Under the Local Government Act 2009 (QLD), employees of Council have an obligation to comply with a Code of Conduct. Generally, Council’s Code of Conduct applies to all Council employees, regardless of their status, role or position as well as Council contractors and volunteers. Whilst a Code will not cover every situation, the ethics, values, principles, standards and behaviours outlined are a reference point for employees to help make good decisions.
The four principles within the Code of Conduct come from the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 and include:
- Integrity and impartiality;
- Promoting the public good;
- Commitment to the system of government; and
- Accountability and transparency.
The First Principle – Integrity and Impartiality
Generally, the first principle can require the following standards of behaviour:
- Conflicts of interest; when making decisions you must declare any conflicts of interest that could affect your objectivity in carrying out your duties.
- Influences on decision-making; All decisions need to be, and be seen to be, fair and transparent.
- Secondary employment; employees must meet particular requirements in order to undertake private employment outside their Council role.
- Public comments on Council business; employees must refer to relevant Council policies and procedures prior to making public comments.
- Advice given to Elected Officials; when requests for advice are made, these must be consistent with an ‘Acceptable Requests Guidelines’.
- Behaviour towards each other; this usually requires that employees treat others with trust, respect, honesty, fairness, sensitivity and dignity. Team members are expected to work co-operatively with fellow employees and actively and willingly take part in team activities.
The Second Principle – Promoting the Public Good
Generally, the second principle requires the following standards of behaviour:
- Customer service; employees are expected to strive to provide excellent customer service and treat members of the public equitably, and with honesty, fairness, sensitivity and dignity.
- Fairness to suppliers; Council will have established procedures and delegations of authority for the procurement of goods and services, which reflect sound contracting principles as per relevant legislation.
- Public money; employees must maintain high standards of accountability if they collect and use public money. Employees should not borrow or use Council money for private purposes.
- Intellectual property; employees must respect the copyrights, trademarks and patents of suppliers and other organisations outside Council.
- Concern for the environment; employees have a responsibility to protect the natural environment, creating healthy surroundings for their community.
The Third Principle – Commitment to the System of Government
Generally, the third principle requires the following standards of behaviour:
- Acting within the law; employees of Council are expected to comply with applicable legislation, awards, certified agreements, Council policies and local laws.
- Raising concerns; employees have a right to comment on or raise concerns about Council policies, procedures, practices or priorities that impact on their employment. This must be undertaken in a reasonable and constructive way.
- Privacy; Council maintains information about individuals, businesses and commercial issues which is private and sensitive. Employees should only access personal information and records they require to perform their official Council duties.
The Fourth Principle – Accountability and Transparency
Generally, the fourth principle requires the following set of behaviour:
- Using Council assets; an employee must take good care of any assets in their possession and ensure they are used economically and efficiently.
- Diligence care and attention; employees should ensure that they carry out their duties honestly, responsibly, in a conscientious manner and to the best of their ability.
- Workplace health and safety; Council employees are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure their own health and safety in the workplace. Employees also have a duty of care to both fellow employees and members of the public.