with particular emphasis on employees. The guide does not replace the need for a local government to identify and incorporate their own legislative and conduct and integrity requirements.

Page last updated 29 June 2016