Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct is the sixth schedule of the Integrity in Public Life Act No. 24 of 2013 and it provides guidelines for persons in public life, in the performance of their duties.
- A person in public life must be politically neutral in the conduct of their duties.
- They must be honest, impartial and efficient and perform their duties in the public’s best interest.
- They must not allow their private interests to be in conflict with their public duties
- They must not use their public positions for personal or private gain.
- They must always conduct themselves in a way that boosts public confidence and trust in the integrity, impartiality and effectiveness of the public service.
- They must maintain confidentiality at all times.
If a person in public life believes that someone is asking them to do something that is unlawful, unethical or improper, they should report it to the relevant authorities.
Remember, Integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.
The complete Code of Conduct is published below
Code of Conduct
1. A person in public life has the duty to take all necessary action to comply with the provisions of this Code.
2. A person in public life should carry out his or her duties in accordance with law, and with these lawful instructions and ethical standards that relate to his or her functions.
3. A person in public life should act in a politically neutral manner and should not attempt to frustrate the lawful policies, decisions or citations of a public authority.
4. A person in public life has the duty to serve loyally, the lawfully constituted national, local or regional authority.
5. A person in public life shall be honest, impartial and efficient and shall perform his or her duties to the best of his or her ability with skill, fairness and understanding having regard only for the public interest and the relevant circumstances of the case.
6. In the performance of his or her duties a person in public life shall not act arbitrarily to the detriment of any person, group or body and shall have regard for the rights, duties and proper interests of all others.
7. A person in public life shall not allow his or her private interest to conflict with his or her public position. It shall be the responsibility of the person in public life to avoid such conflicts of interest, whether real, potential or apparent.
8. A person in public life shall not take advantage of his or her position for his or her private interest.
9. A person in public life shall always conduct himself or herself in such a way that the public’s confidence and trust in the integrity, impartiality and effectiveness of the public service are preserved and enhanced.
10. Having due regard for the right of access to official information, a person in public life shall have a duty to treat appropriately with all necessary confidentiality all information and documents acquired by him or her in the course of, or as a result of, his or her employment.
11. A person in public life who believes that he or she is being required to act in a way which is unlawful, improper, unethical, which involves maladministration, or which is otherwise inconsistent with this Code, should report the matter in accordance with the law.
Conflict of Interest
1. A conflict of interest arises from a situation in which a person in public life has a private interest which can influence, or appear to influence, the impartial and objective performance of his or her official duties.
2. A person in public life private interest includes any advantage to himself or herself, to his or her family, close relatives, friends and persons or organisations with whom he or she has had business for potential relations. It also includes any liability whether financial or work relating thereto.
3. Since the person in public life is usually the only person who knows whether he or she is in that situation, he or she has a personal responsibility to–
(a) be alert to any actual or potential conflict of interest;
(b) take steps to avoid such conflict;
(c) disclose to his or her superiors any such conflict as soon as he or she becomes aware of it;
(d) comply with any final decision to withdraw from the situation or to divest himself or herself of the advantage causing the conflict.
4. Whenever required to do so, a person in public life should declare whether or not he or she has a conflict of interest.
Incompatible Outside Interests
1. A person in public life shall not engage in any activity or transaction or acquire any position or function whether paid or unpaid, that is incompatible with or detracts from the proper performance of his or her duties as a public official. Where it is not clear whether an activity is compatible, he or she should seek advice from the Commission.
2. A person in public life shall comply with any lawful requirement to declare membership of, or association with, organisations that could detract from his or her proper performance of his or her duties as a person in public life.
Political or Public Activity
1. Subject to respect for fundamental and constitutional rights, a person in public life shall ensure that none of his or her political activities or involvement or political or public debates impairs the confidence of the public and his or her employers in his or her ability to perform his or her duties impartially and loyally.
2. In the exercise of his or her duties, a person in public life shall not allow himself or herself to be used for partisan political purposes.
3. A person in public life shall comply with any restrictions in political activity lawfully imposed on certain persons in public life by reason of his or her position or the nature of his or her duties.
Reaction to Improper Offers
If a person in public life is offered an undue advantage he or she should take the following steps to protect himself or herself–
(a) refuse the advantage; there is no need to accept it as evidence;
(b) try to identify the person who made the offer;
(c) avoid lengthy contacts, but knowing the reason for the offer could be useful in evidence;
(d) if the gift cannot be refused or returned to the sender, it should be preserved, but handled as little as possible;
(e) obtain witnesses if possible, such as colleagues working nearby;
(f) prepare as soon as possible a written record of the attempt preferably in an official notebook;
(g) report the attempt as soon as possible to the Commission;
(h) continue to work normally, particularly on the matter in relation to which the undue advantage was offered.
Susceptibility to Influence by Others
1. A person in public life should not allow himself or herself to be put in a position of obligation to return a favour to any person or body; nor should his or her conduct in his or her official capacity or in his or her public life make him or her susceptible to the improper influence of others.
2. The person in public life should not seek to influence for private purposes any person or body including other public officials by using his or her official position or by offering them personal advantages.
Information Held by Public Boards
1. Having respect to the framework provided by any law with respect to access to information held by a public authority, a person in public life shall not disclose information except in accordance with the rules and requirements applying to the authority by which he or she is employed.
2. The person in public life should take appropriate steps to protect the security and confidentiality of information for which he or she is responsible or for which he or she becomes aware.
3. The person in public life should not seek access to information which is inappropriate for him or her to have and he should not make improper use of information which he or she may acquire in the course of, or arising from his or her employment.
4. Equally, a person in public life has a duty not to withhold official information that should properly be released and a duty not to provide information which he or she knows or has reasonable grounds to believe is false or misleading.
5. This Code shall form part of the terms of employment of a person in public life and shall be observed as a terms of employment.
Passed in the House of Representatives this 2nd day of August, 2013.
Acting Clerk to the House of Representatives.
Passed in the Senate this 21st day of August, 2013.
Acting Clerk to the Senate
41. (1) A person who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person in public life is in breach of any provision of the Code of Conduct may make a complaint in writing to the Commission and shall state in the complaint the particulars of the breach including
- the period within which the breach was committed; and
- the names and addresses of person involved in the commission of the breach
(2) A person making a complaint pursuant to subsection
(1) shall produce to the Commission
- evidence to support the complaint including documentary evidence and sworn statements; and
- such other particulars as may be prescribed.
(3) A person making a complaint pursuant to subsection
(1) shall not be liable in civil or criminal proceedings unless it is proved that the complaint was not made in good faith.
42. (1) Where a complaint has been made to the Commission pursuant to section 41, the Commission after examination of the complaint may reject the complaint if the Commission is of the opinion that
- the complaint is frivolous or vexatious; or
- the complaint does not pertain to a matter the Commission is empowered to deal with pursuant to the provisions of this Act.
(2) A complaint shall not be rejected by the Commission without the Commission giving the person who made the complaint a reasonable opportunity to be heard.
43.(1) Where upon an examination of a complaint made pursuant to section 41, the Commission is of the view that an investigation is necessary, it shall inquire into the matter.
(2) The sittings of the Commission to take evidence or hear submissions in the course of an inquiry pursuant to subsection (1) shall be held in camera.
(3) A person who makes a complaint and the person in public life against whom the complaint is made and the inquiry is being held, shall be entitled to notice of the proceedings of the inquiry and to be represented at the inquiry either personally or by an attorney-at-law.
44.(1) Where pursuant to an investigation conducted pursuant to section 43, the Commission finds that a person in public life breaches a provision of the Code of Conduct, the Commission shall send a report of its findings, for appropriate action
- in the case of the President of the Senate and of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Governor-General;
- in the case of a Senator, to the President of the Senate;
- in the case of a member of the House of Representatives, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
- in the case of a person appointed by the Public Service Commission, to that Commission;
- in the case of a person appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to that Commission; or
- in the case of a person appointed to hold office in a statutory body, to the person or authority having power to appoint that person.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), where the Commission has reason to believe that the evidence before it may constitute a criminal offence, it shall forward a copy of its findings to the Director of Public Prosecution.