Roles and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the organisation (and its employees) to comply with the code. While the overall duty to comply and to reinforce the integrity message lies with the chief executives of Public Service departments and the boards of Crown entities, this guide may assist organisations to allocate specific roles and responsibilities. The precise allocation may vary, depending on factors such as size and organisational form.

Departmental chief executives and Crown entity boards (or those with delegated powers)...

Ensure their organisation complies with the standards of integrity and conduct in the State Services Commissioner's code of conduct (see section 57, State Sector Act 1988), by:

  • maintaining an infrastructure of policies, procedures, agreements and training that is consistent with and reinforces the standards set out in the code of conduct
  • providing highly visible leadership of the standards - modelling them and articulating what they mean in the particular setting of the organisation
  • ensuring staff are imbued with the spirit of service and understand how the organisation gives effect to it
  • weaving the code of conduct into the culture of the organisation
  • establishing processes for giving effect to the 'six elements of trustworthiness' 2 and specifying who has "ownership" of compliance with the code
  • reinforcing ethical behaviour and dealing decisively with breaches of the code of conduct
  • advising the State Services Commission about serious alleged or actual breaches of the code of conduct, as well as advising the monitoring department and/or responsible Minister
  • reporting suspected fraud to the Police or the Serious Fraud Office
  • encouraging an environment where individuals feel it is acceptable to openly discuss issues of integrity and conduct
  • ensuring staff regularly participate in training on the code of conduct and on integrity and conduct issues generally
  • taking responsibility for promoting and enforcing the code of conduct.
  • being familiar with the measures set out in the Auditor-General's 2009-2010 Annual Plan for giving effect to trust and trustworthiness expectations..

HR managers...

Ensure that all staff know about the code of conduct and the standards of behaviour expected of them, understand these, are kept aware of them, and have access to explanatory resources, by:

  • examining processes of recruitment and appointment to give effect to the standards set out in the code of conduct
  • ensuring that training on the code of conduct is incorporated into induction training and other training where appropriate
  • ensuring regular assessment of the extent of compliance by the organisation with the standards set out in the code of conduct
  • ensure processes are in place for employees to report misconduct, or that a protected disclosures policy is promoted and periodically republished
  • being good role models and acting with integrity.

Communications managers....

Fully utilise communication tools so that staff and others working with and for the organisation are aware of the code, the obligation to comply, and the importance of maintaining trust in the State Services, by:

  • working with chief executives, board members, managers and HR managers to devise an internal communications strategy for raising awareness of the code of conduct and maintaining that awareness in the agency
  • incorporating in communications about the code the key messages, as expressed in the speeches and press statements accompanying the launch of the code
  • ensuring integrity and conduct issues are included in regular internal communications, such as newsletters, postings on intranets and bulletin boards
  • working with chief executives/managers/HR staff if breaches of the code of conduct occur, to discuss the best way of handling the issue and its outcome
  • acting with integrity.


Integrate the code of conduct into training, by:

  • ensuring that the code of conduct is included in the planned training programme for the year, as both induction training and as part of other training updates
  • encouraging discussion of integrity and conduct issues, and their implications for public trust in government, as part of any training
  • exploring interesting resources on integrity issues, to "bring the code of conduct to life", using DVDs, videos, scenarios, ethics quizzes and games
  • keeping abreast of integrity and conduct issues through the integrity community workspace on the Public Sector Intranet ( )
  • acting with integrity.

Managers/team leaders....

Show leadership in modelling integrity, by:

  • encouraging an environment where ethical issues can be raised and discussed in an open and safe manner
  • ensuring all staff members obtain training on the code of conduct at induction
  • ensuring staff members get regular training on integrity and conduct issues, when these are offered
  • ensuring the code of conduct is prominently displayed in the work area
  • including conversations about integrity as part of staff supervision
  • discussing integrity and conduct issues in performance reviews
  • acting with integrity.

Individual State servants...

Take personal responsibility to comply with the code, by:

  • reading and understanding the code of conduct and keeping it handy for reference
  • participating in discussions on ethical issues and making it safe for others to do so
  • fostering and promoting an integrity-rich workplace
  • supporting co-workers, team leaders and managers in upholding the code of conduct
  • participating in training on the code of conduct and contributing positively with examples from their own work area
  • reporting any suspected breaches of the code of conduct through the appropriate channels
  • acting with integrity.

2 State of the Development Goals Report 2006

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.


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 )
  • 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.


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'
  • 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 )
  • 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 )
  • Standing for election to Parliament (section 52, Electoral Act and Guidance for State Servants in Election Year: )
  • Secondary employment, undertaking private business and voluntary work
  • An agency's relationship with MPs and with Ministers
  • Agency staff appearing before a select committee ( guidelines )
  • Serving on public bodies, and appointment of public servants to statutory boards
    ( )
  • Media policy and public comment about the organisation's business
  • Identifying, disclosing, and managing conflicts of interest (Office of the Auditor-General: )
  • What to do if an employee has a conscientious objection to carrying out particular organisational activities.


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 )
  • 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 ( )
  • Acceptable use of information and communication technology (see State Services Commissioner's letter to chief executives, 22 April 2005; link to "All documents" on )
  • Procurement (see guidelines on )
  • 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.


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
  • 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 )
  • Entity use of private assets
  • Declaration of interests on beginning employment and any subsequent changes
  • Approval process before undertaking secondary employment and voluntary work.

Further information resources


State Services Commission Integrity and Conduct helpdesk.

Relevant websites - New Zealand

Public Sector Intranet. Integrity and Conduct workspace. (Includes good practice examples)

Integrity Talking Points ( )

Guidance from other jurisdictions

Relevant reports and guidance - New Zealand

State Services Commission.
Office of the Auditor-General.

Relevant reports and guidance - international


Training materials on ethics and integrity - New Zealand

  • Department of Labour. Code of Conduct Trainer Guide. Available from the HR Capability Team, Department of Labour, P O Box 3705, Wellington. Phone 04 915 4000.
State Services Commission.

Training materials on ethics and integrity - international

Australian Public Service Commission
Victoria Public Sector Standards Commissioner, State Services Authority, Australia
Queensland Health, Australia
Texas Ethics Commission

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