Before making any decision on the appropriateness of issuing a code, the State Services Commission (SSC) undertook a comprehensive engagement with Crown entities. The SSC assessed the integrity and conduct provisions that agencies had in force and identified differences in the expectations held of board members and of employees.
This project explored whether setting additional standards could contribute to increased trust in government and confidence in the State Services.
A snapshot of current practices in the Public Service revealed a similar picture to that found in Crown entities. Departments had varied processes to support the Public Service Code of Conduct (www.ssc.govt.nz/code), and had developed additional provisions to suit their agency’s circumstances.
From this information, the Commissioner decided to develop common minimum standards that would be applied as a single code of conduct for State Services agencies. Qualitative research was conducted with State servants and members of the public to identify values and expected standards of behaviour. The research confirmed that the traditional values of the New Zealand public sector were the enduring expectation of most people. These were drafted into a possible code for the State Services.
The draft code then went through a detailed process of consultation. The draft was:
discussed in individual meetings with departments and Crown entities
discussed in meetings with representatives of unions and professional associations, and
posted on the SSC website, with comment on the wording invited.
The feedback from agencies, unions and individuals was taken into account and, where appropriate, the draft was revised to clarify areas of concern.