Suggested Policies and Procedures to Comply with the Code

Organisations must maintain policies and procedures that are consistent with the code. Appropriate policies, guidance or training may already be in place for some areas. Inconsistent policies will need to be rewritten, and where necessary new policies written, to reflect the standards that are set out in the code.

The policies and procedures suggested below are listed in four groups; fair, impartial, responsible and trustworthy. The lists are not mandatory or exhaustive. Organisations will need to consider how issues are best addressed in their own code, employment agreements, specific policies, and training.

Links to useful material are provided below. In some cases, the principles or guidance contained in the material remain useful despite references to historical documents such as the Public Service Code of Conduct.

Fair

We must:

  • treat everyone fairly and with respect
  • be professional
  • work to make government services accessible and effective
  • strive to make a difference to the well-being of New Zealand and all its people

See: Understanding the Code of Conduct - guidance for State servants

In order to comply with the 'Fair' standards in our dealings with the public we serve and the colleagues we work with, organisations should consider what policies, guidance and/or training they require in the following areas:

  • Recruitment, review of appointment, and procurement
  • Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) (State Sector Act 1988, section 6 (g))
  • Discrimination, harassment and bullying (see www.ssc.govt.nz/creating-positive-work-environment )
  • Cultural respect/responsiveness both within and outside the organisation
  • Health and safety both within and outside the organisation
  • Performance management, displaying relevant knowledge and competence in all work responsibilities, and professional development
  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Internal complaints and investigation process, including responding to and investigating allegations of unacceptable conduct and ensuring staff are aware of the procedures under the Employment Relations Act (section 112 onwards) relating to personal grievances
  • Making and investigating disclosures of serious wrongdoing (Protected Disclosures Act)
  • External/customer complaints process, including policies on communicating decisions and appeal rights
  • Accessibility, hours of service, emergency arrangements, levels of service, translation of information
  • Acting lawfully, including supporting parliamentary processes, and giving effect to the organisation's responsibilities as part of executive government
  • Specifying what the spirit of service means for the organisation, and how to demonstrate that spirit of service to the public of New Zealand
  • Carrying out obligations to the Government in an efficient, effective and politically impartial way
  • Recognising how the Crown's commitments under the Treaty of Waitangi affect the organisation's responsibilities
  • Delivering services and achieving results through organisational efficiency and fiscal responsibility
  • Having regard to the importance of sustainability in the development of policies and in the delivery of services
  • Preparing advice, delivering services, and reaching decisions by using analytically sound, well-rounded, informed and inclusive approaches
  • Promoting, advocating and giving effect to the standards of integrity and conduct set by the State Services Commissioner, and additional organisational standards.

Impartial

We must:

  • maintain the political neutrality required to enable us to work with current and future governments
  • carry out our agency functions, unaffected by our personal beliefs
  • support our agency to provide robust and unbiased advice
  • respect the authority of the government of the day.

See: Understanding the Code of Conduct - Guidance for State servants

In order to comply with the 'Impartial' standards, organisations should consider what policies, guidance and/or training they require in the following areas:

  • Political neutrality (see SSC's Political Neutrality Guidance 2010' www.ssc.govt.nz/political-neutrality-Guidance
  • Political views and participation in political activities. See also State Services Commissioner's message to chief executives re the Foreshore and Seabed Bill Hikoi, 28 April 2004, link to "All documents" on https://psi.govt.nz/Integrity/default.aspx )
  • Political neutrality for staff who interact with the public
  • State servants' behaviour during and after a general election period (SSC Guidance for State servants in election year, Negotiations Between Political Parties to Form a Government: Guidelines on Support from the State Sector - listed under '2008 Election Guidance' on https://psi.govt.nz/integrity )
  • Standing for election to Parliament (section 52, Electoral Act and Guidance for State Servants in Election Year: www.ssc.govt.nz/election-year-guidance )
  • Secondary employment, undertaking private business and voluntary work
  • An agency's relationship with MPs and with Ministers
  • Agency staff appearing before a select committee ( www.ssc.govt.nz/select-committee guidelines )
  • Serving on public bodies, and appointment of public servants to statutory boards
    (
    www.dpmc.govt.nz/cabinet/circulars/co02/5.html )
  • Media policy and public comment about the organisation's business
  • Identifying, disclosing, and managing conflicts of interest (Office of the Auditor-General: www.oag.govt.nz )
  • What to do if an employee has a conscientious objection to carrying out particular organisational activities.

Responsible

We must:

  • act lawfully and objectively
  • use our organisation's resources carefully and only for intended purposes
  • treat information with care and use it only for proper purposes
  • work to improve the performance and efficiency of our organisation.

See: Understanding the Code of Conduct - guidance for State servants

In order to comply with the 'Responsible' standards, organisations should consider what policies, guidance and/or training they require in the following areas:

  • Delegations of financial and other authorities
  • Discretionary spending (see guidelines on www.oag.govt.nz/2007/sensitive-expenditure )
  • Expenditure on entertainment and hospitality, including donations, koha and gifts
  • Use of the organisation's premises, facilities and equipment
  • Conference attendance, coverage of costs and processes for subsequent information sharing
  • Travel and accommodation, including taking leave in connection with officially funded travel
  • Use of personal credit cards and corporate credit cards
  • Official Information Act and responding to OIA requests
  • Privacy Act and protecting the privacy of people accessing services
  • Information and technology security, e.g. security classifications systems ( www.dpmc.govt.nz/cabinet/circulars/co01/10.html )
  • Acceptable use of information and communication technology (see State Services Commissioner's letter to chief executives, 22 April 2005; link to "All documents" on https://psi.govt.nz/Integrity/default.aspx )
  • Procurement (see guidelines on www.oag.govt.nz/2008/procurement-guide )
  • Security clearance and vetting
  • Staff support and welfare - e.g. clothing, care of dependants, social club, farewells, sponsorship
  • Records management and compliance with the Public Records Act
  • Responsibility to alert senior managers to incidents involving breaches of obligations - including statutory, business rules and code
  • Demonstrating a strong sense of personal responsibility and commitment to the public good.

Trustworthy

We must:

  • be honest
  • work to the best of our abilities
  • ensure our actions are not affected by our personal interests or relationships
  • never misuse our position for personal gain
  • decline gifts or benefits that place us under any obligation or perceived influence
  • avoid any activities, work or non-work, that may harm the reputation of our organisation or of the State Services.

See: Understanding the Code of Conduct - guidance for State servants

In order to comply with the 'Trustworthy' standards, organisations should consider what policies, guidance and/or training they require in the following areas:

  • Reporting suspected fraud to the Police or the Serious Fraud Office
  • Reporting and investigating serious wrongdoing (Protected Disclosures Act)
  • Identifying, disclosing, and managing conflicts of interest (see www.oag.govt.nz/2007/conflicts-public-entities/
  • Use of personal credit cards and corporate credit cards
  • Declaration and registration of offers of gifts and benefits
  • Air point schemes and loyalty cards
  • Corporate hospitality (see State Services Commissioner's email to chief executives, 21 October 2003; link to "All documents" on https://psi.govt.nz/Integrity/default.aspx )
  • Entity use of private assets
  • Declaration of interests on beginning employment and any subsequent changes
  • Approval process before undertaking secondary employment and voluntary work.

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