Appendix B - Public Sector Management Act 1994

The office of Public Sector Commissioner is established under s. 16 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act) with the main functions and powers outlined in ss. 21A-24, 45, 46, 49-51, and 97. The Commissioner principally assists the responsible minister (currently the Premier) in the administration of the PSM Act, and is directed by s. 22(1) to act independently in relation to the performance of his functions. The Commissioner is supported in his functions by a department established on and from 28 November 2008, designated as the Public Sector Commission.

Monitoring, evaluation and reporting under the PSM Act

This report fulfills the requirements under s. 22D(1) of the PSM Act for the Commissioner to report annually to each House of Parliament on:

  • the state of administration and management of the public sector
  • the compliance or non-compliance of public sector bodies and employees, either generally or in particular with:
    • the human resource management principles set out in s. 8(1)(a)(b) and (c) of the PSM Act
    • the principles of conduct set out in s. 9 of the PSM Act
    • public sector standards
    • codes of ethics
    • codes of conduct
  • any other matters arising out of the performance of the Commissioner’s functions that the Commissioner considers are of such significance as to require reporting.

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Human resource management principles

Section 8 of the PSM Act sets out the human resource management principles. The principles relevant to this report are:

  • 8(1)(a) all selection processes are to be directed towards, and based on, a proper assessment of merit and equity
  • 8(1)(b) no power with regard to human resource management is to be exercised on the basis of nepotism or patronage
  • 8(1)(c) employees are to be treated fairly and consistently and are not to be subjected to arbitrary or capricious administrative acts.

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Principles of conduct

Section 9 of the PSM Act sets out the principles of conduct that public sector bodies and employees must observe. They are:

  • 9(a) to comply with the provisions of:
    • the PSM Act and any other Act governing their conduct
    • Commissioner’s instructions, public sector standards and codes of ethics
    • any code of conduct applicable to the public sector body or employee concerned
  • 9(b) to act with integrity in the performance of official duties and to be scrupulous in the use of official information, equipment and facilities
  • 9(c) to exercise proper courtesy, consideration and sensitivity in their dealings with members of the public and employees.

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Public sector standards in human resource management

The six standards issued by the Commissioner set out the minimum standards of merit, equity and probity to be complied with in the public sector. The standards have been developed and communicated to public sector bodies to achieve the outcomes described below.

  • Performance management standard
    The performance of all employees is fairly assessed to achieve the work-related requirements of public sector bodies while paying proper regard to employee interests.
  • Redeployment standard
    Redeployment decisions are equitable and take into account public sector bodies’ work-related requirements and employee interests.
  • Termination standard
    Termination decisions are fair and all entitlements are provided.
  • Discipline standard
    The discipline process observes procedural fairness.
  • Grievance resolution standard
    The process used by employing authorities to resolve or redress employee grievances is fair.
  • Employment standard (Commissioner’s Instruction No. 1)
    The four principles of merit, equity, interest and transparency are complied with when filling a vacancy (by way of recruitment, selection, appointment, secondment, transfer and temporary deployment [acting]) in the WA public sector.

Breach of standard claims

Where a person believes that a decision made by a public sector body has breached a standard (other than the Discipline standard) and they have been adversely affected by the breach, they may seek relief by lodging a breach of standard claim once the body has made a reviewable decision covered by a standard. The Commissioner administers a conciliation and review process to resolve breach of standard claims which is governed by the Public Sector Management (Breaches of Public Sector Standards) Regulations 2005.

Details of the breach of standard claims process and the public sector standards are available on the Public Sector Commission’s website.

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Code of Ethics

On 3 July 2012, Commissioner’s Instruction No. 7 - Code of Ethics became effective and replaced the Western Australian Public Sector Code of Ethics issued on 1 February 2008 by the former Commissioner for Public Sector Standards.

The Code of Ethics (issued by the Commissioner under s. 21(1)(b) of the PSM Act) sets out the minimum standards of conduct and integrity to be complied with by all public sector bodies and employees. It applies to all public sector employees, including chief executive officers, chief employees and ministerial staff, and public sector bodies covered by the PSM Act, which includes members of government boards established under their own legislation.

The three key principles of the Code of Ethics are:

  • Personal integrity - we act with care and diligence and make decisions that are honest, fair, impartial, and timely, and consider all relevant information.
  • Relationships with others - we treat people with respect, courtesy and sensitivity and recognise their interests, rights, safety and welfare.
  • Accountability - we use the resources of the state in a responsible and accountable manner that ensures the efficient, effective and appropriate use of human, natural, financial and physical resources, property and information.

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Codes of conduct

Codes of conduct set out the expected standard of conduct within a public sector body and are consistent with the principles of the Code of Ethics. Commissioner’s Instruction No. 8 - Codes of conduct and integrity training requires all public sector bodies to develop, implement and promote a code of conduct and to ensure compliance with that code.

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Appendix A - Monitoring and evaluation framework

Appendix C - Public Interest Disclosure Act 2003


Page last updated 10 December 2013