Investigations into breaches of the Code of Conduct
On request from an APS or Parliamentary Service agency or department, we can investigate an alleged breach of the APS or Parliamentary Service Code of Conduct by an employee or former employee.
What can we investigate?
We conduct investigations into whether or not an APS or Parliamentary Service employee, or former employee, has breached the Code of Conduct.
We do so at the request of an agency or department, and if the employee, or former employee, agrees.
We usually enter into a voluntary MOU with the agency or department, to cover our costs of conducting the investigation.
We also have a function to inquire into conduct complaints about the APS Commissioner and Parliamentary Service Commissioner, as set out in s 50(1)(b) of the Public Service Act, and s 48(1)(b) of the Parliamentary Service Act.
Why use our services?
We have expert knowledge of the public sector employment framework and the conduct of procedurally fair administrative inquiries. Our experienced investigators and decision makers ensure investigations and decisions are robust, fair and credible. We assist agencies in managing sensitive or complex cases in which the involvement of an independent statutory officer adds credibility to the process and its outcome.
How do we investigate?
|What happens||How it happens|
|An agency or department lodges a request||An agency or department emails us at email@example.com to request that we conduct a misconduct investigation relating to one of their employees or former employees.|
|We assess the request||We discuss the scope of the investigation, the likely timeframe, and whether we have current availability to conduct the investigation. We also develop an MOU to cover the agreed terms of the undertaking, including covering our costs associated with the investigation.|
|We accept the request||
If we accept the request, we inform the employee of the upcoming investigation, and we obtain their agreement.
This step is important, as the employee will not have a later review right to the Merit Protection Commissioner if we conduct the investigation.
|We conduct the investigation||
An employee of the Merit Protection Commissioner conducts the investigation. We use best practice investigation methods, and our practices are in line with those set out in the APSC publication Handling Misconduct: A human resource practitioner's guide. We ensure procedural fairness is an integral part of our investigation.
|We finalise the investigation, and make a decision||
If, during the course of the investigation, we consider there is insufficient evidence to determine a finding, we will discontinue the investigation. We may also discontinue an investigation if we consider that other management action may be a more appropriate and effective way of responding to the issues.
If we do conduct an investigation, we will make a decision whether or not the employee, or former employee, has breached the Code of Conduct. This includes a decision about whether or not the alleged conduct occurred, and if so, whether or not the conduct met the required standard in the Code of Conduct.
We advise both the employee and the agency of the outcome of the investigation and our decision.
If a finding of misconduct is made, the agency may then decide to impose a sanction. This will be a separate process conducted by the agency, and not by the Merit Protection Commissioner. As such, the employee can seek Merit Protection Commissioner review of any sanction decision.
How do I request a service?
Contact us on (02) 8239 5353 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion or to obtain further information.
You can read more about our legislative framework.